The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has warned the public of the unauthorized use of military pattern uniforms and accoutrements.
This follows the use of military-pattern uniforms and accoutrements by protesters during recent demonstrations.
The GAF in its statement underscored that despite public education on the matter, such unlawful acts persist.
“Despite the continuous education and warnings issued to the general public to desist from these practices, the trend rather appears to be on the increase.”GAF
It noted that particularly during the recent demonstrations by Democracy Hub, it identified some protesters in the military wear and other accoutrements supposedly acting as private security to some dignitaries.
“The probability for these individuals being wrongly perceived to be GAF personnel has the propensity of drawing the image of GAF into disrepute.”GAF
Backing their stance on the law, the GAF stated that such conduct was in direct contravention of the National Liberation Council Decree (NLCD) 177 of 1967, which is still in force.
“This Decree in part states that; ‘no person shall wear or use any military uniforms, equipment, or accoutrement or other material unless he or she is a member of the Armed Forces of Ghana.”GAF
Furthermore, GAF stated that the illegal use of military wear and accoutrement threatened the country’s security.
“Noting that these acts create a sense of insecurity in the country and tarnish the image of the military, GAF would not allow this situation to persist and will henceforth effect the arrests of culprits to face the full rigors of the law.”GAF
Thus, GAF called on the public to support its campaign against the illegal use of military wear.
“GAF, therefore, seeks the cooperation of the general public to curb the use of military uniforms and accoutrements, especially during future protests. Those who continue to violate this law will be arrested.”GAF
Moreover, GAF reaffirmed its commitment to protect the territorial integrity of Ghana and its citizens at all times.
“It therefore requires the support of all to enforce measures in the interest of the needed peace and security,” GAF added.
Fashionable Versus Criminally Intended Wearing Of Military Uniform
For various reasons, citizens wear military camouflage-patterned uniforms. Sometimes for fashion, other times for “security” roles. Some other times, too, for criminal acts.
The law National Liberation Council Decree (NLCD) 177 of 1967 which bars the unauthorized wearing of military uniforms and their accoutrement aside, an assessment of the security risk it poses when one cannot identify the real army anymore is a good reason to bar such conduct.
In Ghana, stories of the military disciplining a person who wears the military uniform publicly are common. The stories are usually funny but very interesting.
Notwithstanding these stories, people still find the military uniform very attractive and fashionable.
Interestingly, according to the NLCD 177, a member of the Armed Forces of Ghana wearing or using the uniform, equipment, accoutrement, or materiel without authorization amounts to same crime. In essence, army personnel cannot wear the uniform without authorization.
Exceptions exist for ex-servicemen to wear such uniforms, and equipment with approval, however.
It is also barred under the decree to sell or buy military uniforms, equipment, and other materials unless such conduct has been sanctioned.
According to the law, any person who contravenes any provision of the “Decree commits an offense and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred new cedis or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
Note also, that the decree categorizes Police Service uniforms and Prison Service uniforms as military wear. But who wears those without authorization but criminals?
From the foregoing illumination, citizens may want to check their taste for the esteemed and “fashionable” wear, so the GAF will have an easier job at identifying “criminally” intended usage.
This will be in the supreme interest of protecting Ghanaians, especially amidst threats of terrorism within the sub-region.