Tears rolled down my eyes freely as I watched the lynching of Major Adams Mahama by the jubilant mob on that eventful day. My physiology has a natural tendency to repulse injustice with tears. Anytime a semblance of injustice or gross unfairness possesses my soul, tears would gush down my cheeks in little streams of protest and sadness. My softly wired heart cannot comprehend gross injustice of any kind.
A few days ago, while reading Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, clouds of warm tears rolled down my eyes in the middle of the night when a little homeless girl – Jane Eyre – spent several days and nights in ice-cold weather wandering from house to house, looking for a piece of bread to stay alive. Tears drowned my vision upon realization that an entire community had shut its doors to a poor, innocent, hungry, homeless, dying girl!
Whoever sent me the video of the mob slaughter of this innocent lamb did me great disservice. If tears alone could resurrect the Major, mine would have awaken him and brought him back to life, to his two little doves, and to his gallant wife.
But now that my tears are dry, and sanity has returned to my emotions, and supremely conscious that the major is presently singing praises to God in heaven, permit me my dear reader, to make a few autopsies on this subject. My inquiry is not contrived for vengeance. Neither is it the handiwork of caprice or malice. The story of how an honorable soldier was seized, dragged, stoned, clubbed, hacked, kicked and torched by his fellow citizens in broad daylight would evoke grievous consternation anywhere.
So who killed the Major? The first suspects have been arrested. The tedious court processes have been triggered. But while we await the slow judicial process to grind to a halt for his soul to be avenged, some major issues have possessed my heart recently, which brought me to the absolute conclusion that perhaps, we should be examining a few procedures of the army which aided the commission of this criminality against the Major to avoid a recurrence. How did the Military enter this Community?
If reports about this community must be believed, then it is supposed to be a difficult terrain for law enforcement, having recorded unsavory confrontations with law enforcers in the past. This is probably one of the reasons for the presence of a military detachment there.
To deploy the military to such a terrain would require the engagement of the community leadership (a precious act of civility, respect, and mutuality) that has nurtured the bond of cordiality and unity between the state and our traditional authority over the years. If this simple act of civility was performed in Diaso and its environs, perhaps the presence of a soldier in the vicinity should not have provoked such communal indignation, rumpus or murderous frenzy.
Major Mahama’s supplication of being a military officer would probably have merited further looking into at the least, given that some of the vultures who thirsted for his corpse were prominent community leaders.
Breach of operational discipline or a case of operational flatulence? The nature of the military’s work should forbid any officer from venturing into hostile territories without company whether by day or by night. This obvious decency should be a natural safety precaution for the men and women in uniform. Any exception to this protocol must be legitimately sought. The question then ought to be posed “Is it normal in military operational strategy for officers on duty (far away from their station)to leave their duty post for inconsequential reasons as we have witnessed?”
And mind you, this was not the first time the late Major had navigated that long, lonely parcel of deathtrap from Diaso to the outskirts of Denkyira-Obuasi (according to the account of his decorated wife). So was he in breach of military operational protocols each time he took that long,hazardous walkfrom safety into danger, like a stray sheep, wandering away from the safety of the sheepfold to the den of slaughter? Was the brave soldier in breach of any military protocol at all? If so, how was this breach managed, if indeed it was a breach?
My gut feelings tell me the Major probably violated no protocol at all. He was too good natured to breach simple operational rules so comprehensively. As the commander of the detachment, he was an accomplished soldier, with a proud military heritage. Such people have no common veneration for their profession, for they have a family name to protect, a mission to accomplish and a legacy to bequeath their children.
Who killed the major? My earnest conclusion is that the awesome latitude, unbridled largesse, near pomposity, a false sense of the army’s invincibility, their exaggerated sense of security, overarching complacency, operational flatulence and wanton indiscretion…these are the vices we should credit for the Major’s untimely dehumanization. And for this, the military leadership is blamable, if not prosecutable. We must not dismiss this distressing irregularity by simply arresting and prosecuting his killers! The army owe this nation a veritable explanation.
Wielding a weapon in mufti
Something else baffles me. Why did he undertake his morning walk wearing a weapon, and in mufti? Did he feel unsafe? Did he perceive hostility in the community? If so, why didn’t he limit his walks to Diaso nearer his detachment? By the way, is it permitted to carry weapons in public when not on official duty? Is there a breach here too? And what about wielding arms in mufti? Why is the military quiet about these irregularities?
Carrying arms when not in uniform is always an expensive experiment. Apart from the possibility of being mistaken for a vagrant, some soldiers have pursued the path of vice incognito with their arms. Carrying arms in mufti (when not on duty) smacks of military exhibitionism and showmanship. Surely, the military did not need the death of the Major to appreciate the precariousness of carrying arms in mufti in lawless vicinities.
These flippant violations are discordant notes from the strings of an otherwise highly professional, brave, and disciplined army whose exploits are celebrated all over the world. The army ought to conduct operational introspection to repair its deformities.
They came for what remained of his corpse
As for the Police – how reasonably could anyone blame them for contributing to the Major’s dehumanization? Even I can speak for them—they probably have no post in the town, and no informants too. With virtually no presence in the community, and no friends among the townsfolk, how could expectations be any other than this consistent miscarriage? The Major, (may his soul abide in perfect peace) breathed his last at 10 am. The Police, our last bastion of hope against brutality burst on the scene at 10:30.am. But it was good they came; to takewhat remained of his corpse away!
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