It’s wrong for Mahama to wear military uniform – Prof. Kweku Asare

General News of Saturday, 17 September 2016

Source: Starrfmonline.com

2016-09-17

Mahama Uniform NewPresident John Mahama in GAF’s ceremonial uniform

A legal brain has flayed President John Mahama over his obsession for military uniforms anytime he visits military installations in recent times.

Prof. Stephen Kweku Asare argues although Mahama per the constitution is the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, he is “bastardizing” the military as well as breaking the law as a civilian by wearing their uniforms.

“The GAF frown upon civilians wearing military uniforms or operating military accouterments. The President is a civilian and should desist from wearing military uniform or wielding military weapons.

“When the President wears military uniforms (operates military equipment or choose to stay at the Barracks), he blurs the constitutional distinction between the GAF and its civilian command. It also bastardizes the military laws against civilians wearing military uniforms.

“The President should set an example for civilians by refraining from wearing military uniforms. His deeds, including his wardrobe, should also remind the GAF that they are under civilian command,” the US-based lawyer remarked in a Facebook post.

Below are his observations

I cannot recall President Kuffour or Mills ever wearing military uniforms. President Rawlings wore military uniforms but, like Queen Elizabeth II, he earned that by virtue of his service in the military.

The Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces is a constitutional position given to the President to signify that the armed forces are under civilian control.

The Commander-in-Chief is not a military rank or title and there are no insignia or uniforms associated with it. Being the Commander-in-Chief does not entitle the President to wear military uniform anymore than it entitles him to carry around an AK 47, ride in a pinzgauer or be housed at Gondar Barracks.

The Commander-in-Chief designation is reserved for civilians. By explicit constitutional design, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) are subject to civilian command. This is an extremely important separation of power given our prior history of having military men who held the position of Commander-in-Chief.

Civilian control of the GAF is an important doctrine that places ultimate responsibility for strategic national security decision-making in the hands of the civilian political leadership, rather than the professional military officers, as happened under prior military regimes. Thus, under the Constitution, the military brass reports to the civilian Commander-in-Chief but that does not make the latter a military man or entitle him to any military benefits.

It must also be clarified that the Commander-in-Chief designation has nothing to do with a “commander” in the GAF. A “commander” in the GAF is a commanding officer or team leader. Thus, in the navy, a “commander” is the executive officer of a vessel. In the army, a lieutenant colonel is the commander of a battalion. In the air force, a wing commander commands a flying squadron. A “commander” is a rank in the GAF but a Commander-in-Chief is not. The former is an active member of the GAF and is subject to military law. The latter is not.

In my opinion, it is important to reinforce at all times the constitutional principle that the GAF are subject to civilian command. It is equally important to reinforce that the President is a civilian and his designation as Commander-in-Chief does not make him a member of the GAF or entitle him to any honours, benefits or uniforms of the GAF.

The GAF frown upon civilians wearing military uniforms or operating military accouterments. The President is a civilian and should desist from wearing military uniform or wielding military weapons.

When the President wears military uniforms (operates military equipment or choose to stay at the Barracks), he blurs the constitutional distinction between the GAF and its civilian command. It also bastardizes the military laws against civilians wearing military uniforms.

The President should set an example for civilians by refraining from wearing military uniforms. His deeds, including his wardrobe, should also remind the GAF that they are under civilian command.

The uniform was meant for persons in uniform. Let us keep it that way!

Da Yie!

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