Thursday, 22 June 2017

Road Safety: A Shared And Collective Responsibility

Undoubtedly, road transport remains the largest and main mode of transportation in Ghana. As a major transport network, it serves an array of purposes for both travelers and industries. Safety on the roads has become a major challenge in the country. Globally, road safety is being tackled as a public health and developmental issue which Ghana is no exception. Road traffic crashes and the associated casualties undermine socio-economic development especially in low and middle income countries like Ghana. Owing to this devastating effect, the United Nations (UN) declared a decade of Action for Road Safety with a call on member countries to reduce road traffic crashes by 50 percent by the end of 2020. To achieve this, the National Road Safety Commission and other stakeholders are working hard to ensure that road traffic crashes and injuries are reduced to minimum levels in accordance with the set target.

The National Road Safety Commission was established by an Act of Parliament in 1999 to play the role of a lead agency to spearhead, collaborate and coordinate other stakeholders on road safety issues in the country. One of the major activities through which the Commission uses to achieve this mandate is the nationwide road safety education. The Commission generally employs road user educational campaigns to help compliment other road safety measures. In recent past, the Commission has implemented series of campaigns with slogans like "Don't Drive Tired", "Avoid Drink Driving", "Use of Crash Helmet", "Be Alert! Look out for other Road Users." The Commission is also focusing on motor cycle safety issues to highlight the rising trend of motor cycle related deaths and the measures to help reverse it.

During this year's Easter festivities, the Commission launched a campaign dubbed "Safety First, Think Safety and Drive Safely". This also paved the way for road safety advocates to hit the major roads to advise drivers to minimize their speed limits, empower passengers to speak up against driver misconduct and pedestrians to keep to safe walking and crossing practices In all these, it is important to stress that the Commission's work alone cannot ensure success unless all road users are actively involved. In Ghana, available data suggests that, Pedestrians, motorcyclists and passengers account for nearly seventy percentages of the traffic casualties. This situation is often the consequences of speeds especially in urbanized environments by drivers, failure by pedestrians to cross and use roads safely and failure of motor riders to stop for pedestrians especially at intersections.

It is evident that beyond the advocacy work of the NRSC and its implementing stakeholders, the onus also lies on the drivers, passengers and pedestrians to adhere to the road safety regulations. It is unfortunate that most road users tend to forget that they actually own their safety in their hands once on the road. In Ghana, the second most vulnerable road user class is the passenger. Passenger deaths account for almost 23% of all road traffic deaths in the country. The reason stems largely from the fact that, passengers often assume passive roles and do not speak up against any wrong doing on the roads largely due to the fear of intimidation and being branded "too known" as we say in our local parlance. This situation has led to several avoidable instances. About 90% of causes of road traffic crashes can be attributed to human error. Negative road user behaviour including speeding, drinking driving and others contribute to indiscipline on our roads. These crashes have a very huge impact on the productive human resources base of the country especially the youth who happen to be the future of the country.

About 60 percent of crash victims are between the productive age brackets of 18 to 55years. This shows that the more crashes cases we record, the more deadening the impact it likely to have on us. Road safety is a collective and shared responsibility and we must all have our hands on deck. The National Road Safety has its part to play as the lead agency alongside its supporting stakeholders. However, road users also have their parts to play. It must be a conscious attempt working towards a collective goal. It must be a collective goal and once there is a break within the chain, it affects the level of success. The goal is to eradicate road traffic crashes and injuries by 50% by the year 2020. Let our goal as road users whether as a driver, a passenger, a motorist or a pedestrian ensure that as road users we arrive alive!

By: Samuel Owusu-Yeboah, Information Officer, NRSC communications Unit. Contact: 0244672101.

Roles and expectations of the newly sworn in Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo

History was repeated June 19 when President Akufo-Addo swore in Justice Sophia Akuffo as the 13th Chief Justice of Ghana, the second female to have attained that height. The first being her immediate predecessor Justice Georgina Theodora Wood who retired about two weeks ago after almost 47 years of active public service, the last ten years being the Chief Justice and head of Ghana's judiciary. It is disturbing that after 60 years of independence only a few women are in high positions in Ghana. Justice Sophia Akuffo's nomination by the president and her subsequent vetting and approval by Parliament is therefore a feather in the cup of gender advocates. It is a major boost towards women empowerment. The point must however be made that she was not chosen simply because she is a woman. The fact is she is highly qualified, very competent and capable of doing the job. She has over the years exhibited these qualities as a lawyer which propelled her to the notice of the 1st President of the 4th Republic, Jerry John Rawlings, to appoint her to the Supreme Court some 22 years ago.

