This is not a desperate attempt to engage in any extraneous or pathetic political equalisation, far from it. But for the sake of balanced annotation and to situate the topic under discussion in the right perspective, it is somewhat relevant to enumerate the facts and figures of Ghana’s crime rate from 2009 to 2016.
It is worth pointing out that the surge of atrocious crimes, such as armed robberies, kidnappings, and mindless murders during Mahama’s administration, in fact, prompted The then IGP in 2015 to inaugurate a seven-member committee, codenamed –Cold Case - to investigate the rampant armed robberies and murder cases, locate perpetrators and put forward recommendations (See: Police inaugurates special unit to investigate murder cases – MyJoyOnline, 30/01/2015).
The fact however remains that vicious and sanguineous crimes have unfortunately been a societal problem since time in memorial and therefore it is quite unfortunate for anybody to resort to petty politicking when it comes to crime.
Take, for instance, the Ghana Police Service, whose responsibility is to protect lives and property, had had so many victims in the revoltingly ugly and bloody crimes in the country over the years.
According to the findings of a comprehensive meta-analysis conducted by observers, the number of officers that have been regrettably killed in their line of duty from 2013 to 2018 is 48 in total.
In 2013, for example, 13 officers were murdered; 2014 – 11; 2015 – seven; 2016 – six; 2017 – seven and 2018 – four (See: 48 cops killed in line of duty in 4-years; cityfmonline.com, 23/01/2018).
Regrettably, in 2013, the Ghana Police Service recorded 551 murder cases, 543 in 2014 and 525 in 2015. Kidnapping surged from 114 in 2013 to 120 in 2014.
Robbery cases reached 1,411 in 2015, having shot up from 2013’s 1,235 and 1,116 in 2014.
With regards to rape cases, complaints rose from 484 in 2013 to 514 in 2014, before dipping to 451 in 2015.
Overall, crime rate in 2015 stood at 4,715 cases, down from 4,738 in 2014 and 4,845 in 2013(Source: Ghana Police Service, 2016).
The all-important question every discerning Ghanaian should be asking then is: what pragmatic steps and measures did the administration at the time put in place to remedy the troubling situation?
Regrettably, however, the same people who shamefully slept on their job and blatantly failed to resource our security forces whilst in power for eight years now have the brashness to hop from one Radio/Television station to another, nagging, shrieking and grouching over the ‘nonexisting’ insecurity.
Ghanaians, in fact, were not at peace with themselves at all as government agencies engaged in needless harassments and intimidations.
Take, for example, the 2016 World Freedom report by Freedom House indicated that government agencies in Ghana restricted press freedom through harassment and arrests of journalists, especially those who reported on politically sensitive issues (Freedom House, 2016).
The 2016 report stressed that in September 2015, journalists and media organizations condemned the then presidential staffer, Stan Dogbe, who allegedly attacked Ghana Broadcasting Corporation journalist, Yahayah Kwamoah and damaged his recording device.
The report stated that media groups criticised police for failing to protect journalists from TV-Africa who were attacked while covering demonstrations in the slum known as Sodom and Gomorrah in Accra (Freedom House 2016).
In a related incident, in January 2014, police in the Upper West Region arrested the host of the radio talk program Sungmaale FM, along with two panellists, for on-air comments about police strategies toward criminal activity. The detainees were released the same day, and the acting commissioner of police of the Upper West Region apologized for the officers’ unlawful conduct”.
In March 2013, two photojournalists from state-owned newspapers were brutally beaten by security officials while they were taking photos of Mahama during Ghana’s Independence Day celebrations.
The Ghana Journalist Association (GJA) and the Media Foundation for West Africa condemned the attack and demanded an immediate probe.
The Ghana Armed Forces however conducted an investigation of the incident and exonerated the military personnel involved of any misconduct.
However, the public uproar over the exoneration led the country’s chief of defence staff back then to apologize to the photojournalists and promised to compensate them.
In January 2012, several agents of the Bureau of National Investigations attacked a reporter for the private Daily Guide when she attempted to photograph the deputy superintendent of police, who was being investigated for alleged offences.
In June 2012, four police officers assaulted a reporter for the state-owned Daily Graphic, who was covering a drug raid conducted by the police.
The then NDC administration promised to carry out investigations of both cases, but no charges were brought against anyone.
In March 2011, teachers’ union members who were conducting a peaceful march against a new wage policy were subjected to beatings, tear gas, and arrest by police in Accra.
In February 2010, the NPP activist Nana Darkwa Baafi was detained on charges of “publishing false news with intent to cause fear or harm to the public or to disturb the public peace.
His arrest prompted the NPP to boycott parliamentary proceedings for two days.
Baafi had alleged during a radio interview that the late President John Rawlings had set fire to his own government-sponsored residence in an effort to acquire new housing.
During Barfi’s hearing in March, the NPP and NDC supporters clashed at the Accra courthouse, leaving two injured. The case was ultimately dropped in October 2010.
In July 2010, criminal charges were brought against the then acting news editor of Joy FM, Ato Kwamena Dadzie, for his coverage of the scandal surrounding the STX Korea housing deal.
The list is not exhaustive, however, time and space won’t allow me to enumerate all in this article.
Although there is no justification for any government to trample on the civil liberties and personal integrity rights of citizens and denizens, some administrations have tried to restrict such rights in the past.
K. Badu, UK.