The military hierarchy led by Chief of Defense Staff (CDS), Lt. Gen. Obed Akwa, is said to have locked up one Lance Corporal Isaac Lincoln Wassah, who was seen in a viral video, speaking against the controversial new parliamentary complex.
The young soldier, who was seen in the video appealing to President Akufo-Addo, not to support the plan, was said to have been summoned from his base in Sunyani and detained in a military guard room.
The officer in the video, had described calls for the construction of a new chamber, as selfish on the part of Parliamentarians, and media reports are that he is likely to spend about a month in detention in accordance with military regulations.
His comments amount to an offence described in the military as ‘disloyalty’.
The announcement of a new chamber among other facilities for MPs last week, has been heavily criticized by journalists, civil society organizations, MPs, religious leaders among others.
Many, have taken to social media, asking that Corporal Isaac Lincoln Wassah, be set free since he did no wrong by adding his voice to a national discourse.
Some have compared his situation to another officer who was seen in 2016, drinking Kalypo in solidarity with the then opposition leader, Nana Akufo-Addo.
To them, the tolerance shown in that incident, must be replicated in the case of Corporal Isaac Lincoln Wassah, who appears to have a young family.
Many have also argued that he showed gross disrespect to his Commander-in-Chief; President Akufo-Addo in the manner he addressed him in the video, hence ought to be punished.
Interestingly, Opposition lawmaker, Ras Mubarak, one of the fierce critics of the project, has described as an “embarrassment” to the Ghana Armed Forces, an “unprofessional” soldier, who videoed himself ranting against a decision by the Parliamentary Service Board to put up a $200-million 450-seat chamber for the legislature.
In the video, the army man, pleaded with President Akufo-Addo, to stop the country’s Members of Parliament (MPs) from going ahead with the plan.
“Are our parliamentarians telling us that they don’t have any use for the $200,000 [the estimated amount is actually $200 million] they are raising to construct a new chamber for parliament? Is that what they are telling us?” he asked.
He continued: “If they don’t have any use for that [$200 million], let me suggest something to them: in fact, there are schools, … children who still learn under trees; there are still school buildings which don’t have furniture in them; there are still rural areas, villages, which don’t have clinics; there are still towns, which don’t have potable water.
“They [MPs] should start thinking”, the angry soldier said.
He, thus, appealed to President Akufo-Addo, not to support the move and also stop the MPs from going ahead with the construction.
“You Excellency Nana Addo, I know you won’t support this and I don’t expect you to support this. Please, don’t let the parliamentarians bring their trouble this time. We’re fed up with them! We can’t be living in this country, when everyone takes decisions which [are] so selfish. This is so selfish a decision and that chamber must drop and I support that. Thank you very much”, he fumed.
Responding to the soldier, Mr Mubarak, who is one of five MPs, who have publicly expressed their disagreement with the project, wrote on Facebook thus: “What an embarrassment to the military. If this unprofessional officer cares to know, the majority of MPs don’t support spending $200m on a luxury chamber when many of our people lack essential services”.
“That, however, doesn’t give an officer in uniform the right to misconduct himself. He has breached the Armed Forces Regulation Vol. 1, Article 19, section 14 subsection 2 and article 19.36. Before he heard a word about it, it was MPs, who kicked against it first. The fact that we want the chamber dropped, doesn’t mean we should promote indiscipline #DropThatChamber”, the Kumbungu lawmaker noted.