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Opinions of Friday, 16 October 2015

Columnist: Damptey, Daniel Danquah

The reenactment

You are not watching a movie; neither are you watching a play by inexperienced actors and actresses. What you saw on Wednesday, 16th of September was not meant for the human eye. It was a day, the Ghana Police threw away all caution to the wind and “battled” an unarmed civil resistant movement with all the sophisticated weapons ever manufactured in the theatre of warfare and shipped to backward African countries like Ghana. Name them… They even included “koboko”. But are we animals to be whipped with horsewhips? You see how callous and depraved the Ghanaian Police have become

The Police in most African Countries have arrogated to themselves powers they do not possess. They think and feel that because we have used our hard earned money to buy arms and ammunition for them, they have absolute right to decide on everything that affects us including even when to have conjugal rights with one’s spouse.

To illustrate the point I am making, let facts be supplied a candid world.

The 28 February Shooting Incident: This was the mother of all killings and a day of shame in the Gold Coast. On that day, the Colonial Police killed Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe and Private Odartey. Their crime, if I may ask? They had the misfortune to have found themselves in the vanguard of unarmed ex-servicemen on a protest march to present a petition to the then Governor General. They were intercepted by a contingent of armed Policemen, led by a British Supt. Colin Imray who personally fired his pistol on the ex-servicemen, killing three of them instantly

The Sharpeville Massacre: This happened on 21st March, 1960 at the Police Station in the South African township of Sharpeville in Transvaal. The people were protesting against the Pass Laws which were intended to control and direct movement and employment. About ten thousand people who had converged at the local police station in Sharpeville dared the Police to arrest them for not carrying their pass books. There were less than 20 policemen at the station. The crowd grew to over twenty thousand, and about 13O Police re-enforcement was to disperse it. Batons could not repel the crowd’s advance. Tear Gas also proved ineffective. They then opened fire on the protestors, killing 69 (including 8 women and 10 children) I80 others were injured.

Official Account of the South African Police: At least, the South African Police were a little bit honest to admit their fault when the official report stated that young and inexperienced Police officers panicked and opened fire which simultaneously set off the chain re-action which resulted in casualties. This is in sharp contrast with that of their Ghanaian counterpart who arrogantly told the entire nation that the Police did what was right and that they owed nobody any apology for the uncouth, beastly, and ungodly behavior they exhibited which led to the loss of an eye by one of the protesters.

The Tiananmen Massacre: This is also referred to as the June 4, incident or 1989 Democratic Movement. The protest was triggered by the death under bizarre circumstances of former Communist Party General Secretary, Hu Haobanga, a liberal reformer who lost out in a power struggle with hardliners of the party. The circumstances of his death are similar to that of late President Atta Mills.
University students gathered in Tiananmen Square to mourn his death. In less than one week, the protest had spread to more than 400 cities. On 3rd and 4th June, troops with assault rifles and tanks inflicted heavy casualties on unarmed civilians who attempted to block military advance towards Tiananmen Square which the students had occupied for the last 7 weeks. Thousand of unarmed civilians, mostly students were massacred. This came to be known as the June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre.

I make bold to state categorically that the combination of the three incidents enumerated above pale into insignificance when compared with the recent beastly and brutish behavior exhibited by men and officers of the Ghana Police Service.

The Police men who were detailed to ensure sanity during the demonstration behaved like animals. When I saw about eight policemen chasing one unarmed protester who was running for dear life, I knew something was wrong with the leadership of our Police. I realized how beastly and dangerous the Police in the country had become. I asked myself if we had a Police Force or Service. Just because our leaders have the instrument of coercion at their disposal should not make them turn blind eye to acts of depravity perpetuated by these forces of attrition.

Remember the fate of President Ceausescu: Ceausescu was President of Romania then a Satellite of USSR. The people embarked on massive protests to press home their demand for better living conditions. The President, goaded on by his wife ordered the “Gestapo” to open fire on the protesters. The fatwa was obeyed, but the perpetrators later unleashed their anger on the President and his wife.

