It still does not make sense to me, but this is the kind of grisly horror that appears to have become the new normal in the country, whereby any money-hungry cabal can quickly resort to sorcery and/or ritual murder for money. You see, it would have been relatively more understandable, if the plot to murder 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah had been hatched by the blood relatives of the deceased (See “ ‘We’ll Take the Law into Our [Own] Hands if We Don’t Get Justice’ – Father of Kasoa Ritual Murder Victim” Ghanaweb.com 4/5/21), in much the same manner that the victims of witchcraft murders are traditionally known to be “spiritually” killed by their own blood relatives. In the particular instance being herein discussed, this unpardonable act of savagery is alleged to have been executed by some young criminal suspects whose biological or physiological identities have not been forensically linked to the victim.
About the only thing that we know, so far, is that the alleged killers are neighbors of the victim and his family. The ages of the criminal suspects are also very disturbing when matched to the seriousness of the crime, being that while they are reported to be just a bit older than their victim, nevertheless, these suspects are still statutory minors, at 17 or 18 years old. Those are the ages so far provided by at least one media source to approximate the age of the oldest of the criminal suspects. Which even more disturbingly means that the criminal accomplices of the latter may be much closer to the age of the victim, including one who is reported to have been sent by the prime suspect to call out the victim for the purpose of performing what is being described by police investigators and the media as a ritual murder.
You see, where it gets messy concerns the alleged motive for the slaying of 11-year-old Master Ishmael Mensah, something akin to what has widely become known in Ghana as “Sakawa,” a criminal ritual practice that may very well have originated from neighboring Nigeria. In recent years, quite a humongous number of this barbaric sort of murder has been reported by the media, the most notorious of which has become known as the Murder of the Sekondi-Takoradi Girls, whose prime suspects, reportedly each and every one of them, are known to be of Nigerian nationality and ethnicity and are presently facing criminal prosecution and sentencing in the twin Western regional capital cities. It does not help matters that recently some prominent politicians, including the National Chairman of Ghana’s main opposition political party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, a man who has held several ministerial portfolios, have been linked to such incidents of heinous criminality.
In the case of Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, no ritual murder charges have been preferred or returned by the prosecutors of any legitimately constituted court of law. But the man has been linked to the globally infamous and equally barbaric abduction of the three white Canadian young women NGO volunteers in Kumasi, the Asante regional capital nearly two years ago. As of this writing, about four months into the reelection of the relatively more legally responsible New Patriotic Party (NPP), Ghanaians have yet to hear anything about the prosecutorial state of the Ofosu-Ampofo Case, in which the National Democratic Congress’ National Chairman, who has vehemently and publicly denied the charges brought against him, still stands “vacuously indicted.” Vacuously indicted because based on what we know about how such high-profile cases are routinely handled in the country, the criminal indictment of Mr. Ofosu-Ampofo, widely known to be one of the closest associates of former President John Dramani Mahama, may very well be the extent of the same. Prosecutorial finality, that is. Which is just another “diplomatic” way of saying that the Ofosu-Ampofo Case may never come to trial in the traditional sense of the term.
And it is precisely on the latter count that one is strongly inclined to side with Mr. Frank Mensah Blanger, father of 11-year-old Ishmael Mensah, that if the police and our judicial system play any nursery game of time-buying hide-and-seek, hoping that the brutal murder of his beloved son and the grief of the bereaved Mensah Blanger Family would simply go cold and evaporate into thin air, the way of legions of similar cases in the past, the family would be left with no other meaningful and/or constructive alternative or reparative and retributive recourse than literally take the law into their own hands. One would certainly like to believe that Ghana is a civilized constitutional democracy, but it is increasingly becoming extremely difficult to convincingly square the latter political culture up with the sort of heinous incidents of wanton criminality routinely allowed to go unpunished by the country’s criminal justice system. We hope the prompt and credible correction of this patently bizarre and untenable state of affairs will become one of the most lasting legacies bequeathed Ghanaians and our country by the very progressive Akufo-Addo Administration.
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
April 5, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]