When I read social media reports that said that a sacked police recruit had committed suicide, I said for what? Even Jack who suffered arguably one of the most painful dismissal ever never killed nor harmed himself. Rather, he kept his head up, kept his composure, picked up the pieces together and started life all over again.
Almost fourteen years after his painful dismissal and despite the fact that his mates are Sergeants now, Jack believes that what happened to him was nothing but an act of God. He believes that this was destined to happen to him and that he was not created to be a police officer.
In 2003, we were in Winneba police training school training together in a very warm and cordial atmosphere coupled with the cozy breeze from the sea until we were transferred to Koforidua to complete our training shortly after we had completed all our academic work.
If we knew our transfer was to turn out to be a nightmarish one for us, we would have prayed against or perhaps resisted it a bit – that is, if we had any power to do so.
If we knew the avalanche of events that were waiting for us in Koforidua, we would have asked God to intercede on our behalf to stop us from being transferred.
By far, our intake witnessed the largest number of recruits of northern extraction and more specifically, “Dagomba recruit” more than any other intake of police recruits in a single year in the history of the service.
This was a mixture of good and bad omen for us. Good omen because we obviously we were going to be employed to be able to support our families and bad omen because there was a tribal bigot waiting patiently in Koforidua for our arrival to teach us a bitter lesson we will never forget?
When we arrived at Koforidua eventually, and after our first meeting with this tribal bigot one fine even, we knew we had landed in a blazing fire.
Even among us the larger “northern recruits” and more especially the “Dagomba recruits” , we knew there was real and present danger and a threat to our very survival on the training grounds.
We could feel it all around the training school because the hatred was propagated and disseminated by no less a person than the OC of the training school. It was almost as if we were paying for the wrongs our ancestors had committed against this man. I mean, our ancestors probably could have done something against this man or his forebears that he really thought it was time to pay back.
The OC of a training school also referred to as Officer Commanding, is in charge of the day to day running of the school. You can call him the administrative head of the school.
Our OC had an Akan name. He spoke Akan, and looked “Akanish”. Although I cannot put a finger on the region he comes from, his “Akanity” was not in doubt.
His duty was to see to the welfare and training of all recruits on training.
But unfortunately for our OC we were unlucky to be blessed with at the time, he had a different agenda apart from performing the core function of an OC.
Our nemesis of an OC will always come to tattoo purposely to castigate his avowed enemies, the “Dagomba recruits for reasons only best known to him.
Tattoo is a gathering of recruits on training at a dedicated time in the evening between the hours of 7pm to 9pm mainly to listen to the concerns of recruits and to address them if possible. Also, it is a time when instructions are given to recruits.
Because our OC was carrying out an agenda against the “Dagomba recruits” used the opportunity provided by the tattoo as a vehicle to launch attacks on us and to call us names in front of our colleagues.
He will tell us that he knew us more than his boxer shorts, he knew where we were coming from and how we got to the training school.
He said he knows how our people can be very arrogant and disrespectful. But despite our arrogance and empty pride, when we go to toilet, we use our anus to rub around the walls of the toilet because we don’t use toilet rolls.
He said worst of all, we use maize corks to clean our anus. But he will always end up by saying that he weren’t going to blame us because we were coming from very poor and uncivilised communities.
Because we could read between the lines, we realised that he had a very special strain of hatred for we the “Dagomba recruits”
During one such tattoo gathering, he openly told us that he was aware it was the then Vice President Aliu Mahama who had pushed us in such large numbers into the training school, and that at the right time he was going to expel many of us to ensure that he drastically reduced the “Dagomba recruits”
Such audacity, disrespect and show of balls and to accuse a sitting Vice President in that manner was something that surprised many of us. In fact, we were left spell bound and lost for words. But what then could we do except to keep quiet and suffer whilst we wait with baited breath for the D day to come for us to pass out.
And talking of passing out, maybe because of the anger against the so called Dagomba recruits, our passing out was rescheduled so many times just so that the OC could have more time to deal with us.
He did threaten to send us packing and at the right time he will send many of us home.
True to his words, he did carry out the threat by sending a “Dagomba recruit” home to serve as a warning signal to the rest of us.
That Dagomba recruit was a trained teacher who had left teaching to come and join police. He was very affable, respectful, gentle, time conscious and obedient.
Although he was a bodybuilder, he never used his endowed body mass to threaten nor frighten anybody – not even a single recruit accused him of trying to scare him or her. He was just like any recruit.
All the recruits, northern recruits, Dagomba recruits and the others from other parts of the country loved and praised him. They will occasionally shower praises on him, give him appellations and make him feel loved.
Because it was a congregation of human beings with varied characteristics, not everyone had this love for him. A few showed their teeth to him but deep down their hearts, they loathed and hated him. To such people, the praise singing, the fame, and the popularity that came with it was something that gave them sleepless nights.
One such individuals was our senior man Kafui Kugblenu who was from the Volta region and also part of a group that could also be described as “Ewe recruits” whose number was only second to all the “northern recruits” put together.
Kafui had a hidden fear that resulted in him hating the gentle jack. He had occasion to actually make this fear known to his fellow “Ewe recruits” when he confided in some of his close pals that he wanted this affable gentle Dagomba recruit dismissed from training school before he became a police officer.
