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