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Opinions of Monday, 5 June 2017

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

Instant daily killings in Ghana must end

The untimely death of Captain Maxwell Mahama of the Ghana Army, through mob action, is a sad event that will linger on our minds for a long time to come.

The memory of Denkyira Obuase in the Central Region where the heinous crime was committed would not go away soon. While worrying over the negative outcome of the matter, it is also a wakeup call for us, as a nation, to find ways of dealing with the daily occurrence throughout Ghana. Fortunately, a monument would be built in the image and name of the fallen hero to serve as a lasting reminder to all.

The family members of the late captain, the former presidents Rawlings and Mahama have given advise to Ghanaians to desist from politicizing the issue even after Mr. Asiedu Nketiah of the National Democratic Congress has wrongly ‘fired a shot’ at the President Nana Akufo Addo for being responsible for the mishap.

The hullabaloo on this blame game has died down, thanks be to God. All those opportunists who wish to ascribe politics and spiritualism to the late captain’s death are advised to stop the disgraceful acts as that would not yield good dividends for the nation and its people.

Many Ghanaians except a minute few, seem to have heeded to this advice to stay away from controversy of the situation, while others are worried about the painful act and wish to help find a way out of it.

A cursory look at the current state of affairs is that, killings through mob actions have been with us for quite some time now, even as we are termed one of the most hospitable people the world over. Of late there are chronicles of many people dying daily in the hands of people who suspect them of committing one crime or another or as ‘wizards’ or ‘witches’.

That connotes backwardness that must be stopped eh? In fact, a prominent personality such as Professor Kenneth Attafuah, head of National Identification Authority has once revealed that he was nearly lynched by a mob who mistook him for a suspect at Adabraka but managed to escape through the timely intervention of a good Samaritan.

Apart from him, DSP Afiah Tengey the Police Spokesperson in Accra also narrated how she escaped from mob attack in Tamale for wearing an ‘offensive dress’. She was also saved by a kind hearted man who run away with her in a taxi cab.

This means that everyone is at risk of being lynched at any given time. God save us. The list of those who have gone through this horrendous experience is endless. Professor Ataffuah who is a Human Rights Lawyer and Criminologist, consider what happened to late captain Mahama and others as uncalled for and wicked, saying that the behavior of those who killed Captain Mahama reflects the wicked and unforgiving nature of us people.

One other reason people resort to mob action on suspects is that they seem to lack trust in criminal justice system in Ghana these days. But Ghanaians must reconsider our stand on the dangerous trend. Let us consider that we are first and foremost Ghanaians with the background and culture of fear for God and love for people especially strangers. As we were growing up we were made to show love and compassion to our parents and other people especially strangers. We almost always went in defense of strangers in times of conflicts involving them in our localities.
Elderly people who are always revered in our society reminded us to show love to strangers because of the value they attached to humanity. But what has changed? Our elderly men and women including chiefs are constantly advising people to remain on course to show respect and compassion and humility to humanity.

Perhaps what seems to be causing the damage to our people include effect of globalization that leads to us especially our youth, learning weird traits from other parts of the world on social media and foreign films. The streaming into Ghana by citizens of West Africa in the interest of sub regional (ECOWAS) integration is also to blame for the strange behavior of our youth today. In these media posts, the use of guns by burglars and rascals to take innocent lives is rife on various television channels.

Some religious leaders and fetish priests cannot escape from blame. While majority of them preach against iniquities, other religious leaders, fetish priests and quack Mallams are busy tagging others as witches and wizards who are responsible for the problems other church members and their families are going through. Some gullible church members take advantage of this wrong teachings to attack innocent people. We need to work on this as a nation.

As a people we have a lot to do to reverse the current trend in Ghana. Our government through National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) must engage our churches and schools to intensify education on morality in communities. Through a national program that involves chiefs and opinion leaders, children and youth must be made to appreciate the need to value human life just as they learn from their homes churches and mosques.

Apart from this we ought to openly get people young and old to appreciate the danger in taking human lives by driving home to them that if they kill people wrongly they are in danger of being killed.