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13.04.2005 Feature Article

Letter From The President: Courage to lynch?

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Countrymen and women, loyalists and opponents, ours is a nation in need of heroes.

There are so many people in this country looking for heroes in the wrong places. Can you believe that some people think that I am a hero – merely because I have stopped the identification haircuts at the Castle. Others think I am a hero because I can be “brutally frank” with Jerry Boom. To many others, I am a hero because I have elevated nepotism and “double-speak” to unprecedented levels.

Some people also think that Jerry Boom is also a hero because he managed to stage two successful coup d'etats. He is also considered to be a hero because his 'boom speeches' are often interpreted as courageous sermons.

Well, I know I am no hero. At least, not yet! I sure can spot a hero when I see one, though. And I not happy that many of you are making a hero out of a certain police constable who led a mob to lynch some alleged armed robbers. Constable Adiza Musa was traveling to Kumasi when armed robbers attacked the bus on which she was traveling. After receiving a couple of slaps from the robbers and her phone seized, the Constable ran off onto an adjoining highway, where she managed to assemble a mob. The Constable and her mob then launched a “counteroffensive”. To cut a long story short, the mob lynched two of the alleged armed robbers whiles the others escaped.

The young Constable has suddenly become a hero. Many people have described her as “courageous”. Others say she is a “modern day Yaa Asantewa”. You can't blame them, can you? The nation needs heroes, right?

The accolades are pouring in torrents on Corporal Adiza and I suppose that she's having a good time. In fact, the police administration is considering promoting her. I didn't want to comment on this until the police had made their move. But one of my advisors has told me that if I don't speak out now, I might not like what the police administration might do. So I am going to play devil's advocate here. Many of you will not like what I am going to say but I don't aim to please. I want to prick your conscience a little bit so that you don't go about calling everyone a hero.

In my candid opinion, Corporal Adiza is no hero. I admire the courage she had to launch her counteroffensive against the alleged robbers. But I hate the fact that she lacked the courage to stop her mob from lynching the robbers. For this reason, I say that she should remain a corporal and climb up the police ladder just like those she graduated with. She ought to have known that mob justice is illegal. As a police officer, she should have known about due process. Even armed robbers should be arrested and sent to court. No armed robber should be subjected to mob justice. There's even more cause for concern when a police officer leads in the administration of the mob justice.

If Sikaman was not a sick nation in need of 'petty' heroes, Corporal Adiza would be answering criminal charges instead of basking in undeserved accolades and the prospects of an early promotion.

I don't think that Constable Adiza's training at the police academy included lessons on the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”. Otherwise after managing to get the armed robbers to take to their heels, the Constable should have impressed on the mob to just seize the robbers and take them to the nearest police station. Don't ask me what one woman can do to stop a mob. I believe that under those circumstances, the mob saw her as their leader and as a police officer, she could have stopped the lynching. It will be almost impossible for the constable to convince me otherwise. If she was given lessons in the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” and she failed to apply them in a real life situation, she should be punished instead of being promoted. Having said all that, I believe that the incident involving Constable Adiza is symptomatic of the general belief in mob justice in Sikaman. People like to beat the hell out of alleged thieves before handing them over to the police. Those who don't take part in the beating, egg those who do on. That's why the whole nation is cheering the Constable, whiles two men lay dead – their guilt not proven. The police themselves enjoy slapping people around – just for the fun of it. I don't want to go into the reasons why people resort to mob justice. But if my presidential powers allowed me to meddle in the affairs of the police, I would have instructed the IGP to use Corporal Adiza as a scapegoat to send a clear message to the whole of Sikaman that mob justice will not be tolerated.

Excellently yours,

J. A. Fukuor Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

J. A. Fukuor
J. A. Fukuor, © 2005

The author has 204 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: JAFukuor

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