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20.01.2021 Feature Article

The Police Must Desist From Selective Enforcement of Imposition of Restrictions Law

The Police Must Desist From Selective Enforcement of Imposition of Restrictions Law
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Since January 7, 1993, Ghana returned from a military rule to a democratic rule under the Fourth Republican Constitution, 1992 which makes provisions for principles of rule of law and fairness. It is thus worrisome when the laws of the land are enforced selectively based on the whims and caprices of the law enforcement agencies like the Ghana Police Service.

I learnt with surprise yesterday that the Police arrested some masses including some Kayaye (head porters) in Accra because they were not wearing the facemasks, hence they breached the COVID-19 protocols and aspects of the Imposition of Restrictions Act, 2020 (Act 1012). To my mind, the arrests mimic the unfair administration of justice as it applies on George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Under the current constitutional dispensation, the Police are required to enforce laws fairly and in accordance with due process but not selectively. The forceful, penal and intimidating policing methods of the 1940s through the 1950s to 1960s must metamorphose into a friendly and an educative policing approach with deep reasoning dictating affairs to reflect the trends and trajectories of the 21st Century.

In enforcing the law, therefore, the Police are not to act mechanically. Rather, the circumstances or prevailing situations in society must inform the policing approaches. The Police must pause and ask themselves why the Government would offer subsidies on utilities for months for the masses prior to the 2020 elections, all on the altar of COVID support but the same Government would not want to support the masses free with the with facemasks. Truly, there are some people who cannot afford the masks.

The question that pricks my thoughts is that why was the Police not directed to arrest the same masses and electorates who did not use the masks at mammoth political rallies leading to the 2020 elections? It is expected in accordance with the rule of law principle of no one is above the law, then the Police should have arrested even some of our political leaders on the campaign trail in 2020 because we saw some of them too not wearing the facemasks at rallies. They were campaigning for votes without the masks and we still have videos of them.

Oh was it not the same Ghana Police Service that gave permits to a certain political party to organize nationwide demonstrations immediately after the 2020 elections and most of those demonstrators did not put on facemasks? At that time was the Imposition of Restrictions Act repealed hence people were not arrested? Why the selective and kneejerk approach now, just because we have now noticed that the new COVID infection figures are increasing again. In any event, the current spike in the COVID infections constitutes the chickens that have come to roost due to the long months of disregard for the infection prevention and control protocols, all in the name of a vote-winning agenda.

Surprisingly, all the gatekeepers such as the Police, the respectable and extrovert Ghana Medical Association (GMA), the Information Ministry and the public health officials went to sleep apparently during the electioneering campaigns just because the political class wanted in their favour, the people’s thumbprints on a certain sheet of paper called the ballot paper. After they got those thumbprints, it is now important for them again to arrest people for not wearing the facemasks in adherence to the COVID-19 prevention protocols.

After all, we do not Birnam Woods move to Dunsinane Hill where Macbeth lives for us to become aware that the governance system we have in Ghana preaches one man one vote but the same system seeks to enforce one cedi one justice to the ignored detriment of the people Karl Marx referred to as the have-nots. For example, in the night of January 6, 2021, and the dawn of January 7, 2021, we saw on our TV screens, rancor on the floor of Parliament by elected lawmakers who did not wear facemasks just to engage in a conundrum in attempt to elect the Speaker of Parliament. The elected lawmaker is free to breach the law but the one who elected him or her is being arrested on the streets for breaking the same law the lawmaker himself or herself breached.

The Police are voiceless when it comes to the big fishes like sharks but are suddenly loud and aggressive when it has to do with the anchovies (Keta School Boys). Was it not due to the breach of the same COVID-19 protocols that the penal system put a pastor behind bars?

Be that as it may, I must, however, say that shame unto those people who have the facemasks but decide not to wear them and again, shame unto those who wear the masks but they pull it under their chins whenever they want to talk. The essence of wearing the facemasks is to prevent infected saliva droppings from spreading the disease to others. In this regard, therefore, pulling the masks under the chins while talking is just the same as not wearing the masks at all. I dare say in conclusion that if the Police want to prove that they are not being mechanical and selective in law enforcement, then they should as well arrest under- the –chin- facemask –pullers.

~Asante Sana ~

Author: Philip Afeti Korto.

Email: [email protected]

Philip Afeti Korto
Philip Afeti Korto, © 2021

Philip Afeti Korto is a seasoned Health Service Administrator and a prolific writer. He is a member of Association of Health Service Administrators, Ghana (AHSAG). Column: AfetiKorto

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