The vetting process brought into perspective various matters about the judiciary which Ghanaians have concerns about. These range from the integrity of the judiciary, political and other interferences, delays in justice delivery, loss of confidence in the justice system and other related issues of mob action, the conduct of lawyers and legal education in Ghana. It is refreshing that she has expressed her desire to address these issues. She must begin by restoring confidence in the judiciary bleeding from the bruises it sustained following that corruption expose by ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. Even before Anas' expose, it has been a long held notion that justice is for sale to the highest bidder. Whether it is a reality or a myth, it is believed that ordinary citizens cannot win any court case against people of high social standing, rich and those who have connections with politicians and other influential figures. Madam Akuffo must do everything within her power to erase this notion from the minds of Ghanaians.

Justice they say must not only be done but it must be seen to be done. One other issue has to do with delays in the court processes. Often times, lawyers and court staff hide behind the phrase that the wheels of justice grind slowly, to unduly delay cases. Sometimes as a deliberate attempt to frustrate one party to the case. The Chief Justice must initiate immediate reforms in court procedures to remove these unnecessary delays. This is one area that she can bring her ICT expertise to bear. Justice is becoming increasingly expensive and a preserve for the rich.

First, it has to do with filing fees and other court processes and the amount charged by lawyers. The Chief Justice must reconsider these legal fees. If the fees cannot be reviewed downwards, safety net measures must be put in place to carter for the poor. Justice Akuffo must also cleanse the judiciary of perception of political bias. It is believed that people who flout the laws in one way or the other are able to escape, when their parties are in government. This must not continue because it breeds lawlessness and anarchy. Just like Malcom X, the judges must be for the truth, no matter who tells it and they must be for justice no matter who it is for or against.

There should be efforts to de-congest the prisons. This can be enhanced by a re-look at the sentencing policy. The Chief Justice must be a champion of non-custodial sentences. It makes more sense to let people render communal services like sweeping public places, desilting drains and disposing refuse than housing them in prisons and spending money feeding them.

The Chief Justice must deepen transparency in the justice delivery system. There should not be a repeat of what happened the other time when the sitting judge in the trial of suspects involved in the murder of former MP for Abuakwa South, J.B. Dankwa Adu, drove journalists out of her court. If court proceedings cannot be carried live as was the case in the 2012 election petition hearing, the least that we can accept is where the media have an unfettered access to every court process. The judiciary must also do more to protect the fundamental human right of every citizen to free speech. Often times, the law of contempt and scandalising the court is used to gag citizens from expressing their views on issues having to do with the courts. Despite her past record, the Chief Justice can institute reforms which will ensure that contemnors are given non-custodial sentences.

Madam Sophia Akuffo has just three years to retire, it may be a short period but long enough for her to make a great impact and leave a lasting legacy.

BY BUBU KLINOGO, A JOURNALIST.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change and United States’ decision

In 2015, leaders of 197 countries met in the French capital of Paris to deliberate on how to minimize the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. Greenhouse gas emissions emanating from manufacturing and other related activities are having debilitating effects on the global environment. The earth's human habitation quality is strongly being undermined and gradually rendering biological diversity of many species inhabitable. Realising the devastating effect of global warming on current and future generations, leaders at the Paris meeting drafted an agreement to guide the industrial activities of member countries. The collective consensus culminated in what is now known as the Paris Agreement. It was precisely touted as historic because it provided the platform to mobilise global effort at addressing the threat of climate change.

On 5th October, last year, the threshold of parties required to enforce the Paris Agreement was obtained. That is 147 out of 197 countries have already ratified the agreement. The Paris Agreement which came into force on 4th November, last year, seeks among other things, to maintain global temperature rise in the 21st century below 2 Degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, adapt measures that would lead to further decrease in the global temperature level to 1.5 Degrees Celsius, and to provide the requisite assistance to enhance member countries’ ability to effectively combat the negative impact of climate change. It is worth-emphasising the resolve of advanced economies to contribute financially to enhance capacity building and to introduce a new technology framework to support the initiatives of poorer and developing countries to tackle the issue of climate change.

Under the Paris Agreement, each country is expected to develop nationally determined contributions to support the campaign against global warming. There is no doubt that one of the major culprits of high-carbon emissions in the world is the United States of America. To this end, any effort aimed at minimising the adverse effect of climate change would require active participation of the United States.

