Former Interior Minister under the erstwhile Kufuor-led New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, Hackman Owusu-Agyemang, has descended on the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Air Marshal Michael Samson Oje, over the latter’s threat to deal ruthlessly with anybody who causes mayhem on elections day – December 7.
Hackman’s problem is not about the fact that such individuals need to be dealt with according to the tenets of the law, but that the threat intends to invoke fear into the electorate.
In an interview with DAILY GUIDE at the weekend, Mr Owusu-Agyemang, also former Member of Parliament (MP) for New Juaben North, said, “The first time the Chief of the Defence Staff made the statement, I was not beside myself because he is completely out of order.”
He therefore, described the CDS’ threat as uncalled-for and that “If he wants to be popular he can choose another way of being popular but not coming to intimidate the citizenry.” He asked that “The citizenry must rise up and tell him ‘you are wrong;’ you are there for all Ghanaians; you are not there for the ruling government.”
As a man who has worked with the various security agencies in his capacity as Minister for the Interior, Mr Hackman Owusu-Agyemang explained, “What we normally do is that the Police Service is supported by the other security services; the Army is always in the background.” He asked rhetorically, “Why do you want to put fear in our people as if the causing of confusion is the monopoly of just one side?”
Mr Owusu-Agyemang’s reason was that “In a situation where people perceive the security agencies, including the Armed Forces, to be part of the governing process, everything they do is also misconstrued to be at the behest of government.”
According to Mr Owusu-Agyemang, “The impression in any given society, even the advanced society, is that once the Armed Forces move, they move at the command of the Commander-in-Chief…the effect of this will be, people will not come out to vote; in the villages, you have no idea Chief, when the people see even policemen they run into their houses, let alone soldiers in their fatigue.”
But, he indicated, “I have been in politics since 1961 and in recent times since 1992; I have never heard any Chief of the Defence Staff or the military saying that they are ready to support the Police Service to come and issue such statements. What is it supposed to mean? You want to intimidate us?” Has anybody told him anybody is going to cause mayhem in the country?”
He thus noted, “I submit no! I’ve been a member of the Armed Forces Council for a minimum period of four years; I’ve been Minister of the Interior and I know what I’m talking about and these intimidatory practices are absolutely unacceptable.”
The NPP strongman therefore, stated categorically, “He” [referring to the Chief of the Defence Staff] “is wrong and must desist from I;t and we must condemn it in the strongest possible terms. It does not lie in his mouth to begin to talk on issues of this nature.”
Even though he admitted the fact that ultimately the Army is the bastion in protecting the state, Hackman was of the firm conviction that it has not come to that stage where they need to be making such statements like the CDS has started.
For him, “This is the sort of thing the Peace Council and other well-meaning institutions must be looking at” and not the mere calls for peace.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that the military may be used to instigate crisis in order to justify a supposed state of emergency, if the election results do not go the way of the ruling National Democratic Congress.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu/dailyguideafrica.com