By Edmund Mingle
Wednesday, 09 July 2008
The leadership of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) has promised to cooperate with the board of enquiry being set up by the management of the 37 Military Hospital to investigate alleged detention and torture of commercial (trotro) drivers in the hospital’s mortuary by soldiers.
"We will ask the affected drivers and mates to testify before the committee," Alhaji Yaw Manu, national chairman of the Union, told the Times yesterday.
So far, Alhaji Manu said, four drivers have formally informed the union of their ordeal at the hands of the military guards.
He said although the hospital has not notified the union of the setting up of the investigating committee, "the union is prepared to ensure that we get to the bottom of the matter."
The Times reported on Monday, that for the past three weeks, recalcitrant drivers arrested by military guards for parking wrongly in front of the hospital or dropping off and picking passengers there, were allegedly detained in batches to work at the hospital’s mortuary as punishment. Their punishment included arranging corpses, mopping the mortuary floor and cleaning.
Alhaji Manu also said the union was arranging to send the affected drivers and mates to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for medical checks ups.
The move is to find out if any of them has contracted any disease as a result of having worked in the mortuary without protective gear.
"We want to have them checked to give them the necessary medical care if there has been some infection," Alhaji Manu.
The management of the hospital on Monday, began setting up a board of enquiry to investigate the allegations.
Alhaji Manu described the treatment meted out to the drivers as regrettable, saying the union was inviting all other victims to undergo medical checks.
The union is calling an emergency national council meeting on the matter to discuss how to resolve it, he said.
Asked why the union would rather not ask the military hospital to do the medical checks, he said that would not be a wise thing to do.
"How can you ask someone who has hit your face to check if your eye is swollen? He will never tell you it is swollen, even if it is swollen," he replied in Twi.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) on Monday, condemned the treatment meted out to the drivers, describing it as cruel and against their fundamental human rights