Accra, Sept. 26, GNA – Major General (Retired) Henry Kwami Anyidoho has called for stringent measures at the United Nations and Regional Organisations to deal with countries who continue to ship arms to conflict zones.
Major General Anyidoho, a former Deputy Force Commander and Chief of Staff, United Nations Assistance Missions for Rwanda (UNAMIR) noted that arms control all over developing countries, especially Africa was weak.
He also called for the establishment of a Regional Standby Force so that they could be quickly deployed to avert situations, while there should be Intelligence Gathering Centres within the UN systems.
‘The establishment of the Regional Standby Force should no longer delay. That is the way troops could quickly be deployed.’
He made the recommendation at a public lecture, dubbed: ‘Twenty-three (23) years after the Rwanda War: Lessons for Ghana and the Ethno-Political Environment’. It was held at the Legon Centre for International Affairs and Diplomacy (LECIAD), University of Ghana.
Jointly organised by LECIAD and Hubert H. Humphrey Alumni Association, Ghana Chapter, the Lecture brought together students, lecturers and some Senior Military/Naval Officers.
It seeks to create a platform to assist Ghana to tone down socio-political tensions, which provide conducive atmosphere for conflicts.
Major General Anyidoho noted that the Rwandan situation was wrongly assessed and that there was improper synchronisation of resources control.
He recounted that Military troops did not have, for example, blood banks that could take care of the injured, hence these troops, who did not have enough food and water, had to donate blood to save the injured.
He said some sections of the Rwandan story had not been told well, adding that some of the films also did not depict the real issue on the ground.
Relating Ghana to Rwandan’s case, Maj-Gen Anyidoho noted that the infiltration of small arms had not been addressed; so there was the need to work very hard to curb arms circulation.
In the case of Rwandan, Major General Anyidoho, who led the Ghanaian contingent to serve in UNAMIR, explained that Kigali was a weapon secured area but they were not allowed to carry out search for hidden weapons.
He said during the Rwandan crisis, the United Nations did not encourage the use of Intelligence gathering because the act depicted the act of spying.
He expressed sadness that the Embassies and Foreign Entities, which were to assist troops in Intelligence gathering, left Rwandan; hence the troops had to rely on reliable and unreliable sources.
Maj-Gen Anyidoho who also recounted devastating effects of the Rwandan conflict, said he was not aware of that some packages had been given to the injured and fallen heroes from Ghana adding: ‘We are given medals.’
He said he could not hide his guilt on seeing some relatives of the military officers who died or suffered various degrees of injuries as result of the Command’s instructions during Rwandan crisis.
Maj-Gen Anyidoho proposed the provision of counselling for officers during and after the Rwandan crisis.
He said it was also vital for operational control of field units to be clearly be defined.
‘Contingents once assigned to a UN, Regional or sub-regional mission should remain loyal to Force Commander,’ he said. ‘Certainly, consultation with home government will continue but battalion commanders who decide to chicken out of crucial operations because of fear must be relieved of their commands.’
Additionally, Maj-Gen Anyidoho proposed that the positive role of the media should be encouraged in ensuring peace.
By Joyce Danso, GNA