The reasons for Kafui’s fears was not readily known to us but the suspicion that was on the grounds was that he feared that if anybody will ever want to expose bundle him to the authorities of the training school for being a “heavy wee smoker” then it was going to be jack.
Is true, Kafui was a chain smoker but his suspicion about jack was misplaced. Jack had no time for such things. He wasn’t the kind of person who liked reporting people.
This could be seen in how Jack covered everybody who committed one wrong or the other when he was the mess god. He was really such a nice fellow.
I got to hear snippets of why Kafui masterminded the dismissal of Jack when myself and him were leaving at Abossey Okai. His behaviour in Abossey Okai was nothing short of confession and regrets. He was sad he did what he did to jack.
At the time the dismissal happened we were left with only few days to passing out and as it is often said “last days are dangerous”.
Around this time, we were performing guard duties at some selected locations primarily at the residence of some of the big men of the service within the immediate precincts of gallaway as the training school was called.
These kind of duties, are part of the training routine targeted at instilling some duty discipline and help shape shape recruits to cope with more rugged, rough and cumbersome duties out there in the real police world.
It was during one of such duties that my best friend and body at training – Jack Moro Bugli when Kafui, the senior man who planned to get of him decided to set in motion his beautifully cooked lies that was capable of convincing the most difficult angel to listen to him.
Kafui, the senior man after realising that his trap had caught a rat in the person of jack because of some exchanges that he had with Jack because of this guard duties, quickly rushed to inform the OC who already had a stored hatred for the Dagomba recruits and was always seen insulting them and calling them people with empty pride, accepted hook line and sinker, the lies of Kafui.
A man who was already waiting for a Dagomba recruit to fall in a trap so that he could use him as a scapegoat to teach the other Dagomba recruits a lesson, didn’t hesitate to crack the whip on jack to kick start his threat to ensure that all the Dagomba recruits were sent home because of his so called empty pride, quickly summoned instructors to match jack before him to answer questions on an alleged threat he issued on Kafui because of guard duty.
At the meeting was the accuser of jack Kafui who was there to give evidence against jack.
He told even more gargantuan lies in front of the OC’s adhoc investigative panel. He succeeded in getting the already blood thirsty OC to believe story.
The OC after hearing both of them did not buy the defence of jack and therefore issued a verbal dismissal order for jack to pack and leave depot immediately because his training had come to an end.
Not even the begging and crying of many recruits could get the OC to rescind his verbal dismissal instructions.
He ordered that jack be matched to the recruits block to pack his things and leave without delay.
We were just left with some few days to pass out. The pastors around could not stop this painful and needless dismissal. Neither could the mallams and the revered Koforidua Zongo Imam could get this man to back down.
Jack did go home and we eventually passed out on 17th December 2003.
Surprisingly, his name was captured among the passing out squad and the final list that was sent to Accra to prepare us for further training at the Asutuary Military Training School.
When we arrived at Asutuary, jack’s name kept coming up at every gathering as the military instructors kept asking us why he had not reported. We knew from this point that his dismissal wasn’t a proper one but just a mere verbal one which didn’t reach Accra.
So one of us, Awal Wumpini to be precise, called Jack Moro Bugli to report at Asutuary because his name was still been mentioned by the military authorities.
Jack did repor at Asutuary one fine evening at the gate when we were on our way to the unarmed combat grounds to train. We were happy to see him again. He was at the gate with his luggage and cutlass. We were excited.
All the recruits especially the Dagomba recruits were very happy to see him again but our happiness were soon going to turn to sorrow again.
Whilst jack was still undergoing clearance at the gate, word got to the soldiers at the sentry not to allow him to enter.
We didn’t understand why but that was the order from above.
Later when we got to the recruit lines ( recruits block) word got around that again it was Kafui who hinted the soldiers that jack was a dismissed recruit.
Indeed, it was later to be confirmed by our sources within the circles of the instructors that he Kafui was the one who informed the authorities for jack to be stopped.
We stayed in Asutuary for eight clear weeks and were taking through very rigorous and tough training and passed out afterwards.
Although jack was not allowed to join us again due to the machinations of Kafui once again, we were told that before he left he had sworn by his ancestors that if Kafui had ensure that he didn’t become a police officer, he will also not keep long in the police service. He will be dismissed.
As faith will have it, and true to the words and the swearing of jack. The curse that was placed on Kafui came to pass in less than two years after we passed out.
Kafui was dismissed together with 10 others colleagues.
Painfully, Kafui did not go alone as his action enveloped about three other “Dagomba police” by the time.
Their crime was that he Kafui and one other truant called Foster Owusu had lied to and successfully mobilised the 10 others to go and stage an attack on the Neoplan police station because the station had arrested and detained three of their colleagues for performing an illegal duty at the Kwame Nkrumah circle.
Because jack went home and didn’t go to kill himself, he lived to witness the dismissal of his sworn enemy Kafui Kugblenu from the police service.
The OC who arbitrarily dismissed jack is still in the service. He is gradually climbing the ladder of the service and the fear among many of us “Dagomba police” is that, just like he used to insult us and attack us for no apparent reason at training school, he may one day come at us again should he become the head of the service.
We do not know whether his stereotypical mindset he had about us has witnessed some change over the period.
We hope and pray that he has changed for the better.
By: Abdul Hanan Mohammed EL-Saeed
Chiraa Police Station