The seat of government, the Jubilee House, has handsomely rewarded the Military Police personnel, who joined the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kalypo fever, ahead of the 2016 General Elections, with enlistment into the Ghana Military Academy, to become a commissioned officer of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).
Corporal Osei Owusu, now Lieutenant Osei Owusu, was among the list of 132 military officers, who graduated and were commissioned recently by President Akufo-Addo at the Ghana Military Academy’s 2019 Graduation Parade for Regular Career Course 59 and Short Service Commission and Special Duties Course 57 at the Adico Square in Teshie.
Pictures of then Corporal Osei Owusu in military uniform went viral during the 2016 general elections. He was seen sipping Kalypo, a popular fruit juice in solidarity with the NPP-Akufo-Addo 2016 campaign, an action which from all indication, offended the military’s code of conduct on politics.
The kalipo fever was sparked by the then opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was seen in a car with his friend; Yaw Osafo-Marfo, sipping the popular fruit juice.
Attempts by the then governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) to mock him, backfired with the NPP, declaring the Kalypo Challenge, which saw many bigwigs of the part, captured drinking the juice which largely held to be for kids.
The NPP went on to win the Presidential election, and the soldier,who at the time was just a corporal with the Military Police (MP), immediately relocated to the Jubilee House, after President Akufo-Addo was sworn into office, having gotten the needed recognition and political acceptance, and years on he got sent to the Military Academy in an apparent protocol arrangement to become an officer.
At the time, many on social media called on the military to crack its whip on the soldier, but no punishment was meted out to him.
He currently bears the title Lieutenant. It is not clear at what age Lt. Osei Owusu got into the military academy, as the GAF has set age limit of 25 for admission as cadet. It is again, not clear, if he sat for the entrance examination required.
An NPP footsoldier, Amega Awadzi, who shared two pictures of Lieutenant Osei Owusu sipping the fruit juice and receiving a handshake with President Akufo-Addo during the passing out ceremony happily, remarked that the officer’s commitment to the party’s campaign has paid off.
Amega Awadzi, who could not hide his joy said, lessons need to be drawn from Osei Owusu’s involvement and sacrifice to the NPP, as there is a reward for such people in the NPP.
“Today, the Kalypso soldier, Osei Owusu who was a corporal graduated successfully. He is now Lt Osei Owusu. Lessons must be learned in motivating people who sacrifice for the party”, he posted with the pictures.
Meanwhile, in July this year, a Lance Corporal Lincoln Isaac Wassah of 2 Recce Squadron in Sunyani, in a similar fashion was seen in a military uniform in a viral video, supporting the social media campaign to force parliamentarians to discard a proposal to build a new chamber for their comfort.
This time, the Military for political expediency, said his action was against the rules of engagement, which forbids soldiers from engaging or involving themselves in such public campaigns.
The “#DropThatChamber” campaign was initiated on social media with the aim of mounting pressure on Parliament to discontinue a proposal to build a new chamber that could accommodate about 450 Members of Parliament (MPs) at a cost of US$200 million.
Many people joined the social media campaign that was also intended to mobilise about two million people to march on the streets to register their displeasure.
People from all walks of life, including celebrities, made posts on various social media platforms against the proposed new chamber.
Following public pressure, the Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) subsequently suspended the project.
It was during the social media campaign period that L/Cpl Wassah Lincoln Isaac, also made a video to draw the attention of President Akufo-Addo, not to buy into the idea of supporting the construction of the new Parliamentary chamber, since there were many other pressing issues facing the country.
Following the release of the video, L/Cpl Wassah was arrested by the Military High Command for interrogation.
A board of inquiry was set up by the Commanding Officer of the Recce Regiment Gondar Barracks Burma camp, from highly placed sources.
The board, was chaired by the Commanding Officer of the Unit, Lt Colonel W.A.K. Ackah. Other members included; Captain V. Bempong, WO1 Dafliso V, Sgt Attor R and Lance Corporal Okumtey J.O.
L/Cpl Wassah, was said to have shown no sign of remorse during his interrogations, Graphic Online gathered.
After questions and answers, the board came out with their judgement and concluded that L/Cpl Wassah , should be stripped of his rank, and sentenced to 90 days imprisonment with hard labour at the guardroom.
The Amnesty International (AI) at the time, described the action by the army as harsh.
Speaking to Francis Abban on the Morning Starr, the country director for AI, Robert Akoto Amoafo, said a warning could have been enough punishment for the offense, since it is not a regular occurrence within the security agencies in Ghana
“The extent to which this punishment has gone is too far. A warning could have be given but to punish the person to this extent puts fear in officers to express themselves. The fact that one joins security agency does not take their citizenship rights from them. A warning would have been the best”.