At a G8 summit at Taormina in Italy the United States resolved to review the Paris Agreement in relation to the country’s existing policy on climate change. But barely a week after the summit, US President Donald Trump back tracked on his earlier decision. President Donald Trump’s pronouncement was greeted with a barrage of criticisms. Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel described President Trump’s move as regrettable, and expressed the belief that all leaders have an obligation to protect the planet. Similarly, the British Prime Minister, Theresa May is of the firm belief the Paris Agreement would help keep energy clean, affordable and secure for businesses and individuals.

In view of this, the Indian government is strongly committed to taking a leadership role in saving the planet from the harmful effect of climate change. It welcomes news that Italy, France and Germany have signed a joint declaration opposing President Trump’s decision. The declaration was supported by the Presidents of the European Commission and European Council. In order to give the Paris Agreement a major boost, the European Union (EU) and China have committed to raising $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries reduce high-carbon emissions. The European Commissioner for Climate Action Miguel Arias Canete has also indicated that none of the 29 Articles contained in the Paris Agreement is negotiable. It is believed that the effect of the United States pullout on climate change by the end of the century would be about 0.3 Degrees Celsius. The realisation of the minimal effect of the United States pullout would hinge on effective implementation of measures and strategies contained in the Paris Agreement.

Member countries must strive to redeem their pledges and work in close collaboration with the developing countries to make the global fight against climate change successful.

BY: DR. Ebenezer M. Ashley (PhD). Lead Consultant/CEO Eben Consultancy Fellow Chartered Economist & Council Member, ICEG.

RESTORATION OF THE GHANAIAN IDENTITY

According to the English Oxford Dictionary, Restoration means; the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. It is clear that over the years, some of the Ghanaian identity got lost and needed to be reclaimed.

To quote Former President Rawlings, '' When did we go so wrong, and so far? .He was making reference to the unfortunate murder in Denkyira Obuasi, in cold blood of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama, while on a national assignment at Diaso in the Central Region, recently. His beef was that in the past if an alleged robber or thief was caught, he was given a few slaps and handed over to the law enforcement agencies. Today, the situation is completely different, where ''instant justice'', or better still ''mob injustice'' has become a thing of the time. It is for this reason that we need to restore the values that Ghana has lost.

That is why the National Commission For Civic Education, NCCE needs to be applauded for beginning a conversation to re-claim the Ghanaian values, by convening a stakeholder National Dialogue, themed ''Restoring the Ghanaian Identity, Our Values, Our Passion''.

Listening to a more than Ninety -year old brain like, Justice VCRAC Crabbe give reason for the re-evaluation of self and identity, at the same time give hope that , it is possible for Ghana to restore its identity and it is possible for all citizens to revert to the values and passions of what defines us as a people.

These values include; nationalism, patriotism, hard work, excellence, truthfulness, sincerity, humility, decency, respect, law abiding , and the list goes on. Justice Crabbe believes to restore the Ghanaian values, citizens must go back to their roots, where the home and the family forms the fundamentals of a person's identity and values.

He told a story of how he lost his father at eleven months and got total care from his mother. In his view, mothers have the onerous task of bringing up children in the Ghanaian way, and described as a sad phenomenon , Ghanaians who are living an adulterated culture of ''individualism'', referring to the fact that every Ghanaian is born into a family, and this aspect of the identity and unique culture must be preserved.

It is heartwarming the call by Chairperson of the NCCE, Josephine Nkrumah for the re-introduction of civic education in the school curricular, a point Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia supported.

With the constitutional mandate of making sure that Ghanaians are educated on their rights and responsibilities among others, the NCCE obviously has a herculean task to accomplish.

It is therefore in the right direction that many have called for the proper resourcing of the Commission to ensure the work is done. It is also refreshing to hear the Omanhene of Essikado, Nana Kobina Nketiah ask that the NCCE be likened to a church or mosque, where monthly tithes are donated to facilitate smooth operations.

To restore the Ghanaian values and identity, corruption ought to give way to honesty, disrespect to respect, selfishness and greed to consideration for others, self -doubt to self-worth and lack of critical thinking and apathy to enthusiasm, interest and concern.

Reiterating President Akufo -Addo's call to action and reinvigorate patriotism and nationalism ; he said,'' we must be real citizens and not mere spectators''. When one visits a place like the US, upon speaking , the first question one is asked is ;''where you from''; that tells a lot; ''identity''. So where are we as Ghanaians and where are we heading to ? as a nation .No nation is said to have developed without focusing on discipline!, nor clear values and identity.

