OccupyGhana condemns Ejura violence

OccupyGhana condemns in no uncertain terms, the incidents of violence perpetuated against Ghanaians in Ejura in the Ashanti Region by the military, urged on by the Police.

These citizens were demonstrating against the murder of Ibrahim Mohammed, a social media activist who had been insisting that the country needed to be fixed. It is painfully ironic that the Police, who apparently do not have answers as yet for the circumstances under which the activist was killed, could then line up with the military to engage in the maiming and killing demonstrating citizens in Ejura in marksman style, as videos and photos of the incidents suggest.

Our history is replete with several instances of the deployment of the military and deadly force to quell protests; they have almost always ended in the shooting and killing of civilians. One would have thought that after the 28 February 1948 Crossroads shooting incident, the use of deadly force to control crowds would be the last thing that any government of an independent Ghana would authorise or tolerate.
We reject the notion that the only way that authorities know of to de-escalate tension, is the deployment of the military, and that the military’s only knowledge about such matters is the use of deadly force.

The contrasts in our recent history are sharp and real. The deployment of the military and deadly force led to the Kume Preko killings and Techiman South killings. To the best of our knowledge, no one was punished for those killings. In contrast, the non-deployment of the military during the Occupy Flagstaff House demonstration meant that although the police wrongfully arrested some protesters, no one was shot or maimed.

We clearly have learned no lessons from these, hence that national embarrassment on live TV when the military was called in on our Parliament, however rowdy the election process of the Speaker was, literally at the dawn of this stage of the Fourth Republic.

We have learned no lessons also because these incidents have never been thoroughly investigated, and no one is ever punished for taking the lives of citizens of the land through such needless military action.

Soldiers are built and trained for war. The presence of the military in any civil event could turn that location into a potential war zone, where one side has all the firepower purchased for them by the citizens at the receiving end of the force. This is why it is the civil police that should lead out in all matters involving the interior.

That is why we condemn the militarisation of keeping the peace in Ghana. It must end forthwith. The last citizen-funded bullet fired on citizens should be the last ever.

In the face of repeated executive failure to lead on this matter, we demand that Parliament must now take the lead by passing a law that regulates the involvement of the military in matters concerning the interior. That law must provide for military activation only when irrefutable evidence shows national police personnel will be overwhelmed by an escalating event. That law must also provide for a full-scale judicial inquiry into each such activation, whatever the results are, reports published and punishments meted to those who flout the law and cause needless deaths.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of the dead. We wish those in the hospital all the best and a speedy recovery. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of them.

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