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