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Opinions of Saturday, 12 May 2018

Columnist: Arthur Kennedy

Kume Preko

May 11th 1995 is a very important day for every Ghanaian who believes in the rule of law and Democratic accountability.
That day, a crowd of citizens, estimated be in the tens of thousands by the BBC, organized by the "Alliance For Progress", were marching to protest the introduction of the Value-Added-Tax when a group of paramilitary/vigilante forces opened fire.

When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, 4 Ghanaians, Ahunu Hongar, Kwabena Asante, Jerry Opey and Richard Amenga, were dead and many more were injured.

Speaking in an interview, a few days later, Nana Akufo-Addo, the spokesperson for the organisers, the Alliance For Progress, regretted that " Ghana is still in the grip of people who have a very, very warped idea of Democratic system of government. ". He was right, then now and forever that it is wrong for peaceful demonstrators to be killed in a democracy.

The killings of Kume Preko echoed those of the judges, Thompson, Kyeremeh Gyan and others under the PNDC.
But these killings were different. They occurred under a constitutional government. These killings are not covered by the transitional provisions.
The guns that killed them did not fire themselves; they were fired.

The assassins did not send themselves; they were sent.

These killings and the absence of justice is a stain on our national conscience. It mocks our constitution and our pretentions to democracy. It makes our motto, "FREEDOM and JUSTICE” a farce.
Some blame the leaders of the Alliance who organized the march for the lack of justice. I blame all of us.

We rationalise our cowardice by resorting to empty phrases like "Fa ma Nyame". Even God does not forgive the unrepentant.
And evil, just like virtue, is timeless.
The Kume Preko victims deserve justice for this crime that occurred in broad daylight. The then NDC government had reason to cover up what happened but the rest of us do not.

The surviving families deserve an official apology and compensation.
They and all our martyrs deserve a memorial so that we can never forget what happened to them in our name.

I can only write but there are others who can act, to right this historic wrong and restore some self-respect to all of us, beginning with the President. As Obama said, "We are the men we have been waiting for." Let them act. At some point, we shall all become the accomplices of the murderers for our silence.

Let there be justice for the victims of Kume Preko. If our motto is "FREEDOM AND JUSTICE” they and we must get justice!
Long live Ghana.

Arthur K