Given the spate of crimes under his watch, some of us cannot fault the reflective observers who have been upbraiding former President Mahama for insisting somewhat bizarrely that Ghanaians do not feel safe under the current Akufo-Addo led administration (See: ‘Kidnappings: Ghanaians living in fear-Mahama; starrfm.com.gh/ghanaweb.com, 17/06/2019).
The former president is reported to have lamented: “Unfortunately this is a reflection of the current insecurity that exist in our country…people are afraid of their lives because armed robbers have become a holding, going on rampage and ambushing people in places you don’t even expect.
“So we urge the Akufo-Addo administration to be up and doing, it is the duty of government to secure the lives of its citizens, we cannot continue to live in fear.”
The fact however remains that vicious and sanguineous crimes have unfortunately been a societal problem from time in memorial.
The spate of armed robberies during Mahama’s administration, kidnappings and murders, in fact, prompted The IGP in 2015 to inaugurate a seven-member committee codenamed –Cold Case - to investigate the rampant armed robberies and murder cases, locate perpetrators and put forward recommendations (See: Police inaugurates special unit to investigate murder cases – MyJoyOnline, 30/01/2015).
It is also true that the Ghana Police Service, whose responsibility is to protect lives and property, had had so many victims in the revoltingly ugly and bloody crimes in the country.
According to the findings of a comprehensive meta-analysis conducted by some observers, the number of officers that have been regrettably killed in their line of duty from 2013 to 2018 is 48 in total. In 2013, for example, 13 officers were murdered; 2014 – 11; 2015 – seven; 2016 – six; 2017 – seven and 2018 – four (See: 48 cops killed in line of duty in 4-years; cityfmonline.com, 23/01/2018).
You may take my word for it, dearest reader, this is not a desperate attempt to engage in any extraneous or pathetic political equalisation, far from it. But for the sake of balanced annotation, or to situate the ongoing public discourse in the right perspective, it is somewhat relevant to delineate the facts and figures of Ghana’s crime rate over the last few years.
Regrettably, in 2013, the Ghana Police Service recorded 551 murder cases, 543 in 2014 and 525 in 2015. Kidnapping surged from 114 in 2013 to 120 in 2014.
Robbery cases reached 1,411 in 2015, having shot up from 2013’s 1,235 and 1,116 in 2014.
And with regards to rape cases, complaints rose from 484 in 2013 to 514 in 2014, before dipping to 451 in 2015.
Overall, crime rate in 2015 stood at 4,715 cases, down from 4,738 in 2014 and 4,845 in 2013(Source: Ghana Police Service, 2016).
The all-important question then is: what pragmatic steps and measures did the administration at the time put in place to arrest the damning situation?
Certainly, it goes without saying that the Ghana Police Service is seriously under-resourced. Suffice it to stress that the successive governments have woefully failed to adequately equip such an important law enforcement body.
Disappointingly, however, the same people who phlegmatically slept on their job and blatantly failed to resource our security forces whilst in power for eight years now have the brashness to hop from one Radio/Television station to another, nagging, shrieking and grouching over the serious national disaster such as the recent vicious kidnappings without offering any operable solutions.
How could the supposedly responsible opposition persistently and unblushingly call press conferences with the view to inciting the public against the incumbent government over a long-standing societal menace they wilfully failed to address whilst in power?
And considering the weird posturing of some individuals in relation to the kidnappings, why wouldn’t some of us acquiesce with former President Rawlings’s for suggesting a probable conspiratorial plot to undermine the country’s security and the incumbent NPP government?
And why must we blame the sceptics for insisting that perhaps, more than anything else, it is a scheming guile to make the incumbent NPP government look bad in the eyes of the voting public?
After all, the critics may have well hit the nail on the head for smelling the evil hands of the faceless partisan creatures in the recent attacks on innocent citizens and denizens.
Obviously, the heinous and other squeamishly ugly crimes including armed robberies, kidnappings and murders have been the nation’s painful headache over a long period of time, albeit the successive governments have regrettably failed to tackle the menace head-on.
We should, however, take solace in the incumbent NPP government’s apparent commitment in the fight against crime and the subsequent announcement to resource the Ghana Police Service adequately.
Of course the amount involved may not address all the Ghana Police Service’s cyclopean problems. But at least the NPP government has shown enough commitment to equipping the security forces. Indeed, there are signs of seriousness on the part of the incumbent government to address the situation head-on.
In sum, the opposition NDC operatives cannot and must not attempt to exonerate themselves from any blame in respect of the recent mindless attacks on innocent citizens and denizens.
K. Badu, UK.