The growing culture of hate and disregard for human life, assumed an eerie dimension last week when a young lady, who had been alleged to have stolen on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at Adum in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, was stripped naked.
It would not be the first time that alleged thieves are treated in circumstances that the laws abhor, not too long ago, another young lady suffered a similar fate, when she was also beaten and stripped naked by some students of the University of Ghana, for having stolen something belong to her attackers, i.e. students.
We have often been woken up by such dastardly videos going viral, where people – young, middle-aged, women and adults are beaten, humiliated, lynched and set ablaze by a mob for allegedly stealing. Because no one has been brought to book on account of these, more mindless extra-judicial killings and maltreatments are carried out on a daily basis across primordial divides.
Mob justice, may be a trait of a people with long deprivation of justice, which showed the fault-lines in Ghana’s legal system, but it does not justify the despicable descent to this Hobbesian impunity, where all it takes is for somebody to shout ‘ewi’ (thief) and anybody seen running away – the suspect or not – is apprehended, subjected to a kangaroo mob trial before being beaten mercilessly to a pulp – or even killed in the most gruesome manner imaginable.
We cannot gloss over what happened to that poor lady and pretend it is okay to move to the next subject or issue. In as much as the person whose wares were stolen, deserves justice, the lady at the centre of the barbaric act, equally deserves justice.
The police, should not play any hanky-panky with this issue, as happened in the past in this information age, the perpetrators of this heinous act, were caught on camera.
They must be apprehended and brought to book, I and many well-thinking Ghanaians, have no doubt that, it will curtail, if not exterminate the act.
The police and other security agencies should live up to their responsibilities to protect life and property in Ghana. It is also in the over-arching interest of social justice to ensure that those suspected of having committed any serious crime – murder, kidnapping, robbery etc have their day in a competent court of justice.
A common principle in law states that, every accused is presumed innocent, until proven guilty by a competent court of jurisdiction, not a court of public opinion or mob, which is often tainted with bias.
It is disheartening to lose property you have labored for years to acquire; I myself have been a victim, but taken the law into your hands to exact justice, is not an acceptable norm in a sane society.
Why is that, it is our vulnerable women, who are subjected to these unacceptable acts, the only people, who are classified or are qualified to be witches are women, if it is proper to chew human meat, as we believe witches do, why not men.
A group calling itself, Progressive Alliance Media Communicators (PAMC), has issued a statement to condemn the animalistic act.
PAMC has also petitioned the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Afisa Otiko Dzaba, they are demanding justice for the lady, who has been debased.
I stand with them in insisting and calling on the Minister, not to sweep this issue under the carpet. This is her first test case as a minister, who has sworn an oath to protect women and children.
She exhibited a lot of courage, passion and conviction, when she refused to retract and apologize to the former president, John Dramani Mahama, when she appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for calling him wicked.
Nothing can beat what was done to the lady, when we define ‘wicked’. If she is not able to get justice for the lady, then she herself is wicked.
The law remains the only way to take away anybody’s life or dignity, after diligent prosecution before fair assizes.
Jungle justice is a direct consequence of the total breakdown of moral, law and order and an expression of lack of faith in the institutions and system for punishing aberrant behaviour and the lethargic prosecution by compromised law enforcement agencies.
The Minister, her ministry and other relevant agencies, need to begin educating and sensitizing members of the public, not to take the law into their own hands.
We need to reclaim our humanity, as we belong to the global world. What happens in Ghana, once it goes viral is only limited to Ghanaians, but the whole world.
Already we are being considered animals and happenings like this, only reinforces the perception out there about Africans.
We are in the 21st century and we need to behave like people, who understand the times we live in.
The police and courts, however, inept they may be, are there to deal with these kinds of matters and anybody indulging in jungle justice, should be made to account for the sinister indiscretion.