This issue on the table today brings to mind a song’s phrase: “…The little things that you do…” Because for a developing country, such as Ghana, the best indications that she is going anywhere, the true welfare and progress of the people, are the little things that point to the palpable quality of moral, democratic, and rule-of-law sophistication of the country. And some of those little things are how seriously we take murder, the quest to arrest the culprit for prosecution, how quickly the police pick up anyone who claims to know a culprit to murder and how the police laud or shame the discloser depending on the value of his or her information.
I could prospect some Dear Readers scoffing or even laughing at this point, because they may be thinking there goes Ti-Kelenkelen again, taking seriously a statement made for mere effect or in the heat of an argument. But that would only be further evidence of what is stated in the above paragraph – we treat as trivial or even worthless matters that deserve every breadth of seriousness. And the plethora of examples of it, even in this Fourth Republic alone, is tending to fuel the unwholesome, even self-deprecating, concept that we do not take ourselves seriously.
During the John Mills era, a gun-toting NDC member went on rampage giving off warning shots in a crowd during a bye-election at Akwatia or Atiwa. A television camera crew captured that scene and telecast it on prime-time television news. It was easy to identify the shooter, yet neither President Mills’ Attorney-General (A-G) nor the IGP at the time deemed it proper to arrest and prosecute that man for reckless endangerment of human lives.
Again in the heat of partisan rivalry and campaigning towards the 2016 General Elections, a so-called brother of Member of Parliament for Asutifi South Constituency, Collins Dauda, went public to proclaim he has killed people before and would do it again if the NPP dared him. Of course, people called for his arrest. Eventually, the police told Ghanaians the self-proclaimed killer has disappeared. Yet, contrary to popular opinion, let no one doubt the efficiency of the Ghana Police; if they decide to find that man, they will, even if he is outside Ghana’s borders.
Early last week Ghanaians were alarmed when two ogboros of the NPP threw tantrums in public and indulged in verbal exchanges so vile. Thankfully a journalist managed to record it. The personalities are the Minister for Women, Gender and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, and the NPP Northern Regional chairman, Bugri Naabu, who is a private legal practitioner. The behaviour was, is, disgraceful, because their public-official status obliges them to act in ways that make them role models for Africa’s young adults and children.
Nevertheless, Ghanaians would have discussed that affair for a while and soon dismissed it as a disgraceful episode of public officials descending into the gutter in public. However, statements made by Bugri Naabu during the exchanges are about a possible culprit in a pending murder investigation. That makes the matter grievous.
In 2015 the NPP chairman for the Upper East Region, Mahama Adams, was murdered, and a brother of suspended NPP National Chairman, Paul Afoko, Gregory Afoko, is on trial for that murder. During the verbal exchanges with Otiko Afisa Djaba last week, Bugri Naabu claimed she had two meetings, one in the Northern Region and another in the Upper West Region, and then the murder happened.
Ti-Kelenkelen is not going to conduct language analysis of Bugri Naabu’s statement, because the import is clear – he has established a kind of linkage between the claimed Otiko Afisa Djaba meetings and the murder of Mahama Adams. In plain language, he is suggesting Otiko Afisa Djaba knows about the murder.
Did he say that because he knows it for a fact? Or he said that simply to entrap President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo into giving him an ambassadorial post? Whatever his reason, murder is no joking matter. The circumstances in which Mahama Adams was murdered are unclear and so the people of Ghana, the state, need answers. Thus it is imperative for the police to invite anyone claiming to possess information that will lead to arrest of the true culprits. And where he or she refuses to honour the invitation the police should arrest him or her.
The NDC has, rightly, called for Bugri Naabu’s “arrest.” Unfortunately, it appears their prime objective is to make partisan-political capital out of it. They are mostly placing this latest Bugri Naabu claim side-by-side another claim he made during last year’s campaign season that Candidate Mahama had tried to bribed him to foul-mouth Candidate Akufo-Addo. Largely, they are only calling Bugri Naabu’s credibility into question.
However, there is a larger, more fundamental issue. Bugri Naabu’s earlier claim was a bribery allegation against Candidate John Mahama. And today, former President Mahama, if he is hurt, could bring Bugri Naabu to court in an effort to redeem his (Mahama’s) reputation. On the other hand, murder is a felony, and, as a principle of criminal law says, a crime is committed against an individual, but is perpetrated against the people.
Bugri Naabu is reported to have apologised to Otiko Afisa Djaba, claiming it was a slip of tongue,” but that should not end it. He is pointing to a key personality as a possible culprit in the murder of Mahama Adams, so why are the police tarrying at inviting or arresting him? At the risk of being accused of insulting ourselves, Ti-Kelenkelen (as a student of philosophy) must call the creature by name – the tarrying of the police is an instance of our collective self-deprecation. And it is imperative that we begin to redeem our collective-self image.
Thus if, for whatever reason, the police will not arrest him, let the Attorney-General, Gloria Akuffo, ask the police to do it. Bugri Naabu is not an NDC man; that forestalls any accusation of political witch-hunting. Many will put the tarrying of the police and A-G’s Department to the fact of Bugri Naabu belonging to President Akufo-Addo’s party. If that is an issue, then let Nana Akufo-Addo remember that the floating voters who staked their hopes to give him the historic win are observers to this partiality in kicking the procedural and legal process into motion.
Beyond the partisan and electoral argument, the Police Service is autonomous and the IGP, Mr. David Asante-Apeatu, can order the invitation or arrest of Bugri Naabu without any directive from the A-G or the president. All it takes is for the IGP to have the courage to do his job. And knowing Nana Akufo-Addo’s rule-of-law credentials, he will not sack the IGP for inviting or even arresting Bugri Naabu. Nevertheless, in the impossible event that the president does, the IGP could walk away feeling proud that he lost his job for obeying the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Ghana. He will earn our respect and the respect of the world; in fact, it will be the shiniest spot on his CV.
1. “…For a developing country, such as Ghana, the best indications that she is going anywhere, the true welfare and progress of the people, are the little things that point to the palpable quality of moral, democratic, and rule-of-law sophistication of the country.”
2. “The behaviour was, is, disgraceful, because their public-official status obliges them to act in ways that make them role models for Africa’s young adults and children.”
3. “All it takes is for the IGP to have the courage to do his job. And knowing Nana Akufo-Addo’s rule-of-law credentials, he will not sack the IGP for inviting or even arresting Bugri Naabu.”
Ti-Kelenkelen…with Yirenkyi Lamptey