Opinion

I want to be a military officer

I want to be a military officer. Simple and plain. You might ask why. Hmm! I want to be a military officer for the purpose of ensuring discipline in our society in the national development process.

I don’t endorse military dictatorship but I believe in the regimental military discipline.

The most common military regimental practices like the hand salute, standing at attention and or at rest at parades and sometimes in honor of a higher officer, and even addressing others by their ranks promote respect for each other and general discipline in life.

The Oxford Learner’s Dictionary defines discipline as “the practice of training people to obey rules and orders and punishing them if they do not.”

That kind of training results in a certain controlled behaviour by the persons so trained, and that is also called discipline. So deriving from that, indiscipline is a situation in which people do not control their behaviour or obey any rules.

Cholera

Indiscipline seems to have become the norm in our everyday life, and that is worrying. Indiscipline has been glorified as modernity and new fashion. People wear indecent dresses and speak in very disrespectful ways to the elders and they call it modernity.

People treat the environment with impunity, littering the streets indiscriminately and often spitting out of moving vehicles. Residents of some communities defecate at beaches, in the bushes, classrooms and even throw packaged human excreta on the streets indiscriminately.  

In June 2014, there was a cholera outbreak in Ghana due to the dirty environment. By September 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 14,411 cholera cases with 127 deaths had been recorded in 74 districts in eight out of the 10 regions of Ghana. This represents a steady increase from previous years. In 2011 there were 105 deaths from cholera and in 2012 there were 100 death.

According to the statistics, 1,546 deaths were recorded between 1970 and 1980 while 2,258 deaths were recorded between 1981 and 1990.

Between 1991 and 199, cholera claimed 1,067 lives, and between 2000 and 2012, 627 deaths were recorded, which I described it as indiscipline among the citizenry and policy makers who are supposed to maintain law and order in our communities that’s why I wish I am a military officer to ensure law and order.

A few days ago, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, initiated and launched a National Sanitation Day (NSD) campaign to be observed every first Saturday of each month across the country. The launch followed a United Nation’s (UN) Report which ranked Ghana among the 10 worst countries in the world in respect of sanitation.

It has been observed that, about 70% of the out patients in the hospitals in Ghana were there because of lack of proper sanitation, which causes diarrhea and cholera. Malaria has also been a consequence of stagnant waters and filthy environments which served as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

The NSD initiative therefore seeks to encourage the public to take greater responsibility for improving their environment and ensure that laws promoting good sanitation are respected, but is that the solution to sanitation problems?

I believe that the various district assemblies in the country have failed in the first place to ensure law and order in the country as a result of what we are observing as a nation.

After the exercise, streets of various regions were strewn with piles of garbage which I described is as weak leadership by the various districts and municipal assemblies and the Local Government as well for failing to provide contracts waste collection companies to collect the filth in the country’s cities.

Which I believed it shouldn’t be encourage and the government must provide the necessary logistics as the exercise.

So, I retreat my commitment to be a military officer to ensure that law and order are being obeyed in the country.

 Judgment debts

On the 29th July, 2014 the Supreme Court of Ghana ordered business man Alfred Woyome to refund a total of Ȼ51.2 million judgment debt payment he received between 2009 and 2010.

According to the court, Woyome got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.

It held that the contracts upon which Woyome made and received the claim were in contravention of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which requires such contracts to be laid before and approved by Parliament.

The 11-member court, presided over by the Chief Justice, Mrs. Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, was ruling on a review application filed by a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Martin Amidu, but as I write this article the money has not been paid to the state as ordered by the highest court of the land because of high level of indiscipline and weak systems in the country.

Laws passed by Parliament

Parliament of Ghana which is the second arm of Government and presided over by a Speaker elected by Parliament passed the Road Traffic Regulation, 20I2 (Legislative Instrument 2180) to ban the use of mobile phones and other hand-held communication devices while driving.

Commercial Motor bike operations, popularly called “Okada” and the use of television or video monitors on dash boards of moving vehicles, were also banned by the new L.I but the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit MTTU and the entire police administration has failed to implement the law that was passed by parliament, that is why I want to be a military officer to maintain law and order.

The commercial motor bike business “Okada” has been banned in Ghana but some government officials and Member of Parliament opposed the law to take effect meanwhile they were part of those who passed the bill which shows high level of indiscipline among the policy makers.

But because of indiscipline among drivers and the various law and enforcement agencies such as the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) unite of the Ghana Police Service, the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) and among other responsible institutions has failed to execute its mandate as instructed by law which to me it’s because of indiscipline.

