#12. Murder and mayhem in the Gateway to West Africa
Or isn’t that how we’ve branded ourselves? God-fearing, hospitable, nice people…the Gateway to West Africa…all that jazz?
People who waves white handkerchiefs and praise God on Sunday then beat up a soldier on Monday and we call ourselves ‘hospitable.”
Tweekai. We should all bow our heads in shame. My atheist friends who always thought Christianity is a messed up religion, now believe that the rest of us who believe in God are certifiably insane.
It’s been 48 hours since the brutal lynching and setting alight of Captain Maxwell Mahama and time has afforded me the opportunity to sift through the conflicting reports from the DCE and assembly man of the community and to internally process the true horror that occurred at Diaso in the Central region.
Now the thought running through my mind is this – mob justice and lynching is not a new phenomenon in Ghanaian society. In fact, there have been a number of publicized cases from the Ashanti and Greater Accra regions but the victims’ families did not receive justice because in the eyes of the public, the individuals were petty criminals and thus did not deserve it.
And we all know the police service is notoriously slow to bring the perpetrators of this type of crime to book.
It’s a sad fact that more Ghanaians rely on the media and mob justice to get the results they need. I can’t tell you how many times people call the newsroom saying there’s a fire at so-and-so or an armed robbery at x-y-z, and when you ask if they’ve called the police they snort and pass comments.
For whatever reason, as a society, we have allowed the reputation of the Ghana Police Service to deteriorate to a point that we view them with derision and scorn. The GPS is ill-equipped, badly resourced and overly criticized. Their offices at the district and community levels are interior decorating nightmares. And the way the officers on night patrol behave is simply appalling – collecting money from motorists with the words “Oh you know its late…for the boys..” and always haranguing the trotro and taxi drivers because they know those commercial drivers tend to act the fool so they can collect bribes from them. The way they drag their feet when solving crimes in developing communities because the infrastructure there is piss-poor. And, if the posts sent to Awareness General Francis Kennedy Ocloo are true, some even demand female drivers either kiss them or have sex with them instead of paying fines for traffic offences.
In short, Ghana Police Service is a mess with many issues that should have been resolved ten years ago.
But unfortunately we’re being too slow; because now too many citizens don’t believe that the police service has the gonads to fight crime and give them any justice. People feel that the police are only in it for their pockets and not for the public good; the police are just there to protect the ‘big men and women’ in society, if you don’t know anyone or you don’t have any big man to speak for you, your case will die an ignominious death.
And how many people can pay bribes every other day to get the justice they deserve? And how on earth did we get to this point where we have to pay before we are protected?
As a society we have ignored the cracks in our police service and now they are huge chasms that are difficult to cross. We have created a society where lynching and mob justice is normal and justice via the police service is not.
We have normalized vicious beatings with heavy stones, bricks, blocks and pieces of wood before setting the dead victim alight.
The animals in human clothes who killed Captain Mahama should be rounded up and thrown into prison for the rest of their lives. They are not fit to mingle with the rest of us. Captain Mahama’s death should not just shock us into action, it should be the catalyst that forces us to seek justice for every Ghanaian who is a victim of mob justice. This descent into madness must brake somewhere and this callous murder of a man who swore to defend his nation should be the last stop.
60 years of independence and we have become a people who wave white handkerchiefs on Sunday then murder a man in cold blood under dubious reasons on Monday.