#DropThatChamber campaign has been gaining momentum in the recent past. The campaign has attracted supporters from across different professions and businesses alike. It has also attracted controversies with the same vein, as it has attracted supporters. The recent big news making rounds across social and mainstream media, concerning this particular matter, is that of a military man stripped of his rank because of his support for the #DropThatChamber campaign. This is what happened.
In a viral video, the member of the disciplined forces was seen supporting #DropThatChamber campaign on social media, aimed at stopping the construction of the newly proposed Parliamentary chamber. According to Graphic Online, as reported by peacefmonline, the soldier has been sentenced to 90 days jail term with hard labour at the guardroom, after being stripped of his rank.
The soldier, Lance Corporal Lincoln Isaac Wassah, is a member of 2 Recce Squadron in Sunyani. He is also a man with beliefs, that apparently has landed him in trouble this time. In the video, Lance was in full military uniform while supporting the campaign. According to the rules and regulations of the military, this was unacceptable and warranted reprimand. It was against all the rules of engagement.
What does drop that chamber means? Why are the drop that chamber protests necessary? What is all the fuss about? Hold up. Let's take a trip down memory lane. Do you recall proposals by the Parliament to construct a new Parliamentary chamber? Yes, this is where it all started.
The #DropThatChamber campaign was started on social media with the sole objective of putting pressure on Parliament to halt a proposal to build a new Parliamentary chamber with a 450 seating capacity. The cost of the proposed chamber is US$200 million.
The social media campaign has attracted a huge number of followers across the country. It envisioned to bring 2 million people on board to march across the streets to express their discontent on the move by the Parliament.
People of different social standing had a thing or two to say about the proposal. Celebrities made public statements on their social media pages opposing the proposed new chamber.
Eventually, the Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) yielded to the pressure mounted by the public and suspended the project in its entirety.
Action against the soldier, Lance Corporal Lincoln Isaac Wassah
Even though the campaign was peaceful, there was a casualty in the name of Lance Corporal Lincoln Isaac Wassah. During the campaign, Lincoln took advantage of the situation, to express his thoughts like any other Ghanian by warning President Akufo-Addo against buying into the proposal. He created a drop that chamber video where he advised the president not to be part of the supporters of the construction of the new Parliamentary chamber. In the video, Lance thinks that there are more pressing issues that the president can focus on, for the good of the general public. He was, unfortunately, arrested for interrogation, following the release of the video, by the Military High Command.
Later on, the Commanding Officer of the Recce Regiment Gondar Barracks Burma camp, convened a board of inquiry to look into the matter. The board was chaired by the Commanding Officer of the Unit, Lt Colonel W.A.K. Ackah. Other board members included WO1 Dafliso V, Captain V. Bempong, Sgt Attor R and Lance Corporal Okumtey J.O.
Lincoln appeared to have stood his ground, and neither took back his words nor showed any remorse during the interrogation. This is according to a Graphic online as reported by peacefmonline.
It was after the inquiry that the board arrived at what Amnesty International has described as harsh punishment. The board of inquiry concluded that the soldier should be stripped of his rank and sentenced to a 90-day jail term with hard labour at the guard room.
In his defence
Robert Akoto Amoafo, the Director for Amnesty International in Ghana, opined that a warning could work just fine as enough punishment to the soldier. He said that what the soldier did was a rare occurrence within Ghana's security forces. He said:
"The extent to which this punishment has gone is too far. A warning could have been 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".
Thanks to drop that chamber Twitter supporters, the #DropThatChamber campaign has run its course to fruition. The intended outcome has been realized, but casualties have been left behind. Is this man a disloyal soldier according to the military standards? Is his crime worth the punishment? Tell your opinion! And long live Ghana's military! Long live fairness and justice!