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COMMANDER IN CHIEF OF THE GHANA ARMED FORCES AND PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF GHANA HIS EXCELLENCY NANA ADDO DANKWA AKUFO ADDO.
MINISTER OF DEFENSE
CHIEF OF DEFENSE STAFF GHANA ARMED FORCES BURMA CAMP ACCRA.
20TH OCTOBER 2021.
PETITION TO NOTIFY YOU OF ABUSE OF HUMAN RIGHTS, THE INCESSANT AND INHUMANE TREATMENT IN THE GHANA ARMED FORCES AGAINST EIGHT (8) SOLDIERS WHO WERE REPATRIATED FROM LEBANON AND SUBSEQUENTLY RELEASED FROM THE GHANA ARMED FORCES FOR FAILING TO INJECT COVID-19 VACCINE WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO BE VOLUNTARY EXERCISE.
Anchoring Democracy Advocacy Movement Ghana (ADAM GH) is a Civil Society Organization that anchors proper democratic principles, protects Ghana’s democracy and the rule of law, fights corruption, ensures peace and security of our country, promotes the welfare of society and advocates for proper fundamental human rights.
ADAM-GH with the greatest of respect to your high office will like to draw your attention to a public interest matter with regards to how the fundamental human rights of soldiers have been abused in terms of unlawful commands that are strictly against the human rights of soldiers in the Ghana Armed Forces and the need for your intervention. The slogan of “do before complain” should not turn to be ” die before complain” because the soldiers must be alive to complain after the command is issued but in a situation where the command issued has the tendencies to endanger the lives of the soldiers, that becomes an unlawful command.
Ghanaian soldiers were assigned a peacekeeping mission to Lebanon August 2020 ). The UN Covid-19 vaccination consent form was given to the soldiers in Lebanon without any education or lectures concerning the vaccination exercise. The UN Covid-19 consent form given to the soldiers was seeking the consent of the soldiers before vaccination. This means that it was not compulsory but a voluntary exercise where the soldiers were asked to take Covid-19 vaccine by endorsing the consent form their healths are their sole responsibility to make sure what entered into their blood is something that will not compromise their Health. They can only be effective as Soldiers in the Ghana Army only when they continue to be healthy and meet military standards.
According to the soldiers, on the 5th of May 2021, Ghanbatt 87 Commanding officer Lt.Col. Frank Gyebi-Abrokwa held a durbar with the troops and after that he encouraged them to take the vaccine. He further told them if any of the Ghanbatt 87 members have any reason why they can not take the vaccine they should officially write to him and he will add a covering letter and forward it to his Superiors in Ghana.
A day after the durbar, thirteen (13 ) of the soldiers submitted their letters and stated their reasons why they could not take part in the Covid-19 vaccination exercise.
On the 10th of May 2021, the thirteen (13) soldiers were matched for the CO’s interview and the C O Lt. Col. Frank Gyebi-Abrokwa of Ghanbatt 87 asked the soldiers to introduce themselves and after the introduction, the C O strangely referred to the soldiers as “coup makers” without any reason. It is very unfortunate for a senior Officer who should know better to call soldiers coup makers for a reason best known to him. This unfortunate action of Lt. Col Frank Gyebi-Abrokwa needed to be investigated for him to further explain to Ghanainas why referred to the Soldiers as coup makers. This is a big threat to the existence of Ghana’s Democracy and the peace of this country.
After calling the soldiers coup makers he then read to them a letter from Ghana stating that the Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for all troops in the peacekeeping mission and therefore, any soldier who refused to take the Covid-19 vaccine should be repatriated to Ghana with their own earned dollars for purchasing of air ticket and spending on other related charges.
On the 26th of May 2021, nine (9) of the soldiers who still did not take the Covid-19 vaccine names were published and were matched to the CO for another interview. It was at that interview they were told a message came from Ghana ordering that the nine soldiers should be repatriated with immediate effect.
Lt Col. Frank Gyebi-Abrokwa did not allow the soldiers to sign the right form based on their offense but gave them a repatriation form on compassionate grounds.
They were asked to handover all items given to them by the UN and that of Ghanbatt 87.
They were repatriated to Ghana by an Ethiopian airline.
The UN that we all know that they do not compromise when it comes to human rights and respecting the human rights of the soldiers made the Covid-19 vaccination exercise a voluntary one. Due to this background, why should the leader of Ghanbatt 87 – Lt Col. Frank Gyebi-Abrokwa- made it compulsory and thereby forced it on the soldiers to take the jab or repatriation❓
Why did Lt Col. Frank Gyebi-Abrokwa made the soldiers to sign repatriation form on compassionate grounds meanwhile they were compulsorily repatriated❓
Upon reaching Kotoka International Airport around 10:00am on 5th May 2021, they were escorted by military Police and were sent to the 5Bn Senior NCO’s Mess where they were detained. When the soldiers asked why they were detained, one Major Akoe told them it was an order from above.
On Tuesday 8th June 2021 at 2:30pm Col. J. Amanor released the soldiers and read to them their charges.
Due to this case, punishment for personnel repatriated on disciplinary grounds in the Ghana Army which used to be three (3) to five (5) years ban on peacekeeping missions was reviewed to ten (10) years on 7th June 2021.
This harsh punishment meted out to these soldiers fighting for their human rights seems not to be enough to their superiors. On the 13th August 2021 notice of intended release letter from the Ghana Armed Forces on administrative grounds were served to all the nine soldiers repatriated.
On 27th September 2021, letters were served to these soldiers that approval had been given for them to be released from the Ghana Armed Forces. That their service in the Ghana Armed Forces has been terminated.
These soldiers upon sensing danger after they were given intended release notice, rushed to High Court of Human Rights/Industrial & Labour/Divorce and Matrimonial and were able to secure interlocutory injunction and served Ghana Armed Forces, compelling the GAF to hold on to the releasing of the nine (9) soldiers from the service until the case is determined by the High court.
ADAM-GH really appreciates the presiding Judge’s quick intervention and strictly applying the rule of law to save these innocent Soldiers.
Unfortunately, before the interlocutory injunction was served, the Ghana Armed Forces had already sent the release letters to some of the soldiers.
The Ghana Armed Forces have since written letters withdrawing the released letters given to the affected soldiers due to the High court interlocutory injunction served on them.
On the 15th October 2021 whilst the case was still in court, the Ghana Armed Forces suspended the nine (9) soldiers from all military duties.
The affected soldiers are:
1. W O I Asianu Benjamin
2. W O I Awadzie Anane Kwame
3. S/SGT Mengime Godfred Baba
4. W O II Douglas Kweku Kumordzi
5. S/SGT Philip Ahedor
6. S/SGT Emmanuel Cann
7. S/SGT Nartey John Teye
8. SGT David Kwasi Agyuah Gyasi
ADAM-GH as a civil society organization that anchors proper democratic principles ensures good governance and promotes the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians and fights corruption. We believe that the Ghana Armed Forces have over-punished the above named Soldiers and it undermines their fundamental human rights. Our Soldiers should be busy protecting Ghanaians and our territorial borders and not busy in court fighting each other on mediocre issues.
These poor soldiers should not be battling with Ghana Armed Forces in the Law court just to secure their stay in the Army upon numerous punishments meted out to them already due to protecting their personal health.
The Ghana Armed Forces should not be so insensitive to its own members who laid their lives down for this country for all these years.
Your Excellency, we are hereby drawing your attention to this matter to step in and resolve this public interest matter amicably amongst your own men in the Army as Commander in chief of the Ghana Armed Forces.
We hope this Petition shall receive your quick intervention.
AZUBILA EMMANUEL ABDUL-SALAM
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, ANCHORING DEMOCRACY ADVOCACY MOVEMENT GHANA (ADAM-GH).
CONTACT:. +233544418072, +233507629533, +233545270290.
JOHN KWAME ADU JACK
DIRECTOR OF RESEARCH AND MEDIA RELATIONS, ADAM-GH.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, ADAM-GH
CONTACT: 024348 6397
LAWYER CAPTAIN MILLS RETIRED Esq.
LAWYER FOR THE AFFECTED SOLDIERS