Yes, the Police should purge themselves of the contempt: We have not forgotten the role the Police played in the disappearance of cocaine exhibits kept in their custody. During NPP’s time, cocaine exhibit kept under lock and key at their Headquarters mysteriously turned into “kokonte”. Again, cocaine in Police custody under the NDC also disappeared by transforming itself into Baking Powder. When the new Pharaoh who does not know Joseph emerges, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The Police should beware of the Ides of March: If the Police are not aware of the fate that befalls detractors, I will advise them to go into the archives or read books on revolutions. I will also advise them to remember the fate of those soldiers and policemen who extorted monies from the citizens or those who carried out unwarranted executions and punishments as means of settling personal scores during the AFRC days and the PNDC days. The fate of such people is documented on the minds of the people. Let the ignorant and the uninformed go on a pilgrimage to Nsawam and see things and hear stories of what happened to those who impersonated and arrogated to themselves powers they did not have.
Again, I will advise the police to watch the video of the Police woman who shot one of the demonstrators on a protest march in Bujumbura, Burundi. She was nearly torn info pieces by the rampaging demonstrators

Kwame Nkrumah’s axiom: Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s First President wrote that: ”when a change is too long delayed, violence erupts here and thereafter; not that man wills it, but the past accumulated grievances erupt with a volcanic fury”. The Police seem to have forgotten that during the agitation for independence in most African countries it was the police which were used by the colonial powers to suppress such agitations. There is the need for the Police to purge themselves of such contempt.

How long do we have to look on helplessly as our policemen go on rampage like a bull in china’s shop molesting, maiming and killing innocent citizens? Wednesday, the 15th of September will be observed as a black day in the life of the protestors. The demonstrators really saw hell. It was their Armageddon as prophesied in the Holy Bible. The Police sprayed pepper into their eyes, used their truncheons on them, sprayed hot water on them, fondled the breasts of women they claimed to have arrested, tear gassed them, beat them with the butt of their guns, whipped them with “kobokos”, kicked them, fired rubber bullets and finally used live ammunition on the helpless and unarmed civilians.
And people are keeping quiet and blaming the demonstrators? What is National Security saying about this? What about the National House of Chiefs? They have kept mum. It is like the “dzi wo fie asem” mantra of late President John Evans Atta Mills.
Hear my Nigerian friend, Dr Chika Onyeani postulate an axiom. He says that “if you have a madman in the house and he starts shouting ‘fire! fire!” and begins to run away. You had better pay attention because the madman knows that a fire could scorch him as well’.

You might regard Citizen Daniel Danquah Damptey as the mad man in the house. When the late President Mills was terminally ill, I wrote two articles titled “The President is sick” and “where is the President?” The powers that be ridiculed me and called me unprintable names. We all saw the repercussions.

I am not a diehard pessimist. I sincerely believe that most government appointees in discussing the issue of Police brutality on the day of the demonstration have appeared incoherent and insincere. The truth of the matter is that the Police have become a willing tool in the hands of the ruling government to be used against its political opponents. But I would like to stress that the Ghanaian citizenry will resist any impunity by the Police to cow them into submission. You just mark my words.
The barbarism and beastly behavior exhibited by the rank and file of the Ghana Police Service deserve total condemnation. Whoever attempts to justify it under any circumstance doesn’t deserve to be called a child of God. Such a person deserves to be incarcerated at a place which is reserved for mad people.
It appears the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission has short memory or she has chosen to disingenuous. Whatever it is, her stance will not endear him to Ghanaians, for History will judge her harshly when the record is written. Let her not adopt the posture of Nero, the Mad Emperor of Rome who chose to play the fiddle whilst Rome was burning. Let us interrogate the evidence submitted by the NPP on the bloated Register dispassionately, and if there is any truth in the matter, let us do the proper thing. If there are no merits in them, we discard them. Merely saying the evidence lacks merit will only postpone the evil day and when that day comes, no amount of coercion will calm frayed nerves and troubled waters.

