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24.07.2020 Feature Article

What Is Mavis Hawa Koomson’s Crime? The Belief In Imminent Attack

What Is Mavis Hawa Koomson’s Crime? The Belief In Imminent Attack
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There are people within the society purporting to be Security Experts. But in reality, are charlatans seeking attention for public status. What is Mavis Hawa Koomson's crime? She is been accused of election-related offense for defending herself by firing a gun at voters’ registration centre, and creating chaos.

Many of the so-called experts lack the essentials about “Belief in Imminent Attack”.

The modern law on the Belief in Imminent Attack” states that: “A person uses such force as is (objectively) reasonable in the circumstances he/she (subjectively) believes them to be”. Therefore, if the defendant genuinely believes that an attack is imminent or underway it does not matter that they were mistaken. This clearly seemed imminent and had no option than to stand her grounds in the face of unprovoked confronted by her attackers. How could they jump to conclude that she is guilty?

We must acknowledge that preemptive self-defense is permissible in some cases. Lord Griffith said in Beckford v. R – “a man about to be attacked does not have to wait for his assailants to strike first blow or fire first shot; circumstances may justify a preemptive strike”.

There is an enduring reality demonstrated by the hoodlums' attack of May 29, 2017, by residents of Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region in which an army officer, Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama was lynched to death. The fact of the matter confronting the country is that, non-state actors are capable of projecting extreme violence across the country.

Think about the attacks of Talensi, Chireponi, Atiwa, Ayawaso, and other election-related incidents should make anyone aware that, these varieties of individuals who are recruited and trained across party lines; who are instructed and funded by a loose but sophisticated intra-party network, and who then covertly acquire the means to unleash all manner of vicious attacks on people, mostly civilians, should concern everyone. To her accusers, I dare state they are splitting hairs about nothing than encouraging tomfoolery. It is about defending the unthinkable among them and told in the face to stop the Tom and Jerry games in their analysis.

The realities of the post- May 29 period should be instructive to articulate, in very strong and public terms, a doctrine of "preemptive self-defense". Among other things, the doctrine makes a claim to an evolved right, under the law for persons to use "preemptively" against the threat posed by "party rogues" or terrorists whose aim is solely to visit mayhem on people of a different ideology.

The proliferation of political party vigilante groups remains a major setback in the democratic process of Ghana. It is on record that the coming into being of the 4th republic has been blighted by the activities of vigilante groups. A listed number of them strut in both NPP and NDC; such as Azorka Boys, Bolga Bull Dogs, Invincible Forces, Bamba Boys and the Kandahar Boys. Other identified features - Nima Boys, Aluta Boys, Veranda Boys, Salifu Eleven, Zongo Caucus, Supreme, Mahama Boys, Delta Force, etc.

Most political party hoodlums have been indicted for adding to violence, as well as interrupted electoral process either by running off with ballot boxes or bring about chaos at electoral centers. It is on record that, nearly all of their actions gain notoriety each time there is a change in Ghana.

For centuries, international law accepts that people need not put up with an attack before they lawfully take action to defend themselves against assailants that pose an imminent danger of an attack. Legal scholars and international jurists time and again conditioned that, the legitimacy of preemption on the existence of an imminent threat - oftentimes a visible mobilization of most political party vigilante groups have been held accountable of instigating violence as well as knocked over electoral process either by running off with ballot boxes or creating disorder at electoral centers preparing to attack.

We must fight these criminals by getting a feel for the concept of an imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today's challenges, pose by vigilantism. The reality is that the party rogues and hoodlums do not seek to attack using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of brute and cruel means - that can be easily concealed, employed covertly, and used without warning.

I remain an advocate that has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat in whatever form within society might have given rise to actions of Mavis Hawa Koomson. Those calling for her head should tell us what would have been their reaction.

I’m convinced that, the greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction. This makes it the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend oneself, even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of these hoodlums attack. For me, to forestall or prevent such hostile acts by party hoodlums, it is always necessary, act preemptively.

I still hold the view that these so-called security experts would have acted incongruous to what they are prescribing if threatened violence exists. It is always prudent and the duty of the person threatened to use all far-sighted and defensive measures to put a stop to an attack.

For example, if by closing a door which was usually left open, one could prevent an attack, it would be reasonable, and perhaps the law might require, that it should be closed in order to preserve the peace, and the aggressor might in such case be held to bail for their good behavior.

In addition, a person may repel force by force in defense of their person, property or habitation, against any one who manifests, intends, attempts, or endeavors, by violence or surprise, to commit a forcible criminal act, such as homicide, rape, robbery, arson, burglary, and the like. In these cases, he or she is not required to retreat, but may resist and even pursue the adversary, until they have secured themselves from all danger.

In conclusion, these security experts must come again. Their arguments about Hawa Koomson are flawed. They lack the temperament to function as such. They lack the capabilities and competence to conclude on intelligence situation summary. Like viruses, these security charlatans are incidental guests in the body of intellectual discourse. They could be described as men selling false expertise, conspiracy theories, and imaginary security potions and are unintentionally hilarious as they are alarming.

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