This is a call to action as citizens of this dear and beloved nation called GHANA, that it is time for all hands to be on deck, indeed! it is time for the ''Restoration of the Ghanaian Identity, Our Values, and Our Passion''.

BY REBECCA EKPE, A JOURNALIST.

EMERGENCE OF UGLY FACE OF ETHNOCENTRISM IN NORTHERN REGION

The Sixth Edition of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines ethnocentric as “based on the ideas and beliefs of one particular culture or race, using these to judge other cultures”. This is not an attitude or behaviour that is accepted in any civilized or democratic society and must be collectively condemned wherever it is emerging. All well-meaning Ghanaians will agree that the recent media reports of two groups clashing over the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer ( CEO) for the Tamale Teaching Hospital was uncalled for and undermines the legitimacy of appointing authorities. It is significant to note that both Dr. Prosper Akanmbong and Dr. David Zaawumya Akolbila hail from the Upper East Region and must have been appointed to the high office of CEO of the Tamale Teaching Hospital on merit and not because of the region they come from. This is not the first time the traditional chiefs in the Tamale Metropolis are reported to have allegedly sanctioned demonstrations and disruptions of handing over ceremonies especially at the Northern Regional Health and Education Directorates.

For instance, in 2015, the youth demonstrated and disrupted the handing over ceremony at the Regional Health Directorate. The then Regional Director, Dr Twumasi had attained the compulsory retirement age of 60 years and was to hand over to Dr. Kofi Issah. Ironically, Dr. Issah had served in the same directorate for many years before accepting a routine transfer to the Upper West Region as Deputy Regional Director in charge of public health. The reason was simple; he was not a citizen because he hails from the Upper East Region. The Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service as well as the Regional Coordinating Council kept mute and saw nothing wrong. Earlier, Dr. Ken Sagoe, the then first CEO of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, who before his appointment, was the Director of Human Resources of the Ghana Health Service Headquarters, faced stiff opposition but remained resolute before he retired and paved the way for Dr Prosper Akanbong’s appointment amidst controversy. It must be placed on record that Dr. Rasmus Adongo, now on retirement as the Director of Planning, Budget, Monitoring and Evaluation, GHS, Headquarters, is an indigene of the Upper East Region, but headed the regional directorates of the Upper West and Western Regions.

Currently, the Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Alexis Nang-baefoba, is from the Upper West Region. The immediate past Medical Director of the Accra Regional Hospital (former Ridge Hospital), Dr. Abanga hails from the Upper East Region. In all these transfers and appointment, the youth and chiefs of the Upper West, Ashanti, Western and Greater Accra Regions never resisted appointments on the bases of ethnicity. Apart from the health directorates, it has happened to one or two people from other regions, especially the Upper West Region who were posted to the Wa Municipal Directorate of Education. This is unbecoming of the Tamale Metropolis and we must call a spade a spade. Those who practice ethos: the moral idea and attitudes that belong to a particular group or society must ensure respect and decency for other groups and societies. When shall we as a people, restore the Ghanaian identity in terms of values and passion?

For the Kandahar Boys and the Coalition of Dagbon Youth, the least said about them the better. Long live Ghana, long live Ghanaians and shame unto those who exhibit ethnocentric tendencies.

BY DAN OSMAN MWIN, HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS OF THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.

DE-POLITICISATION OF MAJOR MAXWELL MAHAMA KILLING

Last Friday, June 9, Ghanaians were united in grief at the state funeral for Major Maxwell Mahama who met his untimely death two weeks ago at Denkyira Obuasi in the Central Region while on a national assignment.

The gruesome murder of Major Mahama did not only send shock waves across the country but raise concerns as to why any group of people could commit such an unimaginable detestable act.

The various tributes read at the forecourt of the State House during the burial service painted a picture of an intelligent officer who given the opportunity to live his life in full will have contributed in no small way to the country's development.

Unfortunately, this was not to be. In view of the fact that Major Mahama was in the line of duty, to combat illegal mining or “galamsey” in the area, any attempt to politicise his death and burial will point to a country which is not grateful to its heroes and heroines. He was, therefore, pursing a noble duty aimed at protecting the interest of the nation as a whole. His death did not only hurt his immediate family but the entire nation could not come to terms with bizarre circumstances surrounding his demise. Again, the late Major’s colleagues in the military are so devastated that some of them given the chance would have also taught the culprits a lesson they would not have easily forgotten. However, since we all believe in constitutional democracy, the various leaders in the country, sad as they are, have impressed upon every one deeply affected by this incidence to remain calm for the law to take its course.

