Sun, Dec

"Instant Injustice” Evidence of a Class War in Ghana

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Written By Victoria L. Hamah - The recent lynching, or gruesome mob murder of Captain Maxwell, who whilst discharging his official duties as the commander of a military group deployed in the Denkyira Obuasi area with the assignment of regulating local small scale mining aka “Galamsey” activities; was tragically set upon, beaten and stoned to death, and partially burnt by a crowd - is very disheartening; and rightly so has received a huge public outcry and condemnation.

Although the fundamental question of the constitutionality of the military's deployment to enforce law and order pertaining to civilian mining activities during a time of peace, is yet be answered; nonetheless, under no circumstance should citizens pursue such a bestial act of criminal violence.


Read also: Impunity is the new rule of law

According to our Laws, the state holds the exclusive right to violence in our society; and whereas violence remains the monopoly of the state, it is an undeniable fact that the state has in some historical instances, demonstrably meted out various acts of arguably, unconstitutional, undeserved, undue and unjust violence to people.

Widely published narratives and photographs depicting the military's intrusion into, and actions within the rural community following the murder of Captain Maxwell – are possibly clear examples of the above, and must therefore be also roundly condemned - as they weaken the very foundations of our Rule of Law.

Outrageously alarming are key aspects of the public conversation that ensued in the aftermath of Captain Maxwell's murder.

A cursory review of the social commentary would seem to affirm the 2suspicion of a simmering class war, as there seems to be an unhealthy social acceptance of mob lynching of persons suspected of any crime.

The narratives surrounding the gruesome murder of Captain Maxwell shamefully exclude the outright condemnation of any mob violence, and instead attempt to explain the incident as one of mