The Police And Sankore

Below the powerful, the ordinary multitudes, in their turn seized by the fever of jealous ownership, turned our people into a confused competition of warring gangs, each gang under its red-eyed champion seeking force or ruse to force its will against the others. In the end, it was this hot greed itself that destroyed the power of the men. They had smashed up everything, and in their festival of annihilation, they had forgotten to spare each other and themselves. It was left for the women to begin the work of healing.

It was not any violence from females that cracked the rule of fathers. It was the fathers themselves who, splitting in their head-long greed for power into seven warring factions, broke each other’s strength and left themselves impotent against the coming of more reasonable nights. (Ayi Kwei Armah, Two Thousand  Seasons).

I do not know that part of the country that well but I believe it must be a beautiful place to live. At a certain period in my life, I lived in a rural cocoa producing area where the only means of transportation was the rail transport. Having left the bustling city life of Takoradi, I was initially pissed off. But today, when I cast my mind back, I have a nostalgic feeling of that rural life where we lived very closely with nature and everything was almost free.

Life was much simpler and easier even though the urge was in every youth to be in a city. Sankore surely is a much bigger town than the village I grew up in. I am sure, that no matter what challenges confront the people in that town, many are comfortable living with their relations and enjoying what they do out there than being forced out into other communities, be they large or small.

It is very sad that democratic politics is gradually dividing this nation irreconcilably. And it is between the NPP and the NDC. Last week in this column, I had cautioned that gradually, the public is losing confidence in the people they have voted for and in whose hands the resources and powers of state have been entrusted for the good of us all.

I first heard about the murderous politics of the area in 2009 when one young man was reported to have murdered another young man because of internecine political disagreements based on concretized political dogmas and needless hero-worshipping. Pardon me if there were previous such incidences that I did not know of. The struggle and the murders that have sadly gone on revolve around two personalities of the NPP and the NDC, namely George Boakye and Eric Opoku who alternate as the Members of Parliament. George Boakye, I know very well, because before he went to Parliament, we were all DCEs under President Kufuor’s administration.

My assessment of him is a man of few words, very calm and incapable of hurting a fly. However, ‘there is no art to find the mind’s construction in the face’. Mr. Eric Opoku, I met just briefly as a Member of a three-man Transition Committee for four regions which included Brong Ahafo.  I will want to leave his demeanour and my personal assessment of him for now. My worry about him and what role he might have played in either escalating or calming down the unfortunate tensions in that part of the country, is the reported case of the arrest of a fugitive who allegedly killed a fellow citizen as earlier stated above in his residence in Sakumono in Tema.

Even though the Police is reported to have brought the fugitive back to the Region, there is still no reported case of any prosecution having taken place and the suspect having been convicted or set free by the courts. Reports, however, indicated that the suspect was walking freely in the town and further mocking the friends and relations of the murdered person. Mr. Eric Opoku was at the time Deputy Regional Minister for the Brong Ahafo Region.

While not imputing any connivance between the Police and the now Member of Parliament for the area, the questions that need immediate answers from the Police Service are: did they follow up with their investigations into the murder case when the suspect was smoked out of his hide-out in Tema? Were there any evidence that linked him to the murder? If yes, did they go ahead with prosecutions and what was the outcome of the prosecution?

There are also accusations leveled against George Boakye who was also an NPP Member of Parliament in the same area at a point in time and that during his tenure, similar acts of politically motivated violence were meted out to his political opponents, what did the Police do about them? Were any group of people arrested for the crimes against citizens of the area and were there prosecutions as well?

Since there have been more than one such case of violence and murder of people in the area on political grounds, has the Police at any time made any arrests and allowed the Courts to deal with the suspects within the remits of the law? It is certainly the inaction of the Police that has escalated the unfortunate internecine and seemingly intractable cyclical warfare amongst otherwise brothers and sisters in that part of the country.

What inhibit the Police from doing their professional work of ensuring justice which would leave in its wake, peace and tranquility? Have the Police personnel stationed there lost their professionalism or they are intimidated by the politicians when they are in power? Any time the Police swings to the dictates of political powers wherever they work, impunity reigns, might instead of rule of law controls the society while the weak and feeble lie prostrate before criminals with political support.

Within the past one year or so, the sitting Member of Parliament has been subjected to two criminal attacks by people variously described as NPP hooligans or armed robbers, depending on who is speaking. The MP’s life is in danger and he is being intimidated to stay away from his hometown and Constituency. This is highly unfair. The fact that the attackers went on to inflict their barbaric trademark on other people perceived to be supporters or sympathizers of the MP cannot rule out politics in these criminal attacks. I hear some arrests have been made and it is my hope that the Police will not crumble under the yoke of any political manipulations to abandon any investigations they are undertaking into this matter.

Conversely, it should also send a warning to the MP, Eric Opoku that positions, particularly political ones are not possessions and that under the Fourth Republic, it will be foolish for any political office holder to think that whatever political position he or she holds will be held permanently such that they can engage in any form of criminal activity or aid and abet crimes against political opponents overtly or covertly and get away with it.

As long as their political parties remain in power, they may escape from the long arms of the law through the use of intimidation and subtle punitive actions against those law enforcement officers, but what we do not learn as politicians is that once we have political power, we think we are larger than the universe.  Rightly or wrongly, Mr. Eric Opoku seems to be having a taste of what happened in the past to others. Yes, at that point in time, George Boakye was shouting his voice hoarse, blaming Erick Opoku for the murderous acts. It is the turn of Eric Opoku to blame George Boakye.

Is that what the people have been voting them to office to do? To set brothers against brothers to serve their parochial political interests? If the two of them have issues that cannot be resolved through common sense, then they can create a platform to sort it out themselves and not use other people’s children for their proxy war. The people of Sankore, just like millions of Ghanaians elsewhere, have major problems of social and economic nature to address. If the two personalities cannot mobilize themselves to deal with their problems, they should give way to better thinkers to help the people.