The President, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo, has already promised that the culprits will be rigidly dealt with according to the laws of the country. Similarly, former Presidents, Jerry John Rawlings and John Mahama, in their condolence messages prayed that justice will take its 
course in memory of the late military officer.

These are difficult times for the military colleagues of the late Major Mahama as well as members of the family, particularly his wife. For this reason, it will be unreasonable for any group of people to politicise the issue for any reason. Usually in politics, people play gimmicks with issues in order to score political points against their political opponents. However, politicisation of this matter should not be given accommodation in the socio-economic realms of this country.

What has happened is very unfortunate and requires careful analysis of all issues involved in order to arrive at a meaningful conclusion and prevent another recurrence.

Those who caused his unfortunate murder, therefore, deserve to be strictly dealt with according to law so as to serve as a deterrent to all others in future.

The issue of in a matter politicisation of this nature is not necessary since it stands the chance of turning the country into a state of confusion, with the potential to bury the true facts of the case. No Ghanaian from any of the political divide should aggravate the pain of the bereaved families by politicising of the matter for the purpose of scoring cheap political points.

This is not the time for any blame game, because the incident could have happened to anyone at anytime. The sad death of Major Mahama should, therefore teach us a good lesson to be ever prepared to ward off similar unfortunate occurrences irrespective of the people involved. This way, we will be helping the country to move forward with a united front for the benefit of all and sundry as citizens of this noble and great nation.

BY KOFI AMPONSAH-BEDIAKO, HEAD OF PUBLIC RELATIONS, GHANA STANDARDS AUTHORITY

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Lawlessness In Ghana

What should have been a normal endurance routine for a soldier turned out to be a brutal, painful and a deadly voyage. A young promising captain of the Ghana Armed Forces had his life snuffed out in the gruesome of ways. On Monday May 29, the whole country was stunned when news broke about the hideous murder of Major (then Captain) Maxwell Adam Mahama at Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central Region of Ghana. The young Captain of the Fifth Infantry Battalion of the Ghana Armed Forces was on an officially-sanctioned mission when he met his untimely death. He was the commander of a security taskforce on ‘Galamsey’. Some residents of Denkyira-Obuasi accused him of being an armed robber and without recourse to the law Captain Mahama was found guilty and lynched by a mob and parts of his body set ablaze.

The circumstances leading to the death of the Captain has stunned most if not all Ghanaians - perhaps except the perpetrators of the heinous crime. This brutal act raises questions on the state of lawlessness in the country. In recent times, Ghana has witnessed a lot of violence linked with lawlessness. Who can forget the violent havoc wreaked by the Delta Force vigilante group on various personalities and establishments? Barely a month ago, the same impunity and violent lawlessness that led to the demise of Captain Mahama was exhibited by some young Ghanaians at the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange. A man was alleged to have been beaten to death by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly Guards. Agitated traders and hawkers in turn took the law into their own hands and destroyed several properties at the recently inaugurated Interchange. Just when it seemed some level of calm was returning to the country, a violent demonstration against the Electricity Company of Ghana broke out in Somanya in the Yilo Krobo district of the Eastern Region. Frustrations over high electricity bills spilled over into a “free-for-all” violent display. Properties were vandalized in the end.

The gruesome murder and death of Captain Mahama is a wake-up call to Ghanaians to end all violent acts. The public outburst, the condemnation, tears and inaudible pain that swept through the entire country must be a clear indication to Ghanaians to end violence. We need a concerted effort to put an end to all acts that led to the death of the young army captain – ‘galamsey’, lawlessness, violence, disrespect for human dignity, savagery, mob attack and the reign of instant justice. The days of being our brothers’ keeper need to be revisited. Our accolade of being hospitable people should not be dragged in the mud. We must as a country promote communal peace to propel Ghana’s developmental agenda. We should also have regard for human life. Ghana’s Justice System needs reforms so that people will not feel that their only recourse to justice lies in instant justice, lawlessness and violence.

The military, colleagues of Captain Mahama and the entire security apparatus need recommendation for showing restraint in the face of provocation. They have indeed set the pace for a peaceful campaign that violence, lawlessness, mob attack and instant justice should never be an option in any situation.

Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama, duty called and you obeyed. Rest well and may the good Lord watch over your family and comfort them in this trying moment.

