While working outside Ghana many years ago, I was struck by the screaming headlines of murder on the front page of the leading newspaper of that country on a daily basis.
It was like what appeared on the front page of the Daily Graphic on Wednesday, May 8, 2019 reading: “6
Teens beat Headmaster to death.” The headmaster had protested about a group of 18-year-old wee smokers converting his backyard into a public toilet. For protesting, he was beaten to death by these criminals.
Murder with impunity
When I enquired from a top official of that country why killings were so routine, his simple answer was: “General, when human beings know that they can get away with murder, they will commit murder with impunity!”
He lamented that criminals who were arraigned before court returned to the streets a few days later to wreak vengeance on those they believe reported them to the police.
He added that if people knew that they would be killed for committing murder, they would not kill with such reckless abandon.
Ghana News Headlines
For latest news in Ghana, visit Graphic Online news headlines page Ghana news page
Ghanaian legal luminaries pride themselves with having some of the finest laws in the world which other countries come here to learn from. The question is, what is good about fine laws on paper which are not enforced?
Beckham and Toure convicted
The English footballer David Beckham has just been banned for six months for using his mobile phone while driving. A few years ago, the Ivorian football international, Yahya Toure, was banned from driving in England for three years for “drink-driving”.
Can such high-profile footballers in Ghana be arraigned before court and sentenced like happened to Beckham and Toure? Perhaps, I will be unrealistic to expect the police to arrest such celebrities knowing the weight of phone calls which will descend on them for their immediate release.
On a daily basis, I see people speeding while using their mobile phones, sometimes in the full glare of the police. An unbelievable one I saw on the Accra-Tema Motorway was a speeding motorcycle rider overtaking a vehicle with one hand, while using his mobile phone. Road traffic indiscipline has resulted in carnage on our roads.
I thought the Ghana Police was the designated authority to maintain law and order! So how come their authority is defied with such impunity, especially by those who should know better? Are we crossing the threshold of civilised society into what Thomas Hobbes called the “state of nature” of the jungle where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”?
For those who defy the police so arrogantly, have they ever thought of what this country will descend into if the police do not work for one day? Can they imagine life without the dispatch riders who risk their lives, zig-zagging in front of them to clear us off the road so their V8s can move easily? In life, we never appreciate what we have until we lose it.
I stated in an earlier article that Ghanaian troops had been keeping peace in other countries since the early 1960s. We must not create a condition for troops from other countries to keep peace in Ghana.
I have heard many Ghanaians say: “Oh, God loves Ghana. It will not happen here!” I thought the same God created all of us! Even without war in Ghana, filth has engulfed us.
I could not believe my eyes when I took a drive around Central Accra last Sunday. I bowed my head in shame!
As for respect for authority which was thrown out of the window a generation ago with the advent of “positive defiance”, disrespect and indiscipline have gained firmer roots. Safety and security have been compromised.
A lady I used to meet during my walk in the mornings told me yesterday that she had stopped walking because she was scared of being kidnapped.
Arson is gradually becoming part of our lives. Not even the importation of foreign experts has helped us unravel who the arsonists are.
Authorities, please wake up!
The writer is former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association Nairobi, Kenya.