Associate Professor of Law at the University of Ghana, Legon, Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua says President Akufo-Addo’s deafening silence on the Ashaiman military brutality is rather unfortunate.
According to him, the President should have immediately condemned the violence and taken the Military High Command to task for their shambolic handling of the so-called ‘intelligence-led operation’ which led to the arbitrary arrest of some 187 residents.
He noted that the military’s actions have created a dent in Ghana’s reputation as a democratic state and this would reflect in future human rights index reports.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile, he said, “It casts a very bad image on Ghana’s image as a democracy. And so definitely in our next state report whether by US State Department or Freedom House and so on, Ghana’s rating is going to go down because of this brutality which has been meted out to the citizens. And the buck stops with the President, he’s the Commander-in-Chief and he himself has said it before that in such situations that is what should happen.”
He continued that the President’s continuous silence would translate into the military getting away with the brutality, and further worsening civilian-military relations in the country, a situation which could have dire consequences in the future.
“…There has been a pattern of brutality. And what is very important to note is that in this case, in the Wa case, and to some extent the Ejura case and so on the soldiers may have gone on a frolic of their own.
“But this one was a so-called intelligence-led operation orchestrated by the Military High Command and whether it went haywire or not, which I don’t believe was the case, something has gone wrong and somebody should own up. And so far nobody has owned up. And the President should do so. So not saying anything at all is very, very unfortunate,” he said.
He has called on the President to dissociate himself from the statements made by the Defence Minister and his Deputy and possibly dismiss persons in the Military High Command who sanctioned the operation.
“There is what we call accountability and the soldiers are supposed to be accountable to a civilian authority. And the civilian authority is the Commander-in-Chief and he should make sure that by this time there would have been some dismissals, if people would not resign, there would have been some dismissals.
“…so the government and the president should own up and he should dissociate himself from the statement made by the Defence and the Deputy Minister to say that ‘no this is not how the operation should have been orchestrated, so you’re suspended, you’re dismissed,’” he said.