Author: Henrietta A. Afful
GBCONLINE

Tribute to the Late Major Maxwell Adam Mahama

9th June 2017, Ghana mourns yet another gallant citizen, who died in the course of duty. The nation is grieving as a result of the termination of the exuberant and useful life of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama. The nation on Monday, the 29th of May woke up to a horrible and tragic story. A serving military officer then Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama, working to protect the lives of citizens was lynched by the same people he was assigned to protect at Denkyira Obuase. The nation has been left terrified, traumatised and sad as innocent blood has been shed. A promising and fruitful life has been wasted through instant justice. Two different accounts of the untimely and unnecessary death have been put in the public domain. That is he was mistaken for an armed robber and secondly, it was a calculated attempt by the people of Denkyira Obuase to take his life as Major Mahama was seen as a thorn in their flesh, because he thwarted their galamsey operations.

Whichever is true, the act is condemnable, unacceptable, inhumane, cruel, barbaric and wicked. This is what well-meaning Ghanaians have all agreed, on the death of the exceptional Ghanaian soldier. He has been described as loving, hardworking, disciplined and forward-looking. He passed his examinations to the rank of Captain at one sitting as against three or four sittings by most candidates. He had already passed his physical and written promotion examination to the rank of Major and was waiting to complete serving his four years as a captain before being promoted. He was so ambitious and intelligent that he gained admission to the University of Ghana, Legon and the University of Cape Coast, the same year, while at the same time, had an offer to be trained as an army officer. He chose the military with the advice and guidance of his parents. He was the best marksman of his graduation group and served in the army and Ghana, for that matter, with distinction until his untimely death.

By dint of hard work he was due to obtain his second Masters degree in criminology from the University of Leister in the United Kingdom. His ultimate goal in the next five years was to enter into full time university lecturing. Yes he had fascinating dreams which were unfulfilled. Major Mahama got married to Barbara in August 2012 and the couple was blessed with two children. He was peace loving and according to his father often-preferred dialogue in addressing situations. The monument to be erected in his honour as promised by the Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, will forever tell it to the hills the trees, and generations yet unborn that his life was stolen away in broad day light, though he shouted that he was innocent and a soldier.

A real and fantastic soldier who died still holding his weapon. Above all he was a caring and loving soldier who was lynched but did not use his weapon to destroy his assailants. Major Mahama you have paid your dues, if humanity did not recognise your good works, never mind, the Good Lord saw all your deeds, your humility, faithfulness, your greatest desire to serve God and country. He will reward you. For it is said that “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on” “Yea,” saith the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.”

Rest in perfect peace, Major Maxwell Adam Mahama.

BY NANA SIFA TWUM, MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT – LONDON- UK.

What kind of people are we?


I made the terrible mistake of watching a bit of the lynching of Captain Maxwell Mahama. I regret it. I can not sleep. I have never seen anything like that before. I know it happens. I've seen it on television and on the internet. But I never saw it actually happening.

In the past, the most I saw was picture of the victim after the fact - dead. I guess that is the lesson we all have to learn from this tragic death...if we turn a blind eye to travesties in our society, one day it will be brought to our doorsteps.

Our old proverbs are replete with warnings about this kind of 'head-in-the-sand' attitude.

Well, this time we've seen the killing in action; the killing of a human being with glee by other so called "human beings"; hurling rocks at him as though they were trying to kill a large python or a wild animal that had taken a life from the community.

Other attackers were wielding big sticks like fufu pestles and scrambling for an opportunity to inflict their bit of incomprehensible cruelty on a cornered human being pleading for his life.

I could hear people saying "He is a thief" when others enquired about what the commotion was all about.

I think I heard one lonely man asking the growing crowd to take it easy, but alas, there were too few like him.

I have heard all kinds of explanations for why people act in this way - "the police do nothing when culprits are brought before them"; "the courts free people when they should be punished"; and so people have decided to take the law into their own hands and kill another person to dispense their own version of justice. Justice?

What kind of God do we think we serve? Is that what he does to us?

You know what that sounds like to me?

A failed state - where the laws don't work and where civilization has still not fully taken hold. Think about it.

We have not succeeded in taming the base instincts of man.

Taking the law into ones hands because the system does not work is an uncivilized approach.

What is the difference between us and the animals that we claim to be lords over if we can do things like this?

In a civilized society, law and order is enforced without fear or favor by institutions.

People don't have to "enforce" their own version of the law because they can't rely on their institutions.

We are truly in a crisis. There is a breakdown of law and order in Ghana.

The base instinct of Ghanaians is coming to the fore more and more and it is not by accident.

