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Opinions of Saturday, 13 May 2017

Columnist: Cameron Duodu

Loose ends in the anti-galamsey campaign

Ghanaians have become so cynical these days – and with good reason – that they suspect something is grossly amiss when they don’t immediately see what they think they ought to be seeing.

So, when a friend of mine read the DAILY GUIDE editorial entitled “She Who Must be Obeyed”, she immediately asked me, “What do they know that we don’t know?”

The reason why she asked that is this: In the H Rider Haggard novel, She, in which the term “She \Who Must Be Obeyed” first appears, the heroine, Ayesha, is a very beautiful woman who has been cursed not to die until her dead lover is reincarnated and comes back to see her.

In the meantime, she rules as Queen over an African tribe. She rules them with an iron hand and is able to do this because she has eyes everywhere, Also, her incalculably great age enables her to exert powers brought to her by her knowledge of the lives her subjects.

So when a Chinese “beauty” came on the galamsey scene in Ghana, someone very bright at the DAILY GUIDE connected her attributes to those of “Ayesha” or “She Who Must Be Obeyed.” For if the Chinese “beauty” was not so powerful, how come she – and incredibly, her “double”, were living as free operators in Ghana when:

1. The security services (who must, as a routine measure, keep an eye on all foreigners suspected of illegal activities) had not been able to collect enough evidence that they were importing Chinese men – and women! – into Ghana to help in their galamsey operations?

2. One of the “beauties” was alleged to have set “very dangerous dogs” on the security personnel who once attempted to arrest her. Yet she was not charged with endangering the lives of public officers.

3. One had been previously arrested in relation to guns found on her. It is a serious enough offence to possess arms without lawful authority. But when those arms are in the hands of a foreigner, the offence becomes even more serious. New questions arise: how did the arms get into the country? What happened to the rest of the arms in the consignment that was simultaneously brought into the country?

4. We make a lot of noise when a couple of ex-prisoners who have had the venom beaten out of them at Guantánamo, are brought to live in our midst. But when a woman of unknown origins arrives in Ghana and begins to dangle dangerous dogs and arms in front of our security officials, we don’t move a muscle?

5. Who enabled the “beauties” to enter and operate in Ghana? Did whoever it was sign any guaranteepapers? Is it true that one of the “beauties” has a marriage certificate with the name of a Ghanaian male on it?

6. If it is true, as the media have reported, that a journalist, Mr Week Bamako, had come across obscene photos allegedly organised by the “beauties” and their acolytes to blackmail Ghanaian officials, how come the security authorities have not come across these diabolical instruments of blackmail? Or, are senior police authorities victims of the blackmail game themselves and therefore dare not investigate them?

These are some of the questions that the Minister of the Interior, ought to be asking his top officers. For as I say, the Ghanaian public has become extremely cynical about their police service.

“The police make a song and dance about arrests of dubious characters. And then, the rest is silence. They make the song and dance for two reasons – first, they want to show their political bosses that they are working very hard to end crime or that they want to frighten the alleged culprits so that if the alleged culprits want to “beg” the police to be lenient, the “gifts” of appreciation which they would shower on the police would be “heavy”.

Is this the type of police service we want to have in this country?

It may well be that all this is pure speculation, but the cap fits the police too well for them not to be asked to wear it. The police of all institutions should know that where there is a vacuum of information, rumour-warmongering spreads its wings far and wide over the real facts and that before anyone knows it, the figure one has become ten, and the colour blue has become all the colours of the rainbow.

I am personally aware that it is the habit of the Ghana police to treat information-seekers with absolute contempt. For, in 2010, that is seven good years ago, a 72-year-old woman by the name Amma Hemaa was burnt to death at Tema by people who took her to be a witch. All she had done, no doubt after a severe onset of Alzheimer’s disease, was to enter someone else’s bedroom and try to sleep on a bed she found. She had been on the way to see her son, and as diseased minds often deceive people into believing, she thought she had arrived at her son’s home and had been assigned a nice bed to sleep on.

Under the alleged influence of a pastor, kerosine was poured on this hapless grandmother and she died.

Some people were arrested. They appeared in court a few times. The police outlined a strong case against them. And then the case vanished from the newspapers. As far as I know, I am the only Ghanaian journalist who has persisted in asking the police questions about the case. Where are the culprits? What have the courts decided about their crime?

Silence from the police. Absolute, unbelievable, arrogant silence about a case that had been featured on the front page of the largest daily in Ghana, and had even made it to the columns of foreign newspapers. So, should I be surprised that so often, we hear that the police, or the immigration service, has arrested Chinese galamseyers and we then hear – NOTHING? That’s why we can have a foreign woman come to live in Ghana and be feared as “SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED”.

“Obeyed” by whom for what? Is it the oath of the IGP and the Minister of Interior to the government and people of Ghana, or to rosy-lipped seductresses from elsewhere?

We await answers.