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Opinions of Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Columnist: Bawa, Abdul Razak

Police Force, A Force With No Distance

Isaac Newton, Robert Hooke, Albert Einstein and a host of other fathers of physical science did good jobs in postulating different theories in the field. Amidst all these postulations, my favourite is that of work, which states that work is the multiple of force and distance.

This theory goes to tell us that if one uses all the force in the world, with no distance, no work is done at all. In practical terms this means that the strongest men in the world who lift 2000kg vehicles for about an hour and stand on the same spot have done no work at all. Also, a little child who is given a mortal to carry on his head for two hours on a spot because he did not sweep the house before going to school in the morning has done no work at all.

This theory amazed me when two weeks ago my editor narrated his ordeal at the hands of the Police Service, when they carried out a demolition exercise at ApProtech, and its environs in Adenta, a suburb of Accra.

This was a case of mal-treatment of the citizenry in the name of power, by some overzealous policemen. The reader may find this interesting, but my editor and those innocent citizens did not, because he was a victim of circumstance.

A pack of goons, parading itself as part of Ghana Police, last Friday terrifyingly assaulted a nine-month-old pregnant woman, her sister and mother and inflicted emotional and physical pains on law-abiding residents of Approtech and its environ in Adenta, a suburb of Accra.

The goons, in full combat gear, led by DSP Freeman Kumashie and ASP W. Kpormegbe, assisted by land guards, stormed Approtech around 5:30 am and in a brazen show of power and might, using bulldozers flattened ten houses, rendering not less than 40 people including children, the aged and the sick homeless,

They also destroyed personal belonging worth hundreds of thousands of Ghana Cedis.

The police personnel, who behaved as though they were possessed, claimed they were carrying out a Court order to clear occupants of the ten houses within the Approtech Community. During the exercise, they did not spare anybody who tried to salvage his or her belonging.

One Comfort Cann, 52, was given several left and right slaps in her face, when she tried to pack some of her belongings from her house in the face of a bulldozer, which was moving menacingly towards it to bring it down.

Her cries drew the attention of her 28-year-old daughter, who is in her ninth month of pregnancy. Mary Mensah, temporarily forgetting her condition, dragged herself into her mother’s room.

To her utter surprise, she said, she was kicked in her lower abdomen and legs by a policeman, ordering her on top of his voice to ”get out”!

Mary’s sister, Barbara Mensah 24, was not left out of the assault when DSP Kumashie, spotting her with a mobile phone, charged on her and demanded of her to give him the phone.

”Sensing that I was going to lose my phone, I quickly put it in my pants, thinking that it would be safe there, but was a lie. The leader of the policeman surprisingly reached into my pants forcefully for my mobile phone which, was in between my thighs,” said Barbara, adding ”you what that means”.

According to her, just as she was struggling with DSP Kumashie to keep her phone, one policeman touched her with an implement that sent electrical shocks and shafts of pain through her body, instantly immobilizing her.

She said she denied using the phone to take shots of the senselessness that was going on, and this was confirmed as there were no shots of the ongoing demolition on her phone.

Barbara said she had her fair share of the slaps and kicks from the policeman. The three women, later in the day, reported their ordeal to the Adenta police who gave them medical forms to go to hospital.

The policemen, in spite of their claim to be conducting a legally sanctioned exercise, were very hostile to anybody they thought might be in any way recording their inhumane activities.

This reporter was threatened to be dealt with and his camera seized when he tried to take shots of the demolition. DSP Kumashie dashed aggressively towards him, with his hand raised and ready to strike him if he did not give out the camera as demanded.

”What is the problem with you?” the reporter cried out, ”I am just doing my work as a journalist, what do you have to fear it your activities are legitimate?”

Upon threats that he will let loose his boys on him, this reporter gave the camera to DSP Kumashie. He later removed the chip from it and gave the empty camera back.

All other onlookers of the sordid spectacle of bulldozers bringing down houses and their contents and mixing them into rubbles, dared not bring out their phones; the police were ready to pounce on them.

Within a matter of two hours, DSP Kumashie and his goons by their actions had stunned the Approtech Community and deeply injured their sensibilities.

Meanwhile, the land in question is said to have been bought by one Pastor Kobina Kingdom, owner of Kingdom Church International, and resold to one Alhaji Mohammed to be used for a petrol station in the densely populated locality with the attendant danger its poses to human live and property.

This development comes at a time that government is making efforts to solve the one million housing deficit facing Ghanaians.

It is, therefore, an irony that essential agencies like the police, instituted to protect and ensure the safety of the citizenry, would allow themselves to be influenced to embark on such adventures like supervising the demolition of houses, thereby, displacing their occupants.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Adentan Municipal Authority (Adma) has expressed disgust at the demolition exercise, disclosing that she was not aware of it.

Mr. Ade Coker, the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who upon a distress call came to the area, said government would put an injunction on the entering of the land by the so-called investor.

He said his checks indicated that the land belonged to the State Housing Corporation (SHC) and could not be sold to any individual to inhumanly evict those occupying it without any provision or compensation for them to get another roof on their heads.

Watch out for more on the motivation of DSP Kumashie for carrying out the demolition exercise as if he was possessed by the demon.

This is not to underscore the inability of the police force to make the citizens their friend, but to highlight the directionless use of force by the same. The force has been fantastic in the use of force, but force with no distance is no force at all. I hereby together with my colleague journalists who are also victims of their brutality, using the varying confidence in the voices of Ghanaians that they should be more sensitive to the direction, distance to which their force is applied especially as we approach a crucial elections in December.

The citizenry also do not want to be your enemies but your friend; therefore, you need to be sensitive to us and not hurt us in your course of duty, until we are found guilty. Till then apply your force in a distance (positive direction) that there may be positive work done on the Ghanaian citizens.