Enforcement of the law is more important than mere enactment

Sat, 1 Jun 2019 Source: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D

The alleged brutal assault on the person of Mr. Douglas Osei-Nti, the Krachi-West District Chief Executive (DCE), must be condemned in toto (See “Vigilantism Law Will End Attacks on Gov’t Appointees – NPP” Modernghana.com 5/30/19). I, however, strongly disagree with Mr. Henry Nana Boakye, the National Youth Organizer of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), that the mere enactment of an Anti-Vigilantism Law would necessarily bring an end to such barbarous act of violence. We are told that some rowdy members of the Youth-Wing of the party stormed the office of the Krachi-West DCE, in the newly created Oti Region, and brutally assaulted the Akufo-Addo-appointed occupant of that office.

To be certain, we don’t need in place any Anti-Vigilantism Law on the statutory books to bring the culprits or, properly speaking, criminal suspects, to book. There are already laws on the books, as it were, that deal with brutal assaults and the criminal violation of the human rights of each and every Ghanaian citizen. Indeed, the greatest bottleneck to governance in the country, presently, has to do with the prompt, swift and vigorous enforcement of our criminal laws. Even as I write, there are much too many indicted criminal suspects in the custody of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) who have been in custody or on remand for years now. That is what needs to immediately change.

I also really don’t see the need for the passage of more laws dealing with heinous acts of criminality in the country. But what is most disturbing about the present case has to do with the fact that more than two years after the New Patriotic Party was democratically voted into power, a critical mass of the membership of the party’s Youth-Wing continues to recklessly take the law into their own hands, as if they were still on the margins of opposition politics. Henry Nana Boakye (aka Nana-B), the party’s National Youth Organizer, needs to frankly tell the nation something more progressive and meaningful than lamely wishing that the much-touted Anti-Vigilantism Law were in effect. He needs to go after these incorrigible urchins and have them severely punished to the fullest extent of the law. Stupidity and savagery are not excusable by the law.

If the assailants of Mr. Osei-Nti have any forensically sustainable evidence of corruption against the Krachi-West’s DCE, the logical route or recourse is to seek redress from Jubilee House or even the Oti Regional Minister or simply pursue a legal course of action against their prime target of grievance. It is also absurd for the alleged assailants to claim that brutally assaulting a purportedly corrupt DCE Osei-Nti, for allegedly awarding government contracts to himself, would make the party any more popular/unpopular than it is presently. To be certain, such acts of barbarism as these party youths are alleged to have committed against the Krachi-West’s DCE, would make the party even more unattractive to potential members. Their scandalously backward reasoning is far more dangerous than any unlawful acts or flagrant breach of ethics or party protocol that Mr. Osei-Nti may even be genuinely guilty of.

There are already too many developments and quality-of-life problems on the policy-agenda plate of the ruling party for anybody to tolerate such behavioral nuisances. Party stalwarts like Nana Boakye need to put their feet down and aggressively deal with such reprehensible tendencies before matters get out of hand. Vigilantism inside the party is already at a crisis point.

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Columnist: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D