A widow’s agonies while awaiting the slow wheels of justice

BY: Ajoa Yeboah-Afari
Ajoa Yeboah-Afari
Ajoa Yeboah-Afari

Ivy Heward-Mills, widow of the murdered Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North, J.B. Danquah Adu, made harrowing headlines last week. She marked the third anniversary of his death last Saturday, February 9, with a heart-rending social media posting.

It centred on her frustrations, what she has had to endure, particularly from some police investigators, during her long wait for justice.

And surely, the Police don’t need any more bad press!

However, in a very commendable move on the part of the Ghana Police Service, they have reportedly commenced investigations into the allegations by Ms Heward-Mills, although they don’t have an official complaint to work with. This proactive move by the police is highly laudable.

The Director-General of Police Public Affairs Department, David Eklu, confirmed to me on Wednesday, February 13, that no formal complaint has been received from Ms Heward-Mills.

However, as reported by the Ghanaian Times of February 12, a team has indeed been assigned to investigate her allegations about the unacceptable way she has been treated by some of the police officers investigating her husband’s murder.

The team has a deadline of one month to present its report, although it could be earlier, ACP Eklu told me.

Mr Danquah Adu was stabbed to death in his bedroom on February 9, 2016 and currently there is a retrial with two suspects in the dock for his murder.

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Not surprisingly, the posting on Facebook by his widow continues to generate interest and comment.

The following is an abridged version of Ms Heward-Mills’ distressing account.
* * *
Exactly three years ago today, my husband, JB Danquah Adu, MP DIDN’T DIE. He was brutally assassinated. Three years on, there’s no sign of justice for him, for our children, or for his widow.

By contrast, in the UK, Jo Cox, MP, was also brutally assassinated by shooting and stabbing in London on June 16, 2016; four months after JB. But before the end of November, Thomas Mair, her assailant had been tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Of course, it didn’t bring her back but I bet my last pesewa that it gave her family a certain measure of closure and relief from their grief.

They can go to sleep every night knowing that the country she served had served her too by giving her justice.

Some 36 months after JB’s murder, Ghana is still playing with the matter. Furthermore, between then and now, I have been harassed and threatened by family, citizens and police alike.

I have been summoned to the Police HQ on countless occasions and subjected to what I would describe as “scrubbing a fresh wound with Himalayan rock salt” and topped up with a million and one questions, including, to my shock, a very gleeful “so madam do you wear waist beads?” in a meeting room of a CID team of only men.

Also, one of the men at the helm of investigating my husband’s murder thought it sensible to call me and tell me how beautiful and sexy he thinks I am, giving me reasons why I must marry him; an already married man. And I’m supposed to trust that they did a great job?

Three years ago the police assured me that they will apprehend the murderer As Soon As Possible. Within three days, they had done just that and given me hope for justice. Yet, 36 months later there is still no closure.

An email I received reads: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)"Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 37:7)

And as a poet, George Herbert, wisely penned, “God’s mill grinds slow, but sure.”

I know God is watching; No matter how long it takes, no matter how long, GOD’S MILL WILL GRIND, Ms Heward-Mills stated.

* * *

As indicated, the matter has been widely reported.

Apart from the Times revelation about the investigation, a Daily Guide news item sheds some light on what had appeared to be an outlandish reference to “waist beads” in Ms Heward Mills’ narration.

According to the paper, “a video recording of the crime scene which the (detectives) watched … showed a set of shining waist beads found in the bedroom (although) she had told the police that slept in a different room.

The widow is reported to have told the police that she does not use waist beads … Therefore, the police were interested in finding out whether there was a third person who could have had a hand in the murder.

“Ms Heward-Mills ruled out any chance of her husband bringing a woman to the matrimonial home.

A vouch which augmented the curiosity of the police ...” (Guide, February11, 2019).

In the Times report, ACP Mr Eklu, is quoted as saying that although Ms Heward-Mills had not reported the matter to them, the attention of the Police Administration had been drawn to the posting.

He gave the assurance that “anybody found culpable would be dealt with in accordance with the regulations of the Police Service.”

I must say that when I spoke with Mr Eklu I was not surprised to learn that they have still not received any complaint from Ms Heward-Mills.

In view of what she has alleged as the humiliation and stress suffered at the hands of the very people supposed to give her confidence in the system, who in that position would be inclined to make a report to the police?

If she had been given a reason for the highly intrusive question about waist beads, and if the question had been put in a diplomatic way, perhaps it wouldn’t have caused so much offence. And I wonder why such an interrogation should be done by only male detectives.

But if from what she has been allegedly put through she feels there is no point in making a complaint, I believe that the team put together by the Police Administration is still in a position to investigate, sanction errant officers – and inform the public.

After all, when the police get even the slightest whiff of a criminal activity planned, they are able to act on it.

This is one widow who has had too many agonies inflicted on her and there should be closure.

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