For far too long, indiscipline has gotten away unpunished. Vigilante Justice has gotten away unpunished.

It is time to initiate a war against indiscipline. Indiscipline in government, at work and in our homes.

Those who know better must speak up! Just look at what happens on our roads.

Just look at the headlines in our newspapers of so called 'honorable' giver officials and people in high places stealing with impunity and not feeling sorry for other people who cannot even afford a meal a day.

Just look at how the so called Delta Force went into the court to free their colleagues.

Just look at the phenomenon of land guards who are killing people and being killed by people.

Just look at galamsey!! These are not unrelated. They are a sign of the times!

How can things be this bad?

We better watch ourselves. Doing nothing until it's at breaking point is no good.

Frankly, the horrendous things some of our people do have always been there, but because they are never addressed, now it's in our faces.

Now lets try and ignore this and see what the consequences will be.

What kind of a people are we? And we pride ourselves on peaceful elections when we do barbaric things like this?

Ghana Stop it. Stop beating live human beings to death!

It is too late for Captain Mahama and the many innocent people that have gone before him. But we must ensure that their deaths are not in vain.

Mahama's death must herald the beginning of an unflinching commitment to fight indiscipline and impunity in Ghanaian society.

We must punish the instigator of this dastardly act severely to serve as a deterrent to others. We must punish all the accomplices.

We simply cannot afford to let this go unpunished and likewise we cannot afford to let the blatant stealing of taxpayers money to go unpunished.

We cannot read for months and months about people being taken in and out of court with no real closing. It is not good enough.

We will not let this matter rest. We cannot let this matter rest. We have to keep fighting because in the end this country has to be better than this.

I am tired of hearing about peaceful elections, political stability and a free press.

We achieved that more than 20 years ago. It's time to boast about something else.

Ghana has under-performed and the sooner we realize that the better.

It is the only way we will up our game. There are too many Ghanaians with bad attitudes and unenlightened behavior.

Democracy, skyscrapers, new roads and a sprinkling of flyovers are not the be all and end all of everything.

What is democracy without a responsible citizenry?

Don't we know we have a role to play?

In fact in my humble opinion, our most pressing problems began when we adopted our current type of party politics.

In any case to adopt a system of universal adult suffrage when we don't have universal public education is a travesty.

We have lost our way, our good values. When things like this happen, I'm ashamed to call myself a Ghanaian. Who wants to be associated with such barbaric behavior?

Let us also remember that they killed a member of our military and if we do not know what that means let me be clear: The military must command respect without raising a hand. If not, they are not effective.

The military is compromised if it is not respected. We cannot tolerate disrespect for our military and police.

They are no ordinary institutions, which is why they have a separate code of justice.

If you are part of the military, you are subject to military law.

They exist for the security of the individual, the community and the state. They must be respected.

Shame on the chiefs and people of Denykira Obuasi.

You have the blood of Captain Maxwell Mahama on your hands.

You murdered an innocent person in cold blood.

Where are your elders? Was there no elder to call the rampaging youth to order?

See what happens when our elders who should speak up don't?

What kind of community is that where women who carry us in their wombs take part in the murder of another's child?

I am tempted to name the town "Abonsam village" because it's the only way I can rationalize what took place there.

Captain Maxwell Mahama, kosee. Damplaa due. homes Due.

Major Captain Mahama will be laid to rest today at the Osu Military cemetery.

May your SOUL Rest In Perfect Peace.

David Ampofo is a renowned Ghanaian Media Practitioner

GBC

Giving Due Honour To Major Maxwell Mahama

The gruesome murder of the army captain, now a posthumous major of Ghana's military was a stab on national conscience. The army officer, by name major Maxwell Adam Mahama was a brave and disciplined officer, who, according to reports, used persuasion to convince his assailants to free him. Granted he wielded a firearm at the time of the incident, then he did well by not shooting to disperse the mobsters who in the end, lynched him.

Another soldier, who found him or herself in such a grave danger, might have exhibited his fire power. In the days of military rule in Ghana, particularly the PNDC era, a firm and quick response would have met the culprits of the heinous crime. One may recall the murder case of Kofi Kyintoh in late eighteen, in which all those who were found guilty were put to the stakes and executed. Ghana appeared united and greeted the penalty by the courts. Now, we are in a democratic dispensation which calls for a grind along an elaborate legal and constitutional process. It is hoped that the death of the soldier, which has created a storm would not be swept under the carpet but followed to letter, in terms of the investigations and the trial. All too often in Ghana, a matter would come up, raise hairs and the next moment, it dies away.

