Opinions Tue, 13 Jun 2017

Let’s work together to stop lynching

Public assault also known as lynching, mob action, vigilante injustice, etc. is becoming a growing problem in Ghana, and all well-meaning Ghanaians and the government should team up to stop such lynching which has no place in a civilized society.

Lynching which is a mob action is an extrajudicial punishment by hooligans. Ghana has laws and should be governed by laws so anybody who takes the laws into their hands by administering punishment to alleged transgressors should be severely punished to serve as deterrent to others.

Many Ghanaians are shocked by several videos of mob action or lynching circulating on the social media recently. It appears that such barbaric acts are increasing and unfortunately our elected officials are not doing much to stop it.

No individual has all the solutions to the problems so I will not claim to have all the solutions but I have some suggestions, and I encourage others to put forth their suggestions to stop this unfortunate problem which is growing at an alarming rate.

Suggestion 1: The state should put out persistent announcements in the media reminding Ghanaians that mob action is a serious crime that attracts a severe penalty. It should be made clear that perpetrators will be prosecuted at all cost. And perpetrators should be punished severely. I will suggest life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Suggestion 2: The government should put out advertisement making police/emergency numbers known/available to everybody. I’m very sure that most Ghanaians do not know the numbers to call in emergency/critical situations so this will go a long way.

Suggestion 3: The government should print millions of cards with the numbers of police, and other emergency numbers on them, and distribute to as many people as possible. To kill two birds with one stone, the card could be picture identity-card with emergency numbers on them. In fact, voters IDs and every identity card should have emergency numbers displayed on them. Ghanaians should be encouraged to carry such cards on them wherever they go so that they know what numbers to call in case of an emergency.

Suggestion 4: Every business, as a matter of law, should boldly display emergency and police numbers in and outside their premises.

Suggestion 5: It should be made known in the media that it is the responsibility of every Ghanaian to call the police when they see mob action or any criminal activity going on. For example, if it is happening in front of your shop or house and you don’t call the police you could be apprehended as an accomplice.

Suggestion 6: For swift action, the government should provide the police with all the necessary equipment/logistics they need to do their job efficiently. As I write, most police stations in the country do not have service vehicles, and generally the police is under-equipped.

Columnist: Kwaku Obosu-Mensah