Assassins like the man who shot President John F. Kennedy of the US in 1963 are not people who could just pull the trigger. They are experts in their trade.
They have certain basic characteristics. They are cold, firm in their resolve, emotionally stable, unremorseful and whether driven by an internal force or contracted, they execute their assignment and care less about the consequences.
Fortunately, such phenomenon as political assassination is not common in our part of the world maybe because we fear to die as a consequence or we prefer to enjoy the fruits of our labour. We instead launch verbal assaults on our opponents or indulge in mud-slinging, better known as character assassination which very often goes unpunished.
So it came to pass that a man called Charles Antwi was found with a loaded gun in a church where the President of the Republic and other dignitaries frequent to worship. We were told the man’s suspicious demeanour made him out. That it took not a professional eye but a congregant to notice the unstable nature of the man to raise suspicion is a clear indication that there was something terribly wrong with the man.
Any person with a loaded weapon in a crowded area, whether of a stable or unstable mind should be a security concern to all. In fact, there are recorded cases of even police personnel dropping guard in weapon handling and harming themselves and others in public places.
So for a private person to carry a loaded pistol into a place of worship meant there was a serious security breach and the lives of many people were at risk. Thank God the man under reference could not go for his weapon before he was spotted and apprehended.
In a more enlightened jurisdiction, this man would be escorted away without fanfare that would create fear and panic among members of the congregation to commence thorough investigations. Among many things, investigators would want to know how the man came by the weapon. Has he had any service record? Has he got any close associates who were or are in any of the security agencies?
They may also want to know why he entered the church building with the gun. Has he got a real motive or has he any mental disorder?
This comes to an important part of the investigation. Do they need the expertise of a psychiatrist to arrive at certain conclusions?
All these could be done professionally and meticulously without any running commentary from the public. Unfortunately, but typically of us, we all failed to approach this case in a professional and excuse me to say, civilised manner.
From the word go, what could have been a potentially criminal or mental case or both has been turned into another political jingoism.
Because the President worships there, the conclusion automatically was that the man with the loaded gun was there to kill him. That could be possible; it could also be someone else.
What about the pastor? What about a member/members of the congregation. Who knows whether the wife of the man was in the congregation and he was there to settle a marital feud? Who knows whether the man was not conscious of where he was at the time?
We were told the man looked jittery, fidgety and suspicious to the extent that it was an ordinary person who spotted him. That could not be a person who has spent days, weeks and maybe months rehearsing how to kill.
The police could not have completed their investigations within that short period but in conformity with relevant provisions of the Constitution, they had to send the man to court within 48 hours after his arrest. This they did and we were expecting that they would be allowed enough time to do a thorough investigation.
That did not happen and the man has been convicted and sentenced for illegal possession of arms. How would we know if really there was a plot against the president or someone? With the incarceration of the man, how would we be sure that the danger does not exist again, especially if he was not acting alone?
There are many more questions that need answers. For instance, why did the judge not refer the man to the psychiatric hospital for examination before hastily convicting him, especially since there was evidence even to the casual eye that the man may be having mental challenges?
For a man to walk into an open court and admit or confess that he intended to kill the President of the Republic and to say further that he should have been the next president after the demise of President John Evans Atta Mills should have put the judge on the alert and the best option open to him was to refer the case for professional psychiatric advice.
Justice delayed is justice denied, that we agree, but in this case we would have served the cause of justice better if we had hastened slowly.