Thursday, 26 November 2009

By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Jaws dropped in Ghana when news broke that two adult men, including a primary school teacher, had been stripped naked and paraded in town by some armed soldiers on official duty in the Northern sector of the country.
Neighbors of the two naked men who attempted to go to their rescue were beaten and shoved aside as the men were marched to a basic school in the community and mocked before several children including some pupils of one of the naked men.
The episode is not different from what Ghanaian soldiers do to any civilian they spot wearing any form of military camouflage material. Even when the camouflage has not been sown as an army uniform, the wearer would still be forced to remove it and hand over immediately. Yet many boutiques in Ghana have on sale designer clothing in the form of military camouflage.
The Ghana Armed Forces has been silent over this widely-spread development and it was thus not unexpected that once again, the military command came out to publicly deny the strip-naked story, even when the military had not conducted any form of investigations into the matter.
A fortnight later, Daily Guide, the paper I work for, produced a secret video recording of the episode. The video captured the two men being assaulted by soldiers dressed as if they were going to war. The two men had been stripped completely naked and were bleeding, apparently from severe torture they had endured from the soldiers.
The video also captured the soldiers pushing the muzzle of their guns into the mounts of the naked men whose hands had been tied at their backs.
Though the video captured the faces of the soldiers behind the abuses, no arrests had been made and many several other Ghanaians are continuously forced by soldiers to go naked in public anytime they are spotted wearing any form of military camouflage.
The insanity is gaining grounds and makes raised doubts whether indeed Ghana still deserves to be touted as an ‘icon of democracy in Africa’ where rule of law is respected.
In the Ghanaian culture, it is sacrilegious for a man to be forced to walk in town naked. It is taken that such a man has been stripped of his dignity, honor and self respect. It is tantamount to killing his very soul.
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Halifax Ansah-Addo is a Ghanaian journalist living and working in Accra. Currently, he is Editor of THE PUBLISHER (www.thepublisheronline.com), a private-owned Ghanaian newspaper with nationwide circulation in the country. He attended the African University College of Communications in Accra and an alumnus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Berlin, Germany. He was awarded the 2015 Best Entertainment Journalist/Writer at the GN Bank Awards. Halifax writes on politics, human rights, arts and social issues. He is a Christian.

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