Accounts emerging indicate, that the sides on the case could be octagonal, one that is not straight forward. How do the police effectively encircle a terms of reference, in order not to be running around like an amoral force picking on people at random? As a guide, the police have the video footage to be able to track the perpetrators of the crime. It is heartwarming that some arrests have been made after the posting of initial videos on social media? When was the army informed about the case? Was the slain army officer known to the locals, such that, that would defeat the accusation of armed robbery on the part of the soldier? Mob justice is not new to Ghana. It has been visited on criminal and armed robbery suspects, often condemned by the elite society but celebrated by the general public. The latest case has now brought home to all, that morbid anger is usually misdirected and could cause the life of the innocent.

If for nothing at all, by his death, a painful one as that, late major Maxwell Adam Mahama, has refocused national attention to the aberration called instant justice in Ghanaian society. May it water-down the hyper-sensitive instinct in us, when it comes to heinous crimes committed by people. The rich, advanced countries which have come under terrorist attacks, have never pried to that zone, to kill the terrorists blamed for mass deaths. Instead, they try hard to arrest terrorists alive, which then offers them opportunity to obtain vital clues on cases. When we kill armed robbers in the name of instant justice, it implies we have only managed to sniff out one strand while allowing the other wound to fester.

In other words, when you kill a criminal suspect, in the heat of the moment, you allow the larger network to exist to continue in their nefarious ways. The law enforcement agencies and the courts should inspire confidence in the public by handing verdicts that can be seen by all as acceptable. When justice fails, the people take the law in their hands. Which is why, it is suggested that the case of late major Maxwell Mahama, be committed to public hearing so that we can follow and have a sense of finality. There are so many ways of institutionalising the memory of the late army officer.

The hero as he is, his image could be embossed on any new bank note. If that would be fleeting, then let us all as a nation find a better way of etching the name major Maxwell Mahama, on generations. A victim of savage and sadist attack. The National Commission for Civic Education and Religious Leaders have a lot of work to do, in re-directing the system to follow due process and become moral flagbearers of our society. They influence change. We desire.

BY NAPOLEON ATO KITTOE A JOURNALIST

Ensuring a successful conduct of 2017 BECE

The time for accountability has caught up with final year pupils of Junior High Schools. The period of three years of teaching and learning has run its course and is now under scrutiny. Junior High School finalists yesterday started to prove their mettle with the onset of the 2017 Basic Education Certificate Examination which will select qualified candidates to enter the Senior High Schools, Technical and Vocational Institutions. The four hundred and sixty-eight thousand and fifty three candidates are being examined in English Language, Mathematics, Integrated Science, Social Studies, Religious and Moral Education, Basic Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Ghanaian language and French which is optional.

For the first time these JHS candidates will experience what public examination is. Public examinations differ from examinations that normally take place at various Schools. Public examinations are conducted under strict rules, regulations and an atmosphere of tight security. Taking such public examination for the first time, these pupils are saddled with all forms of anxiety. They are eager to pass and pass well so that their dreams of securing their first choice schools become a reality. These pupils find themselves in an environment quite different from what they are familiar with and have to orient themselves to fit in.

These new experiences pose some psychological challenges to them. There is therefore the need to make them feel at home at the various examination centres. Not only do these pupils experience some form of anxiety, but same also applies to parents, guardians and stakeholders in education. It is their wish that their wards are successful.

Notably parents, guardians and stakeholders in education want to be assured that the examination would pass off without any hiccups. WAEC also is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that this year's BECE goes without hitches. In this vein, WAEC has put in place the following security measures. Pupils are not allowed to bring into the examination halls any unauthorized material.

On the other hand, WAEC officials can make unannounced visits to any examination centre to ensure that the conduct of the examination is in compliance with rules and regulations of the Council. Undue delay in starting the examination at any examination centre should be avoided. Nothing should be left to chance, because we live in an era where Information travels very fast especially with the advent of information and Communication Technology (ICT).

All stakeholders in education have a role to play to ensure the success of the examination. WAEC reserves the right to withhold results of any school who may be found to have cheated in the examination or even have its results cancelled.

Pupils who qualify to enter Senior High School next academic year would be the first beneficiaries to enjoy the free Senior High School Policy, and should therefore count themselves fortunate. This should spur them on to comport themselves well throughout the examination period and enjoy its attendant benefits.

BY: ALEX AMPONFI-DUKU, RETIRED HEADMASTER