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06.06.2017 Editorial

Mahama’s Murder Trial Should Be Live On TV

Ghanaian Chronicle
Opinion Late Maj. Maxwell A. Mahama

The Daily Graphic reported yesterday that about 26 suspects have so far been arrested by the police in connection with the gruesome murder of Captain Maxwell Mahama.

The police administration and the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) had earlier on Friday, held a joint press conference to brief the nation on how far they have gone with their investigations.

Looking at the mood of the GAF, and the general public as a whole, regarding the murder, The Chronicle is happy with the seriousness the police have attached to the investigation.

Parties in criminal cases sometimes resort to violence in their attempt to seek vengeance, when they realise that the state security agency responsible for investigating the case is not doing its work. Fortunately, this is not what the country is experiencing at the moment.

The police are really on top of their job, and we hope they would build a watertight docket that would secure conviction at the end of the criminal trial.

This brings us to the issue of live coverage of the trial by the television stations that may want to do so. During the News File programme on Joy News last Saturday, the host told his viewers that Mr. Egbert Faible, a journalist and lawyer, had already made the proposal for live coverage of the trial.

The Chronicle is not privy to the basis for Faible's proposal. We, however, think the issue he had raised is worth considering by the Chief Justice.

When Mr Gabby Otchere Darko of the Danquah Institute first suggested live coverage of the 2012 Election Petition at the Supreme Court, many people did not understand him, but when the CJ decided to bend the rules and allowed TV coverage of the proceedings, many Ghanaians came to appreciate Gabby's suggestion.

The Chronicle is aware that TV cameras are not allowed in our court rooms, but like the Election Petition case, this murder trial is also an exceptional case. We are, therefore, pleading with the CJ to, once again, bend the rules and allow live TV coverage of the proceedings.

We are not supporting the idea (live coverage) because of the personality involved. We are rather looking at the situation where this case could be used as the platform to educate the public to put an end to the canker of mob injustice, which is on the ascendency. Even, despite all the media reports about the senseless killing of Captain Mahama, a group of people in the Upper East Region still went ahead to attack a man they suspected to be a wizard and nearly lynched him, but for the timely intervention of the police.

What this story is telling us is that Ghanaians would not turn away from killing innocent people they accuse of being armed robbers, unless they see with their naked eyes the trial and conviction of the Mahama murderers, if the latter are found guilty at the end of the trial.

As we noted in this column a couple of days ago, in Ghana, if your enemy wants to dispatch you to the other side of the world, all what the person needs to do is to shout thief, thief, in a crowded place, and that would be the end of the story.

The Chronicle is told that the people who were involved in the lynching of an administrator in the Brong-Ahafo some years ago, were found guilty and sentenced to death. But, because the majority of Ghanaians did not witness what went on in court, except reading about the conviction in the newspapers, they don't see the gravity of such mob injustice.

We are not judging the suspects involved in Captain Mahama's murder, but should they be found guilty at the end of the trial live on TV and sentenced to death, Ghanaians would come to appreciate the gravity in killing suspects without handing them over to the police.

We have already proposed to the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, to use the community radio stations as a platform to properly educate Ghanaians in the various local languages on the need to hand over suspects to the police instead of beating him or her to death.

Should the CJ accept the latest proposal, it would complete the efforts of the Information Ministry to ensure that this Stone Age practice is put to end, once and for all. Over to you, Madam CJ.

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