Are we safe and free in Ghana today?

BY: Collin Essamuah
 Ahmed Hussein Suale — The murdered private investigator
Ahmed Hussein Suale — The murdered private investigator

Two quite well-known misconceptions about our politics have seized my attention this week.

These are first the notion of crime in our society and the legitimacy of public reactions and secondly, the much-abused idea of politicisation of selected public issues in our life as Ghanaians.

Both of these issues are in full-blown display by all those who have been reported on by our varied media this week on the Menzgold ponzi scheme matter and the unfortunate, tragic murder of the Tiger PI undercover agent last week Wednesday night, plus the shocking discovery that seven girls have been kidnapped for several weeks now in the Western Region.

Strange position

In all the cases, our government has had a tough time explaining things away in a satisfactory manner.

Indeed, the official government position on these issues appears to crowd out disagreeing voices in a chorus of leaving those who are charged professionally with finding solutions to have the needed peace to resolve them to popular satisfaction.

How silence of the people will afford the means to solve them in the shortest reasonable time, we are not told.

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It is not surprising, therefore, hearing the Minister of Information railing against opinion journalism when he made his name in that career and doubles as a parliamentarian who was elected because his constituents like his opinions.

This is a strange position. The freedoms granted to all Ghanaians by our constitutional order have not been suspended, and society and its institutions must function with all these in full display.

Those charged with resolving matters of great public concern do not need the silence of the people to operate effectively.

On the other hand, in all the varying sounds, we may get to a resolution which meets popular approval because the legitimacy of our government rests on popular consent.

Crowning all these is the troubling matter of the Assin Central Member of Parliament, Mr Kennedy Agyapong, who was captured on tape threatening physical harm to the Tiger PI investigator, Hussein Suale, some months ago.

Now that the self-same journalist has been murdered, we have lawyers and other commentators who are arguing strangely and strenuously that there is no connection between this threat from a well-heeled MP and the unfortunate death of the same person.

I am even beginning to think that Ghanaian journalists have not made enough noise about this dastardly crime committed fearlessly against their entire profession and that the Takoradi kidnap story has come in handy with police rather taking the flak for the state of insecurity both imply in Ghana today.

All just to shield an overmighty member of the ruling party from journalistic attention.

Why the MP was not barred from travelling outside is not a police question but a political one.

We all know the practice when an MP is wanted to assist in any tussle with the law; the Speaker is involved.

Taking all of these matters have turned our current passions into a wonderful brew of fact and speculation, the building blocks of any free society guaranteed by our Fourth Republican Constitution.

Add to this, the even more puzzling matter of politicisation and the brew reaches akpeteshie levels in its potency.

Are politicians chosen or elected to do anything apart from politics? The persuasive argument can be made that accusing someone who is a politician amounts to childishness and censorship.

Even the public and civil servants manning supposedly non-partisan positions secure their preferment from political decision makers.

The case of the Western Region Police Commander is apposite here; his present position is as a result of the approval of the powers that be.

The objective standard that rational men and women should be able to live with is a disinterested objectivity not subjective objectivity.

An example of that is the current Auditor-General who has shamed his initial detractors with a firmness and admirable objectivity of purpose.

Sense of duty

The truth of the matter is the absolute lack of the sense of duty being exhibited by some of our political leaders and their public and civil servants.

I have no doubt in my mind that immediate publicity to such issues about our personal and overall security is absolutely essential to the resolution of problems of this nature.

Condemning rather than praising media men and their work helps no one but the criminals in our society.

Furthermore, taking the public into confidence can only assist in getting the help only the public can provide.

For the simple obvious reason that law enforcement cannot be everywhere anytime an infraction is committed anywhere.

I agree that this lack of a sense of duty leads inescapably to the political leaders who make such appointments, but it need not lead to paralysis or refusal to take the necessary steps to correct matters to restore public confidence and assure all of us of our security.

Our President must use this opportunity given by the current sad events of murder and kidnappings to move in the direction of the law and order we were promised during the electioneering campaign.

We cannot have about seven ministers and deputies concerned with security and yet live in a state of fear.

It is unacceptable.

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