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Why Nunoo-Mensah Is Angry   
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Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah Retired, the National Security Adviser, has read the Riot Act to Ghanaian workers in particular, and Ghanaians in general currently living in the country.

If you are not happy with conditions in the country, just pick up your passport and leave the country. If the kitchen is too hot for you, get out!

Ghanaians must be prepared to sacrifice for their country. Let Ghanaians remember what the late President J. F. Kennedy of the United States told his fellow Americans: “Do not ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

As for him, the retired Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, he is a soldier, not a diplomat or a politician. He speaks as a soldier speaks.

He has the honour and the rare distinction of having been trained at Sandburst, Britain’s premier military academy, the same where the late British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, trained.

Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah has lived in such places as the United States, Russia, British, etc. Did somebody say that his training and work schedule brought him into contact with the dreaded United States Central Intelligence Agency?

We know that, in Ghana, he has had the rare distinction of being the only officer to have been Chief of Defence Staff on two separate occasions.

In addition, he also has the record of working with every government since Kwame Nkrumah. Indeed, he was closely associated with the murderous, fire and brimstone regime of the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), led by the bloodthirsty Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings as Chairman.

By all accounts, Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah has paid his dues as a Ghanaian who was 19 years old when the country attained her independence from colonial Britain. What occasioned the outburst of the retired Brigadier-General?

The occasion was the formal inauguration of a nine-unit classroom block which he had built for O’Reilly Senior High School, reputed to be the fourth oldest senior high school in the country.

As the report has come down to us, the building was his personal contribution from his own pocket. The report did not say that the Brigadier-General went about looking for funds from individuals and organisations.

On the contrary, he had denied himself the comfort of good food, and sometimes, the use of his vehicle in order to put up the building. He sometimes drank fruit juice and walked.

By the way, as he himself told radio interviewers, he had also built a hospital and doctors’ quarters somewhere in the Central Region.

What made the Brigadier-General’s gesture commendable is that he was not (repeat NOT) under any legal or even moral obligation to do it.

There can never be enough money for anyone. If a 75 or 76-year-old person feels compelled to share what he has with his fellow Ghanaians, then, under normal circumstances, he deserves NOT condemnation but commendation. So why has Brigadier-General attracted so much flak, such blitzkrieg, such saturation bombing from all sides?

For a number of people, it was the very extreme thoughtlessness and tactlessness he displayed that brought all the tonnes of bricks on his head.

Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah gloried in his assertion that he is not a politician or a diplomat, but a soldier, and that accounted for his plain speaking.

I have always wondered at the idea that military training turns a person into a zombie or a robot programmed to speak without tact or decorum.

It will be recalled, for example, that, when newly-installed Otumfuo

Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, paid a courtesy call on then President J. J. Rawlings, he (Rawlings) was extremely rude in his speech to the Asantehene.

The Minister of Communications, Mr. John Mahama (as he then was), tried to explain the then President’s rudeness by saying that his (Rawlings) training as a soldier had made him “brusque” in his speech.

Recently, when Col. M’Bawine Atintande, Director of the Ghana Armed Forces Directorate of Public Affairs, showed extreme tactlessness in the case in which some soldiers assaulted some journalists, the rationalisation that came from Mr. Kwadwo Adu Asare, former Member of

Parliament for Adenta, was that the military way of life differed from that of the civilians. Mr. Adu Asare qualified himself as a former “barracks boy”.

A commissioned military officer has always been described as “an Officer and Gentleman.” One definition of the word ‘gentleman’ as given by THE CONCISE OXFORD DICTIONARY states, “a chivalrous, courteous, or well educated man.”

Another definition states, “A man of good social position or wealth and leisure.” Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah kept referring to Winston Churchill. Does he mean that Mr. Churchill was undiplomatic in his speeches?

What Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah should know by now is that a commissioned military officer should learn to be polite, diplomatic, courteous and tactful on the appropriate occasions. The inauguration of the classroom block was one such occasion .He blew it.

Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah has openly and categorically asserted that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is behind the spate of strikes in the country at the moment.

When asked to provide evidence, he said he knew what he was talking about because he had been a member of that party, and knew more than the NPP people thought he knew.

When pressed further, he said he would produce the evidence if the party took him to court. The government‘s security adviser on national security has evidence of an attempt to destabilise the country, and he does not make the evidence available to the Government? Why is he keeping it close to his chest, as if it is his personal and private property? And the government looks on? When industrial unrest can easily destabilise the nation, and bring down the government of the day? That is sedition, if not treason!

If it is of any interest to Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah, let me tell him that I also do not like strikes either. And I am also of the opinion that no one likes strikes, even those who indulge in them. Strikes are always destructive and disruptive.

But he must also be aware of some of the genuine causes that push workers of all categories to go on strike. When he asked his surgeon son practicing in Britain whether doctors there went on strike, did he also ask him if nurses worked there for 21 (twenty-one) months without pay?

Brigadier-General, we should all be grateful to you for your sacrifice, but note that you are not the only philanthropist in Ghana. There are others too, but they are not ranting about it. Keep your blood pressure down, Sir.
Source: I. K. Gyasi/The Chronicle

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