Ghana Advocacy Group condemns mob justice

GAG Advocacy Logo of Ghana Advocacy Group

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 Source: GAG

The Ghana Advocacy Group has called for an immediate action against mob justice in the country and also commiserates with family of Major Maxwell Mahama who got lynched by some residents of Denkyira-Obuasi who mistook him for an armed robber.

In a statement issued on mob justice, the group condemned the act and urged government to educate Ghanaians so as to save lives.

Below is the statement:

Ghana Advocacy Group (GAG) is worried about recent violent attacks on innocent people in our dear nation. We have observed that hardly a day passes by without seeing bludgeoned images on the social media and our national TV sets including the newspapers. The headlines are disturbing and we believe the menace is having a toll on the citizenry, which calls for immediate action.

With heavy hearts, we would like to express our profound sympathies to Major Maxwell Mahama’s family and to all families nationwide that have lost their loved ones through mob attacks. We are aware that Major Mahama’s case is not the first incident. However, it was his tragic death that caused public uproar.

We would like to assure you that our thoughts and prayers are with you. And the whole world shares your grief. GAG believes all is not gloomy. With cool minds, we trust we will be able to proffer ideas that will help tackle the problem head on. This would make our world a better place to live in.

In the wake of the Denkyira Obuasi appalling incident, we have followed with keen interest some salient contributions to the ongoing discourse and efforts aimed at combating what GAG calls mob ‘Injustice’.

And we have also observed that fighting fraud and corruption, crime, creating a stable economy, as well as improving our environment plus providing quality health services will help build a better Ghana and a stronger society.


We believe there’s some kind of misunderstanding with the concept on which our justice system operate: Certain tendencies in our justice delivery system have occasioned distrust of the law enforcement agencies, particularly, the police and the judiciary or, the courts. Reasons often given for mob ‘injustice’ is that when they take suspects to the courts, or to the police, they are released on bail which to them bail is equal to dismissal.

We want to point out that the belief which compels people to resort to vigilantism does not resonate with a constitutional democracy such as ours which is founded on the Supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.

Power residing in the people doesn’t mean the people can just abuse the power unjustly, particularly as the lives of fellow citizens are at stake. The State cannot fail the collective people because in a constitutional democracy where government is based on the will of the people with independent courts, the state must ensure, that will is given.

The notion of ‘mob justice’ is a contradiction in the sense that “justice” suggests rightness and justifiable means in achieving an acceptable end.

Ironically in our context, its usage connotes injustice that is borne out by disregard for due process or the justice system orchestrated by self-help means of achieving justice and vigilantism.

Education: We propose that for the criminal justice system to see improvement, the Judicial Council together with the NCCE must bring about programmes to educate the public on court’s decisions. It should mean clear rules of behaviour that would have to be taught even at the basic education levels so that our children will grow up knowing the difference between right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable ways of doing things.

We believe the acculturation is the surest way of dealing with both basic and serious civic issues in our today’s society. Also, it may be well necessary for these suggestions to be factored into our educational curricula.

Fraud and Corruption: Opportunity cost of not fighting the twin menace of fraud and corruption is certainly manifested in high levels of poverty, deprivation, underdevelopment and high incidence of crime.

The World Bank defines corruption as “behaviour on the part of officials in the public and private sectors, in which they improperly and unlawfully enrich themselves and/or those close to them, or induce others to do so, by misusing the position in which they are placed.” To curb these phenomena calls for the strengthening of anti-graft institutions. Nipping corruption in the bud must mean confronting these very same challenges by ensuring that any unlawful gain is forfeited to the State.

Security: The police in a recent press conference regarding Major Mahama’s death stated that crime reported incidents are on the downward trend. That is a welcome development. But we believe vigilantism must be a priority too. We are asking political parties and individual citizens not to play politics with sensitive national issues. Rioting is another problem we are not sure if that is also on the decline, the Police however did not indicate.

People who threaten our security should be arrested, charged, arraigned before courts, tried and if found guilty of the offences, imprisoned. That is the way we should be going. We urge the Police Service to be tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime.

Social Cohesion: Our communal system is a plus but we believe more has to be done bring about social cohesion. Our secondary boarding system was meant to achieve that objective but you would agree with GAG that quite a number of our people do not benefit from that arrangement, hence a call for a conscious programme of education.

We believe these same values should guide our approach to building a stronger society at home. In that way, many communities will not be living "parallel lives". We need to be cautiously optimistic security wise, and encourage Communities where people from different ethnic origins could easily meet and interact freely. The dividend will ultimately be an emotional connection that binds a country together.

Sympathy for people we do not know, and who may even be very different to us is required to curb vigilantism and mob ‘injustice’. Though we have different cultures and come from diverse origins, we would realise we share common values only through contacts.

Social responsibility: We should continue to encourage the idea of being each other’s keeper. We believe it shouldn’t be the politicians’ task alone in building a strong society. We are all in this together. We all have a responsibility to each other. That is why social responsibility is to be the foundation for all that we do. One of the vital ways to achieve this objective is through the family system.

We have to build the economy to end the spectre of poverty and heal the divisions between rich and poor. The way to do it is building empowering families. For us, families are not just the basic unit of society, they're the best. They are the ultimate source of our society's strength or weakness. Families matter because almost every social problem that we face comes down to family stability.

We conclude by saying we are optimistic that our country is not going downhill. As we believe the government will take the lead in raising people’s hopes and lifting their sights.

Source: GAG
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