Stop legitimizing brutalities against civilians – Kwesi Aning to security agencies

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Kwesi Aning

Security analyst, Prof. Kwesi Aning, has expressed worry about what he considers as the legitimization of brutalities meted out to civilians by security agencies.

He says the practice is compromising the safety of the citizenry, and to a larger extent the peace and stability of the country.

“There is a recognition that those who are to protect the citizenry fail in their protection mandate”.

The comments of the security analyst who is also the Director of Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center (KAIPTC), comes on the back of not only recent military and police brutalities in Ejura and Wa, but also similar ones that have been recorded nationwide in the past.

For him, it is high time leadership of the various security agencies began restructuring their mode of recruiting and training to instill an institutional culture that will prioritize and guarantee the fundamental human rights of the citizens as far as their safety and protection are concerned.

Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsfile on Saturday, July 3, 2021, Prof. Aning could not fathom, in the Wa case, why officers who are said to have passed out only recently, would be allowed to take the law into their own hands and subject residents to such an inhumane ordeal.

“These are recruits who have just passed out four days before. What is the nature of the institutional culture that four days after training, you think you can come to town and behave this way? What is the institutional culture, and what have they been taught four days after passing out? Do they think they can just wear the uniform? The institution has a culture that legitimises the brutalization of civilians.”

Prof. Aning, particularly called on the Minister responsible for Defence and the Chief of Army Staff to ensure that the right things are done going forward for reforms in Ghana’s state security apparatus.

“So I think that I will appeal to the Defence Minister and Chief of Army Staff, that we need to go back and look at the training manuals and examine the institutional culture”, he added.

Make public punishment for Wa unruly soldiers to restore confidence – Kwesi Aning to GAF

Already, Prof. Aning, has demanded that the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) makes public the disciplinary action it will take against its men who unleashed mayhem on some residents of Wa in the Upper West Region.

On Thursday, July 1, 2021, a viral video on social media showed armed military officers brutalising some residents of Wa, allegedly over a missing mobile phone.

The incident comes a few days after soldiers opened fire on protesters at Ejura in the Ashanti Region, leading to the death of two people and injuries to four others.

Some eyewitnesses who spoke to Citi News said the soldiers claimed they were searching for their stolen mobile phone.

Following the incident, GAF in a statement indicated that it has already initiated investigations into the “unprofessional conduct” of the officers.

It also said internal disciplinary measures have been instituted to deal with all those who will be found culpable.

While apologising for the actions of his men, the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Thomas Oppong-Peprah, assured that the soldiers in question will be duly punished.

Commenting on GAF’s response to the incident, Professor Aning, in an earlier interview with Citi News said “I think that it should go beyond that.”

He believes GAF will need to do more than just dealing with the issue internally to regain public confidence.

“Yes, first the internal disciplinary procedures must be constituted, and the public informed, and a pathway presented to the public on how these findings can be used to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change. We need to re-establish confidence in the military.”

“I am hoping that whatever decision is taken will be shared with the public to regain trust in the military. The incident is very unfortunate, it takes us back to ground zero in terms of all the hard work put into building trust in the military,” he said. — CNR

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