Ghana is resorting to movement restrictions to check the spread of coronavirus; a situation that has necessitated the intervention of our security forces. To our gallant security personnel, we thank you for your services Pro Deo et Patria in these trying times.
However, it is almost impossible for me to feel proud to be associated with this kind of security as a hopeful recruit and a concerned citizen. As organized forces of reputation, it has come to notice that the conduct of some uniformed men, against civilians, whom you are tasked to protect against a common enemy (Covid-19) are now the targets of cruelty. This is even more so with the men of the military; the most revered security force in every nation on earth. It is however important for us to note that this is not a battle of bullets and punches!

The laws of the nation make you powerful. Even without the laws, the training; a civilian is made to believe you undergo makes you somewhat fearful. Thus the presence of your uniform alone commands respect. It is said that; “Respect is commanded, not demanded”, hence the need to know the worth of the uniform you wear and let your actions and inactions show you are worthy of the uniform as well.
The fact that a state of emergency is declared in a democracy and security personnel are called upon to ensure its effectiveness is no conferring of absolute power. Terrorizing the few citizens that are found disobeying the orders can never be justified no matter what logical reasoning is ascribed. Even underserving criminals have rights!

In some cases, these citizens have genuine reasons to be outside per the exemptions given by the Commander in Chief. I would love to believe all the troops were present at a parade for briefing before deployment.
Instead of exercising cruelty and absolute power, why not take the chance to educate those citizens on the need to stay home to protect their own lives and yours since anybody could be a carrier of the common enemy?

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said; “There is power in numbers and there is power in unity”. As united as the military and the other forces are, I hope they understand that the civilians outnumber them. Social media is spreading the videos of cruel treatment like wildfire in the Harmattan. The actions of a few personnel are creating animosity for the whole armed forces among civilians and a revolt by the citizenry is the least we want now with an enemy at hand. I hope the soldiers know their lives matter as much as they are ready to die for the country.

In this period, patience is needed. On the side of the civilian and more on the side of the soldier as the authority here because to whom much is given, much is expected. We all have individual differences and limits hence respond differently to emotions but as soldiers, you are trained not to let emotions cloud your judgment. When you feel challenged, remember to exercise some restraint, be a bit more tolerant and remember, “Sometimes trying to prove you are the best is an insult!” – Unknown.

According to the ministers in charge of the forces, some of the trending videos are old. This still does not justify the conduct of this personnel. Unless we are to believe military men are deployed to be policing ordinary citizens in ordinary times.
Some of these circulating videos have officers in N95 masks and gloves. Evident that some of these sick videos are current. Call them to order and stop the defense!

Also, the standards of our security forces need to be revised. The security forces should not be dumpsites for loyalists of any political party, be it NDC, PPP, etc. The forces should be devoid of political influence!
We end up recruiting people with challenges in Basic English into the forces. I suggest entrance examinations are conducted for recruits as part of the basic requirements to join any of the forces.
Change is not always easy, but change sometimes is for a greater good. As uncomfortable as it is for everyone right now, all citizens must co-operate with the Government’s efforts for victory against COVID-19, else the whole nation falls in jeopardy.
COVID-19 knows no boundaries except the ones we set by staying at home to avert its spreading.

This is a fight for all and not just the Government.
It is said that “Where persuasion fails, force must be applied”. I would love to rephrase it as “Where persuasion fails, force coupled with common sense must be applied”.
I suggest people excluded from the exemptions who are found outside without genuine reasons should be detained for some time to serve as a deterrent to others. Also, instead of bullying these culprits, they can be made to do activities of national interest like picking the rubbish on the locality’s streets as they are peacefully accompanied home. In the long run, Ghana is being kept clean!

Let us remember, being a soldier does not make one immune to COVID-19 nor immortal. So social distancing is key as you are out there since not all of you have PPEs.
To the civilians, please let us stay home. If we observe these directives well, COVID-19 would be put under control and our regular life can restart early. The more we do not co-operate, the longer we would be required to stay home since there is no known vaccine currently for COVID-19.
Ɔman Ghana bɛyɛ yie a ɛfiri yɛn ara!
Edmund E. Terkpernor,
April 1, 2020,
Cape Coast.

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