Coup in 4th Republican dispensation not possible – Yaw Oppong

A private legal practitioner, Yaw Oppong, has said overthrowing a constitutionally elected government in Ghana in the Fourth Republic is not possible.

He said if there is anything to worry about, it should rather be the disgruntled civilians who can rise against a government such as the Arab springs and not military officers picking guns to topple a government.

He said these on the Key Points programme on TV3 Saturday January 9 while contributing to discussions on the Military men who stormed the chamber of parliament on Thursday January 7 following stalemate between MPs-elect for the NDC and NPP sides while they were electing a new Speaker of the House.

Some Ghanaians including former President John Dramani Mahama condemned the intervention of the military and called for a thorough investigations into the matter.

“The recent use of the military in civil democratic processes has become a major worry and gives the impression that this administration is continually seeking to resurrect the exorcised ghosts of our military past. Parliament must conduct an investigation into the two incidents and exact appropriate sanctions,” the President Candidate of the NDC in the last elections said in a tweet.

A United States Ghanaian lawyer Professor Kwaku Asare also condemned the intervention of the Military, saying it wasn’t in their place to have stepped in.

But Mr Yaw Oppong told host of the programme Abena Tabi that the Military should not be seen as enemies of the state.

He said “I think that much as it would have been desirous that  they were not there , watching the scenes , the ultimate question to ask  is, were they successful  in calming  tempers  and restoring order?

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“Obviously, there was disorder. Does it mean that the Marshals have failed, the Police had failed and the last resort had to be  the soldiers or the military? The Military also have a role to play and not only might they always  be expected to go to  war . I don’t remember the last time that  we commanded them to go to war on behalf of Ghana.

“But when there is a state of insecurity  and all mechanisms  provided by law  have failed  then the question is not  so much whether it was  proper. Let us look at the end result.

“ Let us ask whether the clam that was restored  can be attributed to  the soldiers . That is a more important question  to me than the propriety  or otherwise of the y coming because at the end of the day, you ask yourself,  will the Members of Parliament  have continued  to be distractive of  their own proceedings  as we are seeing it right now  but for the presence of the soldiers.

“Obviously, wherever we are  the presence of police  makes ;people sit on the edge but when it comes to the  soldiers  you get a bit more frightening. I am not sure that they had actually  come in there to cause mayhem  themselves.”

Regarding concerns that the military coming there amounted to a coup, he said “They are entitled to their opinions but my view is that  I will look at  the end results being that did their presence cause  some calm  to be returned  or to be restored . Because after that we hardly saw such similar incident until the latter part where all the other things came in . So let us not sometimes  see the solders as of they are  enemies of state  or they are enemies of the system.

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“I don’t remember the last time that when  solders went to stage a coup  they actually went to parliament  to drive away members  of parliament .

“In fact these days I always say that  it is almost a near impossibility  for any solder  to stage a coup.

“The recent development had rather been  rank and file of the ordinary  people  massing up. The Arab Springs are example, which by the grace of God we hope it would not happen  here .

“Otherwise we will alienate the soldiers. These solders live among us , they have children, they have wives  but to put them in pigeon hole  of having sense to distract  state institutions  all their time.

“Since 1981 we have never had any coup d’état. Have we? No! and it appears that  that has become the established culture  and no solder in my view  ought to be motivated  to disrupt this  fantastic system that  we are operating.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana