The Ghana Armed Forces is encouraging the civilian populace to appreciate the mandate of the security services and accept personnel as partners in development.
Commanding Officer of the Fourth Infantry Battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel Sebastian Arhin, has said the negative perception of the military as coup makers and gun runners must change.
He spoke to Nhyira News when personnel of the infantry embarked on a clean –up at the Komfo Anokye Hospital Tuesday, as part of the 20th anniversary of the relocation of its barracks from Bantama to Kwadaso.
Military-civilian relations have suffered unpleasant moments from time to time.
Incidents of soldiers invading communities for various reasons, mostly unknown to local people, abound.
Sometimes some of such raids are not sanctioned by the military command.
Investigations into some of the incidents have almost always ended with outcomes which are not made public, raising suspicion of an official cover-up.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sebastian Arhin told Nhyira News the military High Command is working towards reversing such misconception.
“For a long time the military has been involved in coup d’état and other brutal events but that is a thing of the past So this is a new era and that is what we want to communicate to the civil populace. They shouldn’t fear us; we are normal people they should respect us just as we also continue to educate our troops to respect civilians anytime we go out on any operations.”
He continued: “We all know the importance of goodwill and once the people know we are not operating against them but rather we are working together [and] I think that once we are accepted in the community whenever they involve the military, we can harmoniously work together.”
“We are key partners in national development and this is what gradually the military high command is seeking to change”
Medical Director of Okomfo Anokye Hospital, Dr. Baafour Awuah, expressed appreciation to the soldiers for reaching out to the hospital.
“Gone are the days when soldiers are hiding in their camps, but now I could see the establishment of a civilian military relationship. Gradually we are coming together as Ghanaians; we are all working together to build a better Ghana. The hospital appreciates their gesture by coming up with a clean up exercise. We look forward for joint events between the military and civilians.”
The Fourth Battalion moved from the then Ouadarra Barracks which shares a boundary with Komfo Anokye Hospital to Complex Barracks at Kwadaso in 1997.