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Opinions of Sunday, 4 June 2006

Columnist: Asante Nkai

Why do we go to school?

Today I read with utmost disgust an article on Ghanaweb where a 5-month baby spent the night in a police cells.(

Well better said, the baby happened to be placed in the cells because the mother was arrested in a theft related issue.

A powerful bait for the police to enrich themselves is to place suspects behind cells. Sadly enough, the law gives them the power.

Just visit any of the police stations in the country and you will see families & relations lined up to beg the ?inspector? with money to seek bail for their relatives.

Quite recently, a judge in Central Region convicted some persons for alleging that the police were corrupt and took bribes by the roadside.

Hon. Judge, who in Ghana doesn?t know that the police in Ghana have a permanent acquired syndrome of taking bribes on our roads? I have even learnt that it is even an honor to be placed by the roadside and that they even make ?sales? on return to the office.

As much as we want the police to enforce the laws of our dear country, we expect them to use their brains and the powers conferred onto them in their actions.

It beats my mind to understand why unarmed occupants of a taxi who have not even threatened the police are sprayed with bullets like chicken. We await the findings of the police.

Sadly enough my article does not stop only by the police, it extends to other institutions.

Last year, a friend who had returned to Ghana to set up business had a hectic time opening an account in Ghana. (Barclays Bank) As part of the requirements to open the account, he needed to find someone who had saved with the bank for a minimum of 12 months.

The only friend he knew had saved for 11 months 21 days.

The bank refused saying 12 months was 12 months. How stupid. Just 9 days was so much a risk! Yet we wanted investors.

He finally had to call someone he never knew from the street to help in opening the account. Maybe the bank preferred these lies.

Another friend recounts trying to open a business account at Ghana Commercial Bank, despite all the letters from the Registrar of Companies etc, he was asked to get a letter from an auditor stating that he was known to him.

My point here is that, it is quite pitiful to enter an institution and find a scholar in a nice suit acting like an outdated robot or moron just because his boss has asked him to be so. A police from the MTTU (Motor Traffic Unit) at Mallam junction, a suburb in Accra directing traffic refused to interfere in a quarrel between two motorists who had had an accident just in his presence simply because he was asked to direct traffic and not solve accident scenes. Can?t you use your brains?

Don?t get me wrong, I am not saying you should unilaterally disobey instructions from your employers, my point is that, use your brains! Were the woman and her baby going to be a serious risk to society if bail was granted to them immediately upon arrest and interrogation?

What was the police thinking off when they decided to detain the woman and the baby? Had they collected bribe from the complainant in exchange of showing the woman where ?power lies??

I strongly think this is a clear abuse of the powers conferred to the police. I must encourage any judge who trials this case to dismiss it out rightly by reasons that the damage and suffer caused this woman is enough punishment for the alleged crime committed even if it proven that she did steal the cassava. People use the police, as an intimidating tool and this must be stopped. The authorities must bow down their heads in shame should they fail to investigate this incident and punish accordingly.

Sometimes, people do politicize these incidents, a habit I condemn, however on a second thought, you get so disappointed that your blame for such continuous incidents lands on the laps of the highest person in authority.

These incidents do not scare only Ghanaians but others who read our news. Last time, I saw a documentary on National Geographic of a wild cat saving the life of a newly born antelope from fellow angry cats.

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