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Opinions of Monday, 16 August 2004

Columnist: Akosah-Sarpong, Kofi

Hackman Must Go !

The story by The Lens about Ghana?s Internal Affairs Minister, Hackman Owusu Agyeman, ordering his police bodyguard to beat his domestic maid for allegedly stealing a ring from a member of his household, and carried by ghanaweb.com (Crime & Punishment of Thursday, 12 August 2004), calls fully for critical discussions by Ghanaians in their democratic and developmental journey.

Pictures of the maid, Ms. Mavis De-Graft Turkson, 23, looking haggard and unconscious is not only disheartening and inhuman but reveal the thought of most African ?Big Men??disregardful of human rights, disruption of African cultural values, no sense of history, mindless, arrogant, disrespectful, overly weak, insensitive to pain and suffering, and no regard for law and order, a situation responsible for most of the crises that Ghana and West Africa have seen and are still experiencing today.

The arrogance and disregard which Hackman demonstrated in treating his maid like a slave, or more appropriately like a dog, and with no regard for human rights is reminiscent of one of the reasons muted by General Kutu Acheampong and his cohorts in toppling Prime Minister Dr. Kofi Busia and his regime in 1972, a government of which Hackman and his party, the National Patriotic Party (NPP), are offshoot or originated from. The prevailing view making the rounds prior to the overthrow of the Busia regime was that the leading party bigwigs were arrogant and disrespectful. In this context, Hackman?s despicable and ?primitive? behaviour is a security risk since it fires images of a government arrogant, disrespectful and has no regard for law and order. More seriously, Hackman, known widely as a man who ?talks shit,? an indication of a man who has no respect and regard for decency, should know that as Internal Affairs Minister he is the main point person for law and order not only for the Kuffour administration but Ghanaians in general.

In this sense, Hackman, who holds a degree in agriculture science from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, actions should reflect a high sense of law and order, respect for Ghanaian values, and not a demonstration of African ?Big Mannism,? a condition where people less in the social ladder are treated with scorn. Part of the reason for this situation is what anthropologist call gerontology, rule by elders, no matter the attitude or demeanour of the Big Man. And not able to balance their traditional African values with modern governance values, most African Big Men who find themselves in government become confused when confronted with problems and set the stage for crises as Hackman did. Decency and civility demand that Hackman should have reported the theft of the ring to the police for investigations and not subject the poor girl to inhuman treatment. What about if the girl were to be Hackman?s daughter, would Hackman have treated her like he did to Ms. Tuckson?

What is disheartening is Hackman, revealing his disregard for law and order, going to the Airport Police Station to make sure that Ms. Tuckson is in detention despite her deplorable state of condition. Hackman, in his deeper contempt for law and order, questioned the police for invoking the law in sending Ms. Tuckson to hospital for medical treatment. And this is a man whose ministerial portfolio includes the Ghana Police Service. It is unfortunate that Hackman is insensitive to Ghanaian public criticism of the police as an outfit that can easily be used by the Big Men any time to suit their whims and caprices. Hackman himself is soiling the name of a department he is responsible. Hackman is partly responsible for public disrespect and suspicion of the police. Hackman actions reveals that he has no respect for the police and ironically thinks the police has no respect for him by legally sending Ms. Tuckson to hospital. The district police boss at the Airport Police Station should have arrested Hackman and order the arrest of his police bodyguard who did the inhuman beating of Ms. Tuckson. Short of this, opposition political parties, human rights organization, women organizations and other civil libertarian outfits should take up the case of Ms. Tuckson. They should file multiple legal cases against Hackman and his police bodyguard and demand his resignation or short of that his firing by President Kuffour.

President John Kuffour in line with his avowed statements of accountability should set up a probe into the conduct of Hackman and if found guilty for gross misconduct should be fired. I suggest Hackman resigns as Internal Affairs Minister. He is not fit for the post both morally and intellectually


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