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Opinions of Friday, 9 June 2017

Columnist: Seth J. Bokpe

Major Maxwell Adam Mahama: A life cut short

Waves of anger, horror, tears, grief, pain, anxiety are but a few emotions that have characterised the mourning of the grisly murder of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama.

As grief stricken mourners gather today at the forecourt of the State House to bid farewell to the young military officer who was the commander of the military detachment to protect a mining concession in Diaso in the Upper Denkyira East District in the Central Region, many believe his death should galvanise the nation against the evils of illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey.

Young, vibrant and destined for greatness in the Ghana Armed Forces, Major Mahama’s murder has rallied the nation together not just against the fight against galamsey but an open discourse about mob action.

Others also hold the view that the sad episode should awaken the nation’s consciousness against what has been known as mob justice but in reality, mob injustice.

Described as humble, God-fearing and polite to a fault, his death has captured the minds and hearts of many Ghanaians with the outpouring of grief comparable to the shock that gripped the nation on the demise of the late President J.E.A Mills.

A fearless lover of animals and a Chelsea supporter, if the outpouring of grief on his Facebook page is anything to go by, then there may not be a walking space today in the State House.

Childhood memories

His childhood friend at the Akosombo International School, Mrs Esinam Osei, walked the Daily Graphic through memories of the young man who had the opportunity to use his gun on his assailants but did not do so.

The two, together with others, grew up in Akosombo in the same neighbourhood and attended the Akosombo International School.

Mrs Osei, who is a producer at the Multimedia Group, said she spoke to the late military officer on May 25, 2017 before his horrifying lynching, and that Major Mahama had been snatched away from his family and friends in the most gruesome way.

“If we, his friends, are feeling this way, imagine what his wife and family members are going through,”she said.

In an emotional tone, Mrs Osei described the late Major Mahama as very intelligent and someone who always had a depth of knowledge and perspective on local and world politics and religion that others grossed over.

“He had such zeal for knowledge. I was not surprised he joined the Ghana Army. He was happy to be contributing his quota to the fight against galamsey,” she added.

He said the late military officer was an inspirational character who made her keep her tempo for her start up business alive by pushing her to take the risk.

A known consummate and versatile athlete with appetite for almost every sports, he was in his school’s gymnastics team and passionate about hunting later in life.

“He was an outdoor person who was extremely good at swimming. He was someone who believed that nothing was unsurmountable if he put his mind to it. He did not lord it over others.

“He was everybody’s friend and willing to help. He was simply a problem solver,” she added.

The romantic side

Mrs Osei recalled the deep love Major Mahama had for his wife, Barbara — a romantic side the military officer acknowledged on his Facebook page on November 2, 2014.

He wrote “My greatest achievement in life will always be my wife, Barbara. On my 20 something birthday, I was content with my achievement. The kindness I’ve shown to the needy since Barbara came into my life surpasses all that I did before. Because she showed me the essence of kindness. I realised that she was a student who gave more to beggars than I did as a worker.

“I found a lady who actually believed that God will provide and He truly does when you believe. I remember when we had not yet succeeded in raising money for her Masters, yet she took GP? 200 to buy medicine for a total stranger she met during evangelism at the 37 Military Hospital.

“Another lady she met at 37 Military Hospital but was admitted at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital because she was terminally ill called her at night complaining that the hospital food was bad and she would prefer Milo. Barbara made us buy provisions that very night, made a doctor friend help her see the lady that night and she had her Milo to drink.

“The lady passed away a week or two after. Her sister called to inform Barbara. But I am sure she gave the lady hope that there was something still good on earth. This is just a bit of the lady I have in my life. She didn’t bring money into my life, but she brought love, prayer, kindness and peace into my life. My life is very very much on course, with Jayden as the icing on the cake. Thank you very much, Barbara. Because of you, me too, I am somebody. I love you so much Barbara. I need you paaaaaaa,” he wrote.


If he was romantic and cared deeply about his wife, it did not start after marriage.

Ms Cecilia Owusu, who recalled how she had met Major Mahama after their days in Akosombo said when they met “we hugged and he quickly introduced me to the young lady Barbara (now his wife). After reminiscing our youthful experiences in Akosombo, I pulled him further from Barbara and asked who the young lady was…

“He told me about his intention to marry the lady and how much he loved her. I was happy for him and shared in his joy. I encouraged him and told him it was a laudable idea but he was worried about how expensive weddings were so quickly we had a plan on how to cut down the cost. (This secret the two of us kept). Our plan worked and they finally got married!

“He told me he would let Barbara do her Masters before him (that I got surprised!) In my heart I said this is a great man with a selfless soul!

“He was excited about his marriage to Barbara! He was excited about their pregnancy! He was excited about their birth (that was Jayden)! Whenever we spoke, he will tell me of all the lovely things and plans he had for his family. Never a dull moment with Max…. He made sure of that!” She recalled.

Good deeds

Another schoolmate of the late Major Mahama, Dr Ebenezer Laryea, a lecturer in Law at the University of Northampton in the United Kingdom, also shared his fondest memory.

“My fondest memories of Major Mahama are that of a decent man doing decent things. Maxwell made friends by doing good to others, not by receiving from them. It was almost always about what he could give, and very much less about what he could get.

I will remember him most for his thirst for knowledge, intellectual curiosity and his unwavering belief that the country he loved and served could perhaps, one day, match the hopes and dreams he carried in his heart for it,” Dr Laryea said.

Such was his concern for security in the country that in 2015 he approached the Deputy News Editor of the Daily Graphic, Mr Albert Salia, to write a column on security.

While dirges pour out for the young military officer as he is being lowered into the grave, it would mark the sun setting on a rising career but many would want his name immortalised as a victim of mob injustice.