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Tue, Aug

What’s our role as individuals in ending mob injustice?

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since the tragic demise of Major Maxwell Adams Mahama at the hands of some hoodlums at Denkyira-Obuasi.

Yesterday was exactly a week since his death threw the nation into a state of mourning with everybody asking: why?

Ghana has been so ridiculed in the comity of nations because of the barbaric behaviour of some of our compatriots.

Thankfully, the police are on the heels of the perpetrators and more than thirty already in police custody.

There is nothing to be enthused about the circumstances under which Major Mahama met his untimely death. No doubt every Ghanaian has expressed horror and outrage over the uncivilised behaviour and the use of what we prefer to call ‘mob injustice’ to settle scores.

It appears that Ghana has fallen into public opprobrium because of our lack of understanding of justice in our part of the world.

Unfortunately, many think that the only way to seek redress in our society is when we take the law into our own hands or adopt the posture that might is right. But these are acts of cowardice that come from bullies and timids.

An unfolding paradox is the fact that while we condemn mob injustice, we, in that same vein, call for instant justice to be meted out to the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

Some have said that we don’t need to waste time in trying them and that their actions call for immediate firing squad or imprisonment without going through the due process of law.

Others have also suggested that Denkyira-Obuasi should be razed to ground zero.

Since we raised issues with the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), some of their officials have not been too comfortable with our position. But we have no regret in taking that position because it appears to us that civic education and citizens’ obligations are at their lowest ebb.

Some years ago, civic education was one of the subjects taught in basic and second cycle schools. We believe the managers of the educational system at the time felt that the best way to form the characters of responsible citizens was to educate them on their rights and responsibilities.

The system at the time never spared the opportunity to educate people on the consequences of their actions, and law enforcement was never sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.

Also, leadership was not limited to the political elite but devolved down to the local level where chiefs had the authority to ensure that people in a particular community respected the rules of engagement.

It was not only the statutes that were enforced; traditional norms and values and even taboos were respected because sanctions were not only punitive and retributive but also reformative.

The Daily Graphic thinks that as a country, Major Mahama’s death should not be in vain but should set us again on the path of societal values and norms.

The situation where vices and other negative activities are accorded pride of place in our society should give way to respect for authority and the laws of the land.

Never again should anybody raise a finger against any person suspected to be in breach of the law.

The Daily Graphic believes that the law enforcement agencies are better equipped to handle such cases and only they should determine the fate of law breakers.