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Opinions of Friday, 2 June 2017

Columnist: Alhassan Andani

Citizen vigilantism gone bad; and the vigilante perished

I am inimitably sad. My heart is unparalleled crestfallen. My hands are incredibly tottering as I write this column. Icicles of tears dripping down my cheek flooded my room when I watched the video.

The video in which a member of the Ghana armed forces was gruesomely and unjustly murdered in cold blood. A friend told me about the trending video and the need to look at how citizens of a 60 years old country in a thriving democracy can be lawless and draconian. I told him I was haemo-phobic but he kept insisting with persuasions. In the end, I did. In fact, the first time my eyes became non haemophobic. I regretted watching!

Residents of Denkyira-Obuasi in the central Region top the headlines of newspapers and several online news portals. They claimed to have been victims of several robbery incidents through which they have lost properties and valuables. They thought it wise to fight for themselves if the security of whom they pay with their taxes were not up to the task.

They were annoyed but little did they know that actions carried out in the moment of anger are mostly regrettable and irreversible. With this unbridled appetite of self-defense, they mistakenly ended up in killing an army officer who was the head of a military platoon in the community.

A mob lynched a soldier, captain Maxwell Adams Mahama, who was a military officer with 5th infantry battalions of the Burma camp on the suspicion of an armed robber.

The man is no more alive. He has joined the silent majority on a rather sad note and in a bizarre manner. My instinct tells me to stop looking at the problem and start looking for solutions.

This is a problem and as such must have causes, effects and solutions. Per what I have read, the late captain was not a native of Denkyira-Obuasi and what sent him there? He was there to fight for our future by fighting ‘galamsey’ otherwise known as illegal small scale mining. The root cause of this ‘galamsey’ menace is failed leadership, country with laws and no agencies to enforce them, and institutional ineptitude and inertia.

Because how could a Chinese national read on Wikipedia that Ghana is a country of gold, pick his luggage and airborne or voyage to Ghana and start mining illegally, when there are myriads of state institutions that could have averted that illegality. White elephants! All they know is the extortion of cedis from the ordinary Ghanaian seeking their service.

Failed leadership. Hyenas are taking care of our goats and they eat them when they are hungry but they least care about the wellbeing of the goat owners. Talking-heads sit on radio and threaten the lives of judges. They don’t fear anybody because they belong to a political party.

To even transcend the bounds of decency is the case where some forces known as delta forces ransacked and abruptly brought court proceedings to a halt when they were arraigned before a court in Kumasi just because they belong to a political party with reigning political power.

A maverick member of parliament sit on radio and defend this act and leadership couldn’t say jack. All these acts of lawlessness will embolden many citizens to take the law into their own hands like the way the residents did in Denkyira-Obuasi in the central Region otherwise if acts of precedents were anything to guide present acts, the residents would have reported the captain to the nearby police station in accordance with law.

Failed leadership is synonymous with every government in the fourth republic but Akufo-Addo was passed the baton and the onus lies on him to make Ghana and her citizens feel secure. We should not play political football with security issues.

Too much politics with issues bordering on security and our fragile democracy is near to collapsing! We should pretend we have no foots. How? The IGP should not be appointed by a politician because if the head is rotten, the whole fish is rotten.

The neutrality of the service should be important to us than the name. The constitutional review committee must hear this and revoked some of the powers given the president in our ever deserving reviewable book of laws.

Citizens have lost confidence on the police force as a law enforcement agency.

Police build dockets on cases with no evidences to deserve prosecutorial effort and attention.

They are just unprofessional nowadays and the citizen in Denkyira-Obuasi is a doubting Thomas. Perhaps the residents last captured armed robbers and hand them to police but nothing was done. So in the course of doing citizen vigilante duties, innocent patriot and a true vigilante who swore to defend them and their Ghana was scapegoated. How sad!

The police must win back the trust of the masses and the national commission for civic education(NCCE) should educate the citizens on human rights other than that this dastardly acts of instant justice has just begun and for all you know, your kinsman might be next.

Suspects have been arrested and I pray that no nolle prosequi (refuse to pursue) will be filed for lack of evidence. The rule of law should reign supreme on this matter. May the prayer be answered in this holy month of Ramadan!

The residents have vitiated our gains as the country with respect for human rights and rule of law, internationally. The residents behaved as though their hearts were on hibernation. They acted as if a moratorium was placed on reporting suspects to police. Their primitive thinking has cost us the life of a handsome soldier married to a beautiful wife who later in life will sorrowfully explained to her children why they did not grow up as men knowing their father.

Captain Maxwell Mahama was a true patriot whose patriotism and loyalty to his country demands that he is eulogized!