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Opinions of Saturday, 28 August 2004

Columnist: Abdul-Rahman

Is the Commission for Human Rights and Administration Justice dead?

Recently there are new paper reports that Ghana's minister of Interior, Mr Hackman Owusu Agymang had ordered his personal gaurd to physically abuse a poor girl who works in his house as a help. So serious was the poor girls injury that the police at the Madina statation had to discharge the girl to receive medical attention. Yet no one, including Ghana's Commission for Human seem to care about the clear case of human rights violation that was meted on the poor girl and her family by Mr. Hackman and his gaurders.

What is makes this case even serious is the fact the whole incident occured with the orders of Mr. Hackman, the Country's Minister of Interior. Whose duty it is to ensure that every person's right is respected under the laws of the country. Not only did Mr. Hackman ordered his gaurd and driver to bit up and physically molest an innocent girl, but he also ordered them to conduct a search on private residence of the girls parents without any recorse to the law. No one including the president has the right to caurse a searched of private residences of people without police involvement. Clearly, Mr Hackman is in voilation of the law.

I therefore comend the lens newspaper for making is matter public, contrary to what the Minister had wished. But what borders me is the silience of certain institutions including the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, a constitutionally mandated body to investigate issues of human right over the whole saga. In my candid opion, the CHRAJ, has been overly linient to the Kuffour Administration. There were several other issues that one would have expect the commission to take up and investigate. But the commission never did so.

Many people, including some in the commission seem to think that because of NPP's rhetorics of democracy and human rights certain actions of the government reported in the media are not accurate. But the Hackman affair and several others have demonstrated clearly that if the NPP is not checked its human records will and surely it is, becoming worse than the PNDC and other military regimes in Ghana. If Mr. Hackman could ask his gaurds to abuse a poor girl, and be arrogant as if it is ok under the law. Next he will order his gaurd to open fire on innocent citizens.

History has it that if a democratic government is not checked, it is more likely to gradually become authoritian in actions. The case of the infamous Empero Bukasa is a clear testimony of how elected officials could start giving orders for the arrest and abuse of private citizens and gradually graduate into wanton human rights violating regime. I therefore urge the Commission for human Rights and Administration to investigate his incident and make such that the Kuffour government did not turn in to a human rights violating regime.

I will end this piece by quoting Edmond Burke "The truimph of evil is when the right men decide to be silient" and urge our media and other institution to be extra vigilant and critical of certain action of this government.


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