Asiedu Nketiah who is today singing discordant tunes led a group of miscreants to picket at the premises of the Electoral Commission before the results of the 2008 Presidential were released. He was adorned in his “batakari” and other war accoutrements. And that was without any permit! The Police did nothing to deter them and the Heavens did not fall!

What did the police want to tell us by their shameless act of running after helpless and unarmed civilians with their truncheons and guns? What bravery did they exhibit when they were confronted by the ruthless Alogboshie youth who went about destroying anything that came their way? Didn’t the Police run for cover? And that ruthless mob at Alogboshie did not have a permit! What message are the Police sending to us? That we should take the law into our hands and confront them headlong?
CJA held a massive demonstration without Permit: On Saturday, 12th January, 2008, CJA led by Kwesi Pratt, Bernard Monah and Omane Boamah defied a Circuit Court injunction and held “Birkiti (Dagbani) which meant: “They are killing us” demonstration in Tamale.

The Nigerian Police killed Chuba Okadigbo: On Thursday September 25, 2003, Chuba Okadigbo, master of political intrigues and Vice Presidential Aspirant of the All Nigeria’s People Party (ANPP) with current President Retired General Mohamadu Buhari as its Presidential Candidate died in Abuja, a day after Federal Police had sprayed tear gas to disperse the teeming supporters of the ANPP protesting against the declaration of Obasanjo as President in Kano. The impact of the offensive liquid on the colourful and flamboyant ANPP leader led to his untimely death. Why do the police have to adopt such crude methods of using tear gas and then chasing people who were running from the effect of the poisonous substance? This is how dangerous the Police in backward countries like Ghana and Nigeria could be.

The culprits should be dealt with decisively: Government should fish out the culprits and deal with them in accordance with the laws of the country. The identities of the policemen in the video footings and their officers could easily be ascertained so as to mete out appropriate sanctions on them. The soldiers who tortured Issa Mobilla were identified, arrested and “tried”. But late President Mills and his successor John Dramani Mahama secretly allowed one of the culprits to escape from the country. And now, the Police have maimed many people, some have broken limbs and waist which will make it impossible to discharge their conjugal responsibilities to their spouses. What remedies do such people have? And to make matters worse, Justice Adzakuma has lost the use of an eye!
Justice Boma Diepreye is a “Daniel come to judgment”: He set the record straight when he sentenced three Nigerian Policemen to death for killing two innocent citizens by “accident”. Hear Justice Diepreye delivering his judgment: “justice is a balancing act and the only way for a balanced justice in this case is to make the accused persons face the consequences of their reckless act and hope that this will serve as a deterrent to those who may want to emulate their terrible example. It will serve as a deterrent to other uniformed men ‘whose stock in trade is to kill innocent citizens under the guise of accidental discharge”.

When one considers the arrogance, the impunity, the disdain, the temerity, the callousness, lack of concern for fellow human beings and the tone with which the Head of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Ghana Police Service, DCOP Rev. David Nenyi Ampah BenninPolice and CPO Kudabor the leader of the Police detachment who led the assault on the demonstrators spoke about the protesters, the only conclusion one can to come to is that, the Police have lost their sense of humanity and don’t have to live amongst civilized society. And this spokes person is an Ordained Minister in one of the Christian denominations!! Our human Society is too decent for the likes of Reverend David Nenyi Ampah Benin and the rest of “charlatans masquerading as patriotic policemen serving their country. There is the need to carry out a surgical operation in the Ghanaian Police Service to separate the sheep from the wolves so that men like DCOP Rev David Nenyi Ampah Benin, CPO Kudabor and Dr Omane Boamah should be made to go and live amongst apes, crocodiles, wolves, tigers and lions where the strong prey upon their weaker ones.

Yes, this is my verdict!
Daniel Danquah Damptey ( 0243715297.