The people of Wa are known to be people who fear litigation and are dye in the wool supporters of the edict in Waale known as ‘tijaa bonyeni’ which means we are all one. This guided the residents to an extent that even heinous crimes were settled amicably between families rather than extending it to the police. Yet, current events in the lone municipality of the Upper West region are apparent that this saying has fast lost its significance. There is a sour taste in my mouth and my hands tremble as I put pen to paper to write this piece this arise from how previous security concerns I raised in January under the caption, ‘from petty stealing to murder; Wa bleeds’ were taken like a humorous comment from a serious face.
At least, time is the impartial judge and ought to inform those at the helm of affairs revisit their notes if any. The swaggering show of defiance to the laws of our land by those who engage in lynchings of thieves is but worrying and an indication of a weak security setup couple with its inability to exude public confidence.
The past few months are replete with numerous incidents of mob justice dotted all over the confines of the municipality. Though this practice is appalling and despicable the main question arises why it happens. It is of little doubt that the spiraling crime rate and the seaming aloofness and somewhat cluelessness of the security agencies are the main drivers. It is clear to me and all concerned that victims of robbery are growing bitter, harder and harsher each moment.
Let me state with no scintilla of equivocation that the people of Wa have finally come to the conclusion the instant justice is the ‘true justice’. The judiciary and police exude very little confidence hence, this bravado being exhibited. The residents of this vicinity have self-prescribed mob justice as the balm to heal the city of the sickening crime.
Truth be told, the end of instant justice in Wa isn’t in sight if the trend remains. I posit that despite the action being illegal; it is more fulfilling to perpetrators than the due process of law. The only antidote to this would be for the security agencies to pursue a more aggressive crime combat strategy. But for now crime in Wa could confidently be likened to crime in Sao Paolo.
The monumental danger instant justice portends is the lynching of innocent individuals though none has happened so far. It is public knowledge that those lynched are well-known unrepentant criminals. The police must act now to reverse this tide before some of their personnel become victims.
I wish to caution the good people of Upper West to remember that still ‘tijaa bonyeni’. So anger must be tampered with the justice of the state not the justice of Wa. But the larger question is, to what extent would this unacceptable wave of crime have its free ride? The security needs to assure the residents of the region with action of their capability and capacity of dealing with crime squarely.
Joseph Oswald Ali