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Opinions of Monday, 16 November 2015

Columnist: Kwesi Biney

Ghana on the road to self destruction

Opinion Opinion

Ghanaians have over the years touted themselves as the most peace loving people in this world and continue to believe that what happen in other countries can never happen here. We sometimes foolishly believe that God loves us more than any country on earth such that when we decide to kill ourselves, God will not allow that even as we witness other nations tearing themselves apart for various reasons, namely political, religious, economic, cultural, social inequalities and open discrimination.

The birth of this country almost 60 years back saw a sharp divide which led to loss of lives in certain parts of our beloved country. The fourth Republic has seen very unfortunate and needless acts of political violence across the country by the two major political parties in their most irrational ways when we should be doing better than the past.

The first of such political violence took place in 1992 when the convoy of then Chairman Rawlings of the defunct P/NDC was stoned on the Abeka Highways on his way from the Central Region. The NPP was holding a political rally at the place and why the security details of the Head of State at the time chose to use that route when there were other alternatives could not be fathomed. Their presence there perhaps attracted the unjustifiable reaction of the NPP supporters. What did the Police do at the time to send signals to the people that those kinds of behavior would not be tolerated in our body politic?

In early 1993, an NDC man, Alhaji Adam then resident at Kwesimintsim, who was known to me personally, was burnt to death in Takoradi. Some known NPP leaders in Kwesimintsim were arrested and detained for months and the case died as it is with many such cases in Ghana for lack of evidence. Pockets of politically related attacks and assaults were inflicted on people either from different political parties or within the same political parties. The Police did nothing about them.

These acts of political thuggery in whatever form were seen by the Police as part of the political game and nothing was done to punish those engaged in them. In any instance, when anything had been done at all, they were to please the ruling government. Actors of such crimes were further emboldened, and the ‘machomen syndrome’ developed into an industry in our political landscape. People were and are still hired to beat their political opponents, intra and inter and the Police become helpless or decide to be helpless.

One of the biggest blots on the conscience of the Police administration in this country, that is if they know what conscience is all about, is when Security Operative openly opened fire on NPP supporters at Bimbilla during a bye-election, shooting and injuring five young people. But for the presence of Professor Frimpong Boateng and others, these young men would have lost their lives. 1n the early days of 2009, a young NPP man was shot and killed at Sankore in the Brong-Ahafo Region. The person who committed the crime ran away and took shelter in the home of the then Deputy Regional Minister of Brong-Ahafo where the Police smoked him out in Tema. The Minister is still a Member of Parliament and the man who shot his friend dead walks about freely.

In the same 2009, at Old Fadama, popularly known as Agbogbloshie, three young men reported to be NPP supporters were killed by NDC supporters in the full glare of the Police; nobody has been apprehended let alone tried. Political crimes, in the view of the Police are normal. Strangely, when similar political clashes happened in Tamale and an NDC person was killed, some suspects of NPP were arrested and jailed under circumstances that defied the law for almost seven years until an Appellate Court set them free just recently. The Police did well at that time. Yes, another young chap believed to be an NPP person was shot dead at Bolgatanga in 2013 for political reasons, the Police is yet to make any arrests.

In Akwatia, another political mayhem was inflicted upon Dan Botwe, Nana Ohene Ntow and other NPP followers in the presence of the Police just for Baba Jamal to become an MP; nobody was arrested. In Atiwa, during a bye-election, the then Women’s Organiser of the NDC ran her vehicle into some supporters of the NPP and injured a number of them. Many of them were hospitalized for months, the Police never investigated the matter neither did any official of the NDC expressed sympathies with the injured let alone pay them a visit at the hospital even though they are Ghanaians believing in a different political philosophy.

Talensi has also come and gone, with Bolga Bulldogs, Azoka Boys and the likes, well armed for whatever reasons. All the Police could do was to seize some of the arms held by people who have no training and right to possess them. They were not investigated and tried where necessary. We are happy that the Courts are dealing with the Alhaji Adam Mahama’s death and that of Abubakar Saddique in Accra and Kumasi respectively. That is the right way to go, but there are so many other such crimes the Police closed its eyes over. The recent stabbing of the NDC chairman in Amantin-Atebubu, the burning of NDC internal election registers have been ignored by the Police.

There are also examples of party supporters who have vandalized public facilities, NHIS offices, burning of Tender Documents, destruction of party offices because they are not happy with certain acts of party leadership. The Police consider these acts as party issues and not criminal matters that require investigations and prosecutions. In the process, criminals become emboldened in their acts of criminalities.

The recent acts of party people attacking their own colleagues from the same parties in such dastardly and inhuman manner should jolt us into the reality that should there be any major political or ethnic clash in this country, the Rwandas, Sierra Leones and the Liberias would be like children’s play. We are not as peace loving as we think we are, we are not God loving as we believe. Our Security Agencies must rise up and do their work in the collective interest of this nation. There are examples elsewhere of security people armed to the teeth, running away from conflicts with ‘nobody taa won do’.

All civilians need to do is to be armed and trained in the bush for a few days and not even the regular army will be safe. They will kill with glee, they will destroy with passion, they will maim with joy, they will rape with satisfaction, they will loot to make up for what they believe leadership and society have denied them all these years. The Security agencies should not live in self -delusion that they are so well trained and equipped that they can quell any such uprising should that day come. Those nations named above had also believed that their army and security agencies were equipped enough to prevent such fratricidal mayhems, but they did happen.

The major reason young people can kill to please individuals is the fact that they survive on the pittances given them by those individuals. They are unemployed, they are frustrated, hopeless and helpless, their survival is fully or partially subsidized by individuals. They feel indebted to those individuals who pay their wards’ school fees and pick their medical bills and would do anything to please them and continue to survive on their benevolence as it were, as long as they live.

The Police Service has accepted this criminal industry through their actions and inactions by looking the other side when political crimes are committed. I was happy when DCOP Kofi Boakye said a murder has been committed, it is not about politics. Can the Police do same in all instances? We are on a precipe, we need to be careful. Let me take my three tots of mahogany bitters and rest.

By: Kwesi Biney