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Opinions of Monday, 4 December 2006

Columnist: Agyepong, Benjamin Opoku

Our MPs And Instant Justice (MOP Action)

If our MPs that are paid with our hard earned tax money think and speak like the way Alfred Agbesi did on matters pertaining to instant justice through mop action, then we have a long way to go as a society or a nation. It is ill conceived to chastise ordinary citizens in society for defending themselves against criminal elements within society when the people they have hired to do that job for them woefully fail to deliver to their expectation.

Instead of decrying mop justice, MPs should consider why about 20 years ago, lynching of criminals was not part of our society, but has now become a common feature of the people’s justice. What is the worth of a parliament if it passes laws without any serious enforcement mechanism? Where is the trust of the police agency if parcels of drugs seized and kept in their laboratory vanish without a trace and bribery is its’ cup of tea? Why should any citizens have confidence in the judicial system that is bought and paid for by the rich in society? And why can’t society collectively punish criminals by eliminating them from society once and for all if the government can not protect the good and law abiding citizens of the society?

I wish Mr. Agbesi did get the opportunity to read some of the comments that were made on the article that appeared on Ghanaweb on Novenber 23rd about his statement on mop action, to learn how Ghanaians eschew and abhors comments like the one he made that aim at achieving nothing but pay lip service to society’s problems.

I need not recount some of the comments here; for the sake of repetition, but it suffice to know that, the people see the failure of government to protect them. Armed robbery which was only a feature of the Nigerian society in the 1970’s was unheard off in Ghana, and no Ghanaian ever thought that could be part of society’s woes in this day and age. The fact now is that it has creped into the fabric of our society and tearing family apart. Traders are robbed of their capital; husbands are killed and wives are rapped by armed robbers whiles children watch helplessly. The government seems to have no antidote to this menace, the police agency seems to be incapable to handle the situation and the few ones that are caught and handed to the justice system spend months and years in the court system and often get out free or get some lighter sentences. In the face of all these, what should the people do? Sit down and fold their arms whiles armed robbers torment them in broad daylight? Hell No!!!!

They have to take matters into their own hands and defend themselves however best they can do it. Growing up in Ghana, I never thought I would ever have to carry a gun to protect myself, but now, anytime I visit Ghana, I keep a license revolver in my car when I travel and at an accessible place when I sleep. All that is done because of fear that armed robbers could attack at anytime, and may have to defend myself against them. This may not be necessary if society was protective of its citizens, and the government is living up to her responsibilities of not only collecting taxes but protecting the tax payers as well. I would wish that the armed robbers perpetrate their trade on the MPs so that they can be on the same page with the masses when it comes to national security and the protection of individual properties. Sometime ago, whiles in school, we used to sing “Ghana my happy home, my happy home, land of rich resources………..” I wonder if we can still sing this song today and feel sincere to ourselves when armed robbery is turning our goodnights into nightmares.

So my piece of advice to our MPs is that, instead of attacking the symptoms and the consequence of a problem, they should rather tackle and solve the problem and the symptom will be no more. Mop justice is consequence of the increasing spate of armed robbery and the inability of the police to trash it, but not a problem in itself. To the extent that the police would be able to nip armed robbery in the bud, mop justice will cease. We all love to see Ghana now peaceful as it used to be when people could walk up the streets with the only fear of pick-pocketing and not being robbed at gun point.

Law-makers must wake up and proactive and not reactionary.
Long live Ghana !!!
Long Live Instant Justice !!!
And death to armed robbers !!!

Benjamin Opoku Agyepong
New York


Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.