One of the exigent issues that the Saviour of this world was very much concerned while on earth was the issue of hypocrisy. Inarguably, Jesus Christ almost used every platform he had to condemn acts of pretence and insincerity.
Why was the Light of this world so particular about hypocrisy?
The obvious answer is that, hypocrisy kills.
The greatest thing that is killing Ghana today is not the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, malaria, guinea worm or corruption but hypocrisy that has taken entrenched position in almost all aspects of our lives.
We are always criticising others while we fail to remove the log in our own eyes. We paint the picture that we are saints but we do worse things than those that we are persistently criticising.
Lamentably, the canker has devoured every aspect of our lives. This article therefore seeks to point out some of these flaws in some of our public institutions and other areas of our lives to provoke public discourse for the betterment of Ghana.
THE POLICE SERVICE
Undeniably, the police service among others is to ensure law and order to promote peace in the country. They invariably achieve the above by enforcing our laws. They are therefore always bent on arresting or apprehending suspected criminals to ensure their prosecution and subsequent conviction.
This indeed is desirably and inevitably necessary in so far as our peace and security is concern. However, the police have on many occasions blatantly refused to act in the same manner when any of their officers fall into the same 'soup.' Over the years, the service has come under persistent condemnation for taking bribes and indulging in brutalities. Unfortunately, little efforts seem to have been made to make such officers to face the full rigors of the law as they would have done to other ordinary individuals. This is sheer hypocrisy!
The rampant report of alleged police brutalities in recent times is very alarming and regretful.
Between 2002 and 2006 for instance, there have been about eleven collective reports of instances of brutalities by some security personnel in the country. Shockingly, more than ten cases were reported in 2007 alone. Many Ghanaians through this aberrant conduct either sustained injuries or died.
To ensure accountable security service/force to guarantee the liberties of all persons, legal proceedings or adequate disciplinary measures must be initiated against any officer who acts ultra vires in the performance of his duties.
Public security officers should also be held responsible for abuses they knew or should have known of their occurrence and did not take action.
It is very unfair to be incredibly fervent in prosecuting other ordinary members of the society who may be found to have breached the law, only to be unconcerned or act very slowly when these same officers jump into the same 'soup.'
THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
The attitudes of some our court officials and lawyers leave so much to be desired. We portray to society to be the pillars or icons of justice but someof our actions directly and indirectly thwart the smooth running of thejustice system.
Some of our court officials for example take bribes before they perform their required duties or to pervert justice. There have been numerous instances where some of our court officials have hidden dockets or induced those who needed their service to make some unlawful payments fortheir cases to be heard earlier.
Meanwhile, we are always bragging that we are promoting justice. This is absolute hypocrisy!
Lawyers undoubtedly do defend the law. They therefore with vigilant eyes, search all aspects of our lives to see whether all that we are doing are constitutional. The majority of our lawyers in fact are prepared to 'fight' injustice in society even unto death. However, the behaviour of some our lawyers taint the integrity of their noble profession.
There is no question that most lawyers are the reason behind the unnecessary adjournments in our law courts, hence some of the unimaginable delays of cases. Some lawyers incessantly refuse to attend court sittings especially in cases where their chances of winning are very slim.
Besides, some lawyers aid their clients to 'buy' justice in their quest to win every case. These menaces obviously contradict what lawyers seek to stand for-justice for all; hence their hypocrisy.
OUR POLITICIANS AND LEADERS
The Majority of our politicians are always criticising and fail to give credit to whom credit is due. They see whatever is done by members of the other side of the political divide as devilish.
They turn blind eyes towards the
positive acts of their opponents. Meanwhile, these same politicians would like to be adorned with credit for every little effort they make when exercising political power. Besides, most of our politicians are always preaching peace but they indirectly incite the public to some inflammatory passions and beat war drums everyday.
In addition, some of our politicians preach unity and claim to represent the interest of everybody yet they practice nepotism and rule along ethnic or party lines when they are given power.
Lastly, some of them embezzle or amass wealth through kickbacks in the name of undertaking developmental projects to better our lives.
They preach virtues and practice vice. These are indeed perpendicular to hypocrisy!
Some of our youth always resort to mob action as if they were saints.
Between 2006 and 2007 for example, more than twenty five people were lynched through mob action and vigilantism. The name of the late Mr. Anthony Yeboah Boateng is still fresh in our memory.
Mr. Boateng was murdered in cold blood by some ill-advised youth at Atronie in the Brong-Ahafo region when he was mistaken for criminal, upon seeing a corpse in his car on 8th April, 2007. We act unlawfully in our quest to weed out criminals; meanwhile, we are criminals ourselves.
It takes character to criticise character, and anything short of this is hypocrisy.
The question that Jesus Christ posed in John 8 is still alive and relevant in our days. Therefore 'whichever one of you has committed no sin may throw the first stone at her (a perceived criminal).'
Aside the above, we are always criticising our leaders for corrupt practices.
Meanwhile, we are guilty of pilfering, tax evasion, insertion of ghost names on our payrolls, unreasonable use of power and water and even to the extent of refusing to pay tariffs or bills.
Pathetically, we also assist the same politicians in their illicit undertakings and share in their booty. Are we not hypocrites?
Let us remove the plank or log in our eyes first before criticising others to ensure our development in all fields.
The writer is with the Faculty of Law, KNUST. He is also with the Centre for Human Rights and Advanced Legal Research Kumasi and the Values Advocates — Ghana