So when at all will our military men and police officers treat the wider majority of people like human beings?
It has been one slap, too many; one shot, too many; one death too many and in all these, our military and police personnel have been blameless. It has always been the victims of these slaps, these shots, these deaths who are to blame for the jungle-like behavior by our security personnel.
On Thursday, April 25, 2013, the Director of Public Affairs of the Military Col. Mbawine Atintande was on air, gleefully exonerating his men who were alleged to have slapped and shocked the private parts of some journalists with tasers during this year’s Independence Anniversary Celebrations.
Even in the face of a video clip which captured the military man raising his hand on the cheek of one of the journalists, Atintande and his team of investigators said there was no slap. His men applied minimum force.
So what was the military man’s hand doing on the cheek of a journalist? I guess he was caressing him, like what a man would do his beloved wife.
And oo what was a military man’s taser doing at the ‘temples’ of a journalist? Are they gays? If they are, was taser the best and romantic option by the military man to turn his gay partner on?
I am sick and tired of these military men and their police counterparts who at the very least, raise their arms, fire a bullet on defenseless civilians, and when that is done, we have their apologists of spokespersons rub it in our faces with outrageous explanations and sometimes justifications.
And when a civilian also use “minimum force” on a soldier or a police man, the whole armour of police and military arsenal are deployed to the community where this minimum force was used. The police, military men are untouchables.
What at all will provoke a trained military man who is on duty at the Kumasi Sports Stadium to attempt to raise a finger on a defenseless woman, a football fan, whose only weapon is a sharp teeth?
I witnessed how this military man flared up; had a dozen more football fans restraining him from beating the woman and when I, a journalist, decided to take a shot and video of what was happening, the anger of the military men, police men around was turned on me.
They came all guns blazing, ordering that I delete the picture and when I resisted, the men, particularly the almighty military man, who was busily flexing his muscles on a feeble young lady came manhandling me and threatening to lock me up if did not delete his glorious picture.
This incident happened when Ghana played Sudan at the Kumasi Sports Stadium.
Surprisingly, from the men who manhandled me at the gate where the incident took place to their superiors inside the stadium, who were to take a decision on what to do to a stubborn journalist, all sang the same chorus.
It was a security zone. The men were doing their job and I a journalist had no business taking pictures of whatever happens there.
None of them saw anything wrong with a military man attempting to beat a woman in the full glare of football fans. The Military man was right. I was wrong. All Ghanaians are wrong. It is only our professional, well trained military and police men who are right in all cases.
If the military men ever bothered to look into the causes of these assault cases, they will know that many of these needless assault cases are caused by a misunderstanding of a journalist’s job.
The last time I checked, the stadium is not a security zone where cameras are not allowed. The Independence Square is not a security zone. So a journalist who is assigned to cover events at these places has his sights set on capturing the best shot and from better angles.
The military also has a duty to protect and ensure law and order. There is bound to be conflict of interest but this should never result in an assault.
The same conflict of interest exists between competing journalists from different media houses assigned to cover events. The same conflict of interest exists between Journalists and PR practitioners. The latter always want to keep a good image of their companies; the former always want to expose wrongdoing in these companies but hardly do we hear personnel of either company being assaulted. There are several other examples of competing interests in different professions.
So why are journalists always assaulted in their line of duty? The answer is simple. These military and police men think of themselves as all powerful. They are law onto themselves. They beat, maim, kill and are rewarded with a cover-up investigation by their superiors.
And in a country where the value of human life is only a shade above the value of animals, nobody has had the guts to tell the military and their cohorts in the police that enough is enough!
We preach human rights and rule of law for all but in practice we live in a jungle where the fittest, the powerful, the military and the police only survive.
Late last year, a trotro driver working during the day was shot in the arm by a policeman for allegedly failing to stop when he was asked to do so. That police man had the effrontery to claim 50 cedis from this poor driver for wasting his bullet on him.
Just last month, three so-called armed robbers were shot dead by the police in Mallam Atta, Accra.
Eyewitnesses at the scene of the incident said the alleged robbers had their hands on their heads. They were unarmed. The shots were one-sided but our police maintained there was a cross-fire. The armed robbers fired first.
After the revelations by the eyewitnesses on Joy FM, the Commonwealth human rights group again went to the scene of the incident and it was clear that the so-called robbers had their hands on their heads and did not shoot back.
Our honorable police men insisted they fired back when they were fired at. They were professional. They have pronounced judgement in their own court and then they turn around to tell us that the incident has been taken to Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau for further investigation. Do we expect anything different from them???
I have spoken my mind and I will not be surprised if I am bundled off one evening and beaten to pulp by our professional police or military personnel.
I will come again if i don’t die!!!!