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Crime protected by law

BY: Enimil Ashon

I have been struggling for a word for the events in Parliament on January 6 and 7. It was not merely a lack of leadership; it was a display of leaderlessness. The former is failure of leaders to show leadership; the latter is absence of leaders. I didn’t see leaders in Parliament.

I saw educated men and women, totally not disciplined, unwilling to submit to rules and laws because they are used to commanding and not obeying. It was evident: merely because they have degrees in and practice Law, Medicine and Engineering, and are most often in suit, they want to lead where they themselves need to be led, in human wisdom and conduct.

I saw adults who were adolescents inside. For both sides, it was not about Ghana: the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gave in without much fight because they needed to get the President sworn in at all costs and they knew that without the election of the Speaker, there would be no Presidential inauguration. The National Democratic Congress (NDC) wanted, at all costs, to show the world that they were seated on the right side of the Speaker — the Majority.

Brawl

MPs in a brawl, even fisticuffs, is not new. In fact, in Ukraine, in 2013, the red hot blows involved the Majority Leader in Parliament, and in Nigeria, also in 2013, the brawl prominently featured a lady.

Within two weeks, America lost its centuries old credential as the icon of democracy because Donald Trump convinced his 70 million-plus supporters that he won the last election.

That is the danger of demagoguery. Trump’s supporters believe his tweets and they are ready to burn down America for him. Curiously, not one of them is asking him for evidence of the fraud and rigging: they don’t even want to know.

That is my problem. Unless God cools heads for us in Ghana, we shall be like America’s last one month under Trump.

Just pause to think, dear reader. How did it all start? The genesis of America’s degeneration into anarchy in the last two weeks pre-dates the actual election, or declaration of results. For almost a year, Trump had a field day tweeting his fantasies of a rigged election.

That is why I insist that in order for peace in Ghana to be for all time, the Mahama/NDC election petition must be allowed to run its course.

The events of last January 6 and 7 in Ghana’s Parliament had their best and worst scenarios. Was your heart not warmed by the sight of NDC MPs in a stand-off with the invading armed military? As the MPs stood their ground and sang, “and help us to resist oppressor’s rule” (a line from the national anthem), I thought, what a beautiful sight!

Disagree

You may disagree, but from where I sat watching the proceedings on live television, the ugliest scene was not the most memorable. It was not Carlos Ahenkora’s display of bravado. It was Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak kicking the ballot box and John Jinapor kicking the ballot booth, two scenes whose ugliness was eclipsed by the Tema West MP’s moments of ignominy.

If the barbarism of January 6 and 7 must not be repeated, those three personalities (add Ibrahim Murtala Muhammed, MP for Tamale Central) must not be left off the hook. If Speakers of Parliament have power to suspend Members, that action must start with these four. It was the nation’s refusal to punish Hawa Koomson for the July 21, 2020 shooting incident at a Kasoa registration centre that emboldened the repeat of a gun shot in the same constituency on December 7. I call it crime protected by law.

Intelligence

And lest I forget, the Police Commander responsible for the Kasoa area must not be allowed to take the intelligence and tolerance of Ghanaians for granted. Asked recently in a radio interview why the Hawa Koomson case had delayed, his answer was that “cases like that take a long time”.

That’s an insult. Even KG toddlers know that investigations take time, but this is a case in which the suspect herself announced to the world that she fired the gun. I am not thirsting after her blood; nor am I a sadist, but I believe that the only way to reduce, if not stop violence or lawlessness, is to make impunity unattractive, especially for people who make the laws.

Dear reader, have you wondered why in spite of all the natural resources, all the money we pump into elections, Ghana has run for 60-plus years but remains on the same spot? It flouts the logic of human reasoning.

I found the answer last January 6/7: between democracy and persistent poverty, there are several causal connections. One of them is crime protected by law.