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Opinions of Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Columnist: Kofi Thompson

We cannot have mob rule in Ghana

Captain Maxwell Mahama Captain Maxwell Mahama

We cannot and must not have mob rule in Ghana. Ever. Ghana is not a banana republic. We cannot continue like this. Not any more.

The lawlessness in this country must cease forthwith. Those governing Ghana have responsibility and an obligation to end it immediately.

It ought to end with the cowardly murder of Captain Maxwell Mahama - whom we must all regard as a hero: who died fulfilling an assignment ordered by his superiors. Whether that assignment was lawful or illegitimate is beside the point.

The authorities must restore law and order to all those parts of the country where it has broken down in, and ensure that the rule of law actually prevails in the whole of Ghana. Full stop.

This is a civilized nation and those elected to govern it must ensure that there is law and order countrywide at all material times. The seeming breakdown in law order in parts of the country should no longer be tolerated by the security agencies.

The brutal murder yesterday of Captain Maxwell Mahama - of the 5th Battalion of Infrantry based in Accra's Burma Camp - apparently by a mob of locals at Diaso near Denkyira Boase, in the Central Region's Upper Denkyira West District, has cast a pall over the whole nation.

His callous killers, who must be amongst the host community at Diaso near where the troops he was commanding are apparently billeted, must all be apprehended, tried and jailed for committing such a heinous crime.

Since investigations into his brutal murder are ongoing, prudence dictates that one awaits the results of the investations before commenting on this most dastardly of crimes.

The point needs to be made however that whether Captain Mahama was providing security for illegal gold miners from China working deep in the forest reserve at Aminase (as some allege) or not, he was there because he had been ordered into that particular theatre of operations by his superior officers.

Thus he died on active duty whiles on an official assignment. It is obvious that he lost his life whiles serving his country in other words.

This blog commiserates with his loved ones - all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at what must be a very trying time for then. One's heart goes out to his bereaved family, friends and the men and women who were under his command.

One is of the considered view that given the unusual circumstances of his tragic and painful death, he must be promoted to the rank of colonel posthumously, and accorded full military rites at his burial.

Furthermore, flags at all military installations ought to be flown at half mast, and all the men and women of the Ghana Armed Forces must wear black arm bands in his honour, until his burial - for the cowardly attack on Captain Mahama was an attack on the whole of the Ghana Armed Forces. Literally.

Those who now govern our country must understand that the general perception held by many ordinary people across the nation today is that the law and order situation in the country is deteriorating.

That widely-held perception results directly from the impunity that has made so many ruling party activists (such as sundry arrogant Assemblymen up and down Ghana and members of the Delta Force and Invincible Forces of infamy) a law unto themselves.

Those appointed to ensure the safety of the Ghanaian nation-state and the security of the citizenry at large by President Akufo-Addo, owe it to the good people of this country to ensure that ordinary people can go about their lawful business daily, without the fear of being attacked either by muarading bands of armed robbers or lynched by groups of violent thugs. We cannot have mob rule in Ghana. Enough is enough. Haaba