- It is even more confusing when this happens in a country with touted credentials as the world’s leading exponent of democracy, emphasising human rights.
Written By Brig Gen Dan Frimpong (Rtd) - The yell “bunker” by an instructor during our field tactical training in the coldness of winter sent us poor cadets scurrying into the nearest trench, or bunker if there was one immediately available. “Bunker” was the signal for a simulated incoming nuclear strike, and therefore the command to take cover!
Earlier, we had gone through the “gassing” protocol of being put in a chamber where tear gas was released on us. When we staggered out of the chamber after only a few minutes choking, coughing and in some cases throwing up, it gave us a feel of what a nuclear attack could be like.
Bunkers are prepared fortifications, usually underground, to give protection from attacks including nuclear strikes.
Recently, probably the world’s most fortified bunker received an unscheduled “visitation.” Later the impromptu visitor tweeted explaining that he only went to inspect the bunker. He stated that, he was in the bunker inspecting it for “……a tiny short little period of time ………..”
Officially, he was in the bunker for an hour while Secret Service agents clashed with angry protesters outside over the killing of a black man George Floyd by a white policeman. Indeed he “inspected” the bunker for an hour with his wife and son!
His “inspection” was not occasioned by a nuclear alert warning, but by unarmed angry citizens storming the hallowed grounds.
It has been said that a people deserve the leader they get. While this may be debatable, one wonders why a people would choose a leader who has no iota of respect for them. Worse still is a leader who is highly abusive and temperamental with an amazing penchant for insulting anyone who dares ask a question he dislikes.
Doubtlessly, an unintended consequence of COVID-19 is the actualization of the Danish writer Hans Christian Anderson’s story “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in which sycophantic courtiers convinced the naked Emperor that, he was resplendently dressed in new clothes.
Whatever respect this high office gave him has evaporated leaving him naked. However, he has a diehard support base that will support him because they think like him. For them, he says openly what they think.
It is even more confusing when this happens in a country with touted credentials as the world’s leading exponent of democracy, emphasising human rights.
In Ghana, there has been massive anger as there has been in many countries over the brutal killing of an unarmed George Floyd by a policeman Derek Chauvin. With his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, Chauvin ensured life ebbed away slowly from Floyd amidst pleas including calling his dead mother and saying “I can’t breathe!”
“Blood will flow”
Ironically, in Ghana where we are busy expressing disgust over the killing of George Floyd in far-away America, some Ghanaians are threatening fellow Ghanaians that, if they are not allowed to have their way, “blood will flow!”
The question I ask is, whose blood will flow and why? It certainly will not be theirs, their parents, siblings or relatives! It must be others. Why? Must others’ blood flow so that they can have power?
Please remember that, such incendiary language resulted in the killing of eight-hundred thousand Rwandans in one hundred days in Rwanda in 1994.
Twenty-seven Ghanaian peacekeepers lost their lives in Rwanda.
I wish it were possible to send these blood-minded people to war torn countries where Ghanaian soldiers go to keep peace, to see the results of blood flowing!
At this point of writing, BBC Focus on Africa announced “BREAKING NEWS!” (Tuesday, 9 June 2020 at 1506 hours (3.06pm).
“The President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza has died! He was 55!”
In 2017, I was at a briefing session at the AU Headquarters Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at which a virtually crying Burundian appealed to the AU to help stop the carnage that was being visited on Burundians by President Pierre Nkurunziza.
He said Nkuruziza ensured on a daily basis that, blood flowed! Anyone suspected of opposing him was hounded and killed. Blood not only flowed metaphorically, but physically! Is this what some Ghanaians wish for Ghana?
Breaking News added that, even though the cause of death was cardiac arrest, COVID-19 had not been ruled out because at the time of writing, Mrs Nkuruziza is in a Kenyan hospital with COVID-19.
As a journalist in another African country asked some years back, probably rather uncharitably, when he heard that his president’s wife had died, “so do they also know how to die?”
For those shouting “blood will flow” so they may have power, let the sudden death of a very fit 55 year old President Nkuruziza remind them that, life does not belong to us. Indeed, life is short! He ruled Burundi with an iron hand for fifteen years during which he caused a lot of blood to flow!
For his retirement package after changing the Constitution to allow him a third term in office, he took $530,000 (US dollars) with a new title “Supreme Guide.”
For one of the world’s most protected men to have sought refuge, or “visited” a bunker impromtu as a precaution not from a nuclear threat, but from angry unarmed citizens, it should be a lesson to those who shout “blood will flow” so they can have power.
The savagery with which George Floyd was killed and the reaction all over the world should be a lesson to all Police and racists.
Finally, the sudden death of President Nkurunziza should remind us that, life does not belong to us.
Let us therefore live in peace and treat one another in a human and humane manner!
Fellow Ghanaians, this too shall pass!
The writer is a former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya and Council Chairman, Family Health University College, Teshie, Accra