The Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Police yesterday closed down the Peace & Love Orphanage belonging to ace actress, gender activist and politician Maame Dokono. The reason given is that an eight year old boy allegedly sodomised a six month old baby and secondly they claim the orphanage has been operating illegally since it's license has not been renewed since 2006.
This has obviously created a lot of tension in Ghana which amid protests by some supporters of the NPP at the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Police offices in Accra.
The question is why has Maame Dokono's orphanage been operating since 2006 if it was an illegal outfit? Did the authorities not know that her license had expired? And why did the authorities wait for almost three years to act? If an important outfit of this nature that deals with emotionally disturbed and highly vulnerable children operates illegally it must be closed down with immediate effect but as to why the police delayed in taking any action till now leaves a bitter leaf in the soup. Probably the people that need to be arrested first are the heads of the agencies mandated by the government to regulate these institutions. If The Peace and Love orphanage have been operating for about 3 years without license that certainly would suggest that there might be others operating whose licenses have expired long ago and would be operating illegally which must be checked immediately.
Secondly, for the Police to closed down the Orphanage and invite Maame Dokono for questioning or arrested her according to reports which lead to a scuffle, I must say it is quiet absurd the way some of these things are handled in our nation. At least there should be a laid down procedure to deal with things of this nature rather than resorting to force and brutality in some cases. Was the Orphanage notified they were operating illegally, how many warning were they given? Also do our child protection agencies really carry out proper periodic checks to these intuitions? We need to have some answers these questions.
As to the 8-year old who committed the despicable act of raping a 6-month old baby, I would say though it can't be thoroughly prevented, if the right checks and procedures are carried out, some of these acts could be avoided. Again I blame the authorities as well as the staff and owner for not putting effective monitoring in place for the boy to be able to sneak in to carry out such evil act on the baby. Legally, if Maame Dokono did not abet the crime, she could not be arrested for it. But she should co-operate with the authorities to carry out the necessary investigations.
The sad thing is that the eventual losers are the poor children if things are not done properly. What would happen to the majority who are enjoying themselves at the orphanage? And if what has happened is an isolated incident, would the authorities deprive the other orphans of their new found home and parents/carers?
I hope this has no political undertone to it. Let's us trust the authorities to handle it with democratic maturity. Our security agencies should be independent institutions that should be allowed and trusted to function without political manipulation.
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Credits: Kweku Afful, a.k.a. Dr.Objective. Contact: Facebook : Kweku objective.
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