After days of cogitation about why and how my country of birth, Ghana, is not making any desirable headway in her economic development but crime-ridden, I could only come up with one answer. The answer, believe you me, is shockingly the attitude of the law enforcement agents – the police and the court judges.
The socio-politico-economic success of every country depends on the professional integrity of its law enforcement agents. Human beings are such that if you leave them to their own ways without having in place certain laws to restrict or deter them from doing certain reprehensible things, they will all easily become corrupt to the detriment of their collective wellbeing.
Laws are made to guide us, to regulate what we can do and how to do them. The laws prescribe punitive measures for disobedience of the laws in the hope of minimising people’s appetite for doing wrong things. The respect for the laws with all citizens acting within the confinements of the laws as possibly as we can, spur the socio-politico-economic progress of nations. Therefore, it is not for nothing that countries employ, train and pay people as law enforcement agents.
When you are employed and paid to do a job, you must be seen to do that job properly in accordance with the terms of your contract of employment. When you fail to execute your duties to expectation, chaos ensues. This is exactly what we see going on in Ghana hence the retarding economy with the abundance of crimes culminating in insecurity.
We see our police officers on the roads stopping vehicles (cars) only to collect bribes from the drivers. We hear of our police officers involving themselves in the perpetrations of various crimes from beating people to committing armed robberies. We hear of our police officers yielding in to pleas by some so-called prominent traditional leaders or chiefs to act against the ethics of their own profession to please such chiefs. When a person has been arrested for committing an offence or offences warranting prosecution leading to their conviction and sentencing to a prison term or a fine to deter the fellow or other would-be criminals from committing same offences, a chief, a politician or an influential person will either instruct, or plead with, them, to drop the case. The police will either accept bribes from those pleading with them or will out of fear just let go the case against the arrested offender.
Is that how police are trained? Do they not have ethics of their profession to respect? Are they not employed, trained and paid to render untainted service of protecting the public, thus life, protecting public properties and preventing crimes, in addition to other safety requirements I may not have mentioned? How do they convince me to have done their job according as it is professionally and contractually, if not morally, required of them if they allow chiefs, politicians and other so-called rich or influential people to not only dictate to them but also, do their bidding?
Are they themselves respecting the stipulations of the laws if they breach them, knowingly or unknowingly, by their commissions and acts of omissions as stated above? No, they are not. However, in a country where the laws of their land are not abided by but flouted, they do not advance in any meaningful way as one will contrary expect of them.
Let me talk about the judiciary, the third arm of government. The judiciary by interpreting the constitution and the laws of the land to ensure their enforcement and conformity to, are also the agents of law enforcement. They are even bigger than the police in view of enforcing the adherence to the laws of the country. Are the judges not those who convict and sentence wrongdoers arraigned before them? If they do their job ethically without allowing themselves to be induced by bribes and promises to twist justice in favour of the highest bidder in any litigation or criminal case brought before them, people’s affection for wrongdoings will be curtailed, all for the best and the prosperity of the nation.
If judges begin to accept bribes to stupidly delay cases with intent to frustrate the would-be winners if the cases were speedily and fairly heard and decided, why will abusers of the laws not continue to do so with passion knowing they can get away with their actions by greasing the palms of judges as "proven" by Anas Aremeyaw Anas?
If court registrars and court clerks accept bribes to remove for hiding or destruction certain vital documents from case files, with intent to unnecessarily delay the hearing of, and ruling on, the case, why will crimes not continue to flourish in the country to retard its socio-politico-economic progress?
The deplorable actions by the ensemble of our law enforcement agents is detrimental to the socio-politico-economic advancement of Ghana, I must confess.
In the well advanced countries, laws are enforced so their citizens do in general respect the laws. Anyone that flouts the laws when caught, is punished accordingly without any prominent person going to plead for their release or let go the legal action to be taken against such offender. Therefore, if we see the Whiteman’s country progressing in tempo, it is all because their laws are stringently enforced to punish whoever breaks them without any fear or favour.
Until our policemen and women and judges cease taking bribes in breach of the laws to rather enforce the laws to punish whoever breaks them according as may be stated, forget about Ghana making any meaningful socio-politico-economic headway. It is not that there are no laws in Ghana; there are, but their enforcement is the problem.
Because our police officers in their majority are corrupt or are perceived to be corrupt with the judges being seen in the same tainted spectacle, some criminals with the wherewithal to pay their way out will continually commit their crimes leading to the economic stagnation, if not retrogression, of Ghana. Could this not be the reason why some politicians embezzle State funds and assets but never get punished? Could this dismally corrupt attitudes by the police and judges not be the reason why criminals like Alfred Agbesi Woyome, are still walking free on the streets of Ghana, bragging as though they are honest guys with all the powers to do what they want when they want?
Inability, or lack of ability and capability to enforce laws in Ghana is the cause of the ocean of developmental difference between Ghana and the Western developed world (Ghana being extremely poor and the Whiteman’s land extremely rich).
Ghanaians must begin to make use of their smartphones or other electronic gadgets to record law enforcement agents found flouting the very laws they are meant to protect and enforce their obedience by the public. Such recorded evidence can be used to prosecute or shame them. In the event of the courts failing to accept such secretly recorded evidence, we can put them on the social media to shame them, who cares!
Lest I forget, has the Inspector General of Police, Mr David Asante-Apeatu got rid of the MTTU Police officers on the stretch of road between Ejisu-Krapa and Kwamo on the Kumasi-Accra highway noted for taking bribes from motorists? I want to see them removed from that place if they will not stop taking bribes from drivers. If I should arrange for people to record them while in the process of taking bribes before the IGP could act, I am more than happy to do it. I find their actions as not helping Ghana but rather retarding the progress of Ghana by encouraging and propping the perpetrations of crimes.
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."
Reproduction is authorised provided the author's permission is granted.