It felt like I was in a trance when I saw the video showing people lynching a supposed armed robber. At that moment, it was my innate human instinct of compassion and empathy that had kicked in. My mind kept rolling trying to find a reason why humans could act with such impunity. I could feel the tears streaming down my cheeks with it stinging salty taste. What has our country come to? When will we stop tantalizing ourselves as the so called peace-loving people? At what point can mob lynching justify a crime someone has committed?
I would later learn that the supposed armed robber who met his untimely death is an army captain who had been designated to the area, leading a contingent of army personnel to protect the people of Denkyira Obuosi from galamsey. This new revelation shock me to the core. My personal connection to the story was deepened because I have a brother who is a Sergeant in the army. The deceased soldier went to the same secondary school as my elder brother, Saint John’s Secondary and Seminary. I went to a similar Garrison school with him in Takoradi and believe at some point we may have crossed path. I wondered if this had happened to my brother in the army what I would have done. My brother has two boys just like this soldier. My thoughts now focused on how his wife, and family are going to take this news. Absolutely no one deserves to die in such a painful and horrendous way.
Listening to the father and many other people who knew this young fallen gallant, made it clear that he was a principled and caring man. He did nothing without consulting his wife and dad. He was a people’s person and even though a military person would be the last to pull the trigger. It is quite evident he believed in the goodness of humanity and assumed his murderers would spare his life. In an interview with the father you could see he was trying to stay strong, for the other members of the family but on frail grounds. I knew it would only take saying few words about his son before he shed tears and so it was. The interviewer’s last question was, do you think you can ever recover from this? This was a profound question and I was mildly irritated at the interviewer for the directness of it but after a big sigh he answered, I should with his eyes downcast and dazed. I keep seeing him standing in front of me and suffering, the father said swallowing tears.
This tragedy is one of too many that has happened in recent years but the gravity of this has brought our shame to bare. As a Nation, we have always prided ourselves as peace loving and a beacon of Africa. We have been in denial for so long refusing to accept that we are probably not what nations around the world purport as to be and that, there is an intrinsic national problem when it comes to our understanding of basic human rights.
I read of the lynching of an alleged mobile phone thief in Kumasi; The wrongful killing of a police escort whom his colleagues mistook for an armed robber; The beating and sexual harassment of an alleged female thief at the Kejetia market. Are any of these lives, lesser? As a country when things like this happen initially we go up in arms swearing to bring all the perpetrators to Justice but a maximum a month will come by and the incident is swept under the carpet. I really hope this time justice is served fully and swiftly.
Messages I have been reading on social media since this incident have all been pointing to the fact that the Nation needs to find a lasting solution to this menace. I believe the solution to this problem is achievable and practicable. I believe there should be a thorough revision of our educational system to bring up individuals even at a young age to appreciate each other as an asset to the nation. Even the Bible says for lack of knowledge my people perish.
I know the major political parties have been trying to put blame on each other since this incident but I think they should bury their heads in the mud and feel deeply ashamed for their indirect contributions to this seemingly lawless climate in the country. They set up vigilante groups who get given underserved power to do whatever they like in the country. What they fail to realise is that this continuously plays into the national mood and at some point, the citizens feel it is okay to take someone’s life. They need to disband and publicly disavow all these mushrooming groups.
Lastly, it is my hope that tempers will calm and that the country will learn that it is about time we make conscious effort to make our institutions work so that no matter what your tribe, educational level, creed or family we all are treated equally before the law.
The spirit without................ ( A poem for Capt Mahama)
On that cloudy Monday dawn
As I set out to jog
I saw the grim of the skies piercing
Down on me.
The plants cried dew,
Flapping and fluttering their leaves.
But I was not going to budge.
I loved the feel of sweat and
Crispy sound of the leaves as trod on them in my stride.
The thought of speaking to my wife and my boys
Afterwards geared me on.
On and on I pushed.
I hummed the lullaby as sang to titty before
I set of to this village.
How I fondly miss my boys.
Now I feel light and I am flying,
Oh, where this jogging will lead me to.
But I can see this man gesturing towards me
And saying it is okay.
What is okay? When can I go home?
This is home He said.
Please give me a body to inhabit to
Go and say good bye to my boys.
Please let them see me with for one
Please tell me this is a dream.
This spirit is without................
By David Mensah
CEO Adwimpa Foundation