That’s why I want to be a military officer to ensure that all this laws are obeyed in our country.

In 2012, the Ghana’s Parliament also passed a bill banning smoking in public places following the passage of the Public Health Bill. The bill was to provide a comprehensive legislation on public health.

Under clause 58, which forms Part Six of the bill, deals with tobacco control measures and prohibits smoking in public places, but what are we seeing today in public places?

Ghana has a population of about 24 million and 275 legislators or one legislator for every 87,000 citizens.

In contrast, America’s 300 million people have 535 legislators or one law-maker for every 560,000 citizens but laws passed by the US parliament are more effective of that of Ghana, so why this in Ghana?

In my opinion, I don’t understand why all this laws still exist in our books but it has not seen any enforcement by the various institutions responsible.

Attitude of workers

The typical attitude of a Ghanaian worker will report to work at 10am instead of 8am while others also use working hours to calculate lotto on daily basis because of weak systems, ineffective monitoring, supervision systems and indiscipline among the citizenry at a whole because there’s a saying in Ghana that government work does not belongs to anyone.

Both private and public sector workers today report to work at their own convenient time which in my humble opinion it’s unacceptable for a country we claim as “middle income” country like Ghana to entertain such practice.

Attitude of some Minister’s, Members of Parliament and government appointees in Ghana towards work is unacceptable because they report to work and attends to events at their own convenient time meanwhile they expect their salary at the end of every month from the ruling government which needs to be check.

Recently, a proposal was made at an event by Former President Jerry Rawlings to enrolled President John Mahama in a military academy just to get him appreciate time.

Former President Rawlings made this observation after organizers of an event, deliberately stalled the show because President Mahama showed up late.

Ex- President Rawlings was heard saying that “this morning when we arrived, I was asking what time the function would start and we were told…we were supposed to start at 10 o’clock. But we would be a little late because the president (Mahama) would show up at 11. The president has the tendency of being late…so am going to ask of your permission, so we can invite him to the military academy and drill some military time into his blood." JJ Rawlings stated.

Leadership we say by example, interesting this means even if H.E John Dramani Mahama, the President of the Republic of Ghana and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces and first gentleman of Ghana sometimes reports to program late, how can the entire cabinet and its agencies will ensure discipline among ministries and public officials at the various ministries and departments as compared to elsewhere in continent such as Europe.

That’s why I still maintain I want to be a military officer to ensure discipline in the country as a concerned citizen.

Imports

Since President John Dramani Mahama assumes office as President of Ghana, he has over the years been preaching about the use of Made-in-Ghana products to boost Ghana’s economy from collapsing, but what are we seeing in Ghana now?

The president also accused many Ghanaians of developing a taste for foreign products and spent most of their earnings on them, hence affecting the nation’s trade balance but is that the reality on the grounds?

In February 2014, President John Mahama told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that his government is targeting a reduction in the US$1b imports of food by developing the local capacity to produce more of them and his government is aiming at shoring up Ghana’s rice production capacity and eventually becoming a net-exporter rather than an importer. 

Ghana currently spends about US$600m annually to import rice which have negative impact on Ghana’s economy which has resulted the country to run to the International Monitory Fund (IMF) for assistance because of indiscipline and lack of commitment on the part of the president and his appointees.  

The 2nd arm of government, Parliament which performs legislative functions recently, resumed sitting in a newly refurbished chamber fitted with sophisticated gadgets all aimed at enhancing the work of Ghanaian lawmakers which was imported from China at a cost of Ghc 22 billion, whiles local furniture manufacturers in the country are crying for work to sustain their family and boost the economy.

But the leadership of parliament has the impunity to defend their action claiming that the furniture that was imported from China was to save time but I’m not sure if the leadership of parliament are well discipline enough, they wouldn’t have imported the chair from China while we have professional carpenters in Ghana that can furnish the house at a cheaper cost.

The way forward

In my opinion, the president and his appointees must get some military training before they assume office to serve the good people of Ghana to ensure some discipline in public spending and ensure law and order as well.

The leadership must also resource its agencies to perform their functions as mandated by the constitution of the republic of Ghana.

The Ghana Police Service and the various security agencies who enforce the laws passed by the parliamentarians to ensure sanity in the country to benefit all the citizenry.

Ghanaians must also be discipline in the various regions on how we carry our activities

I still maintain my commitment to be a military officer.

The writer, Abednego Akwasi Asante Asiedu can be reached on Email-abednews@yahoo.com twitter @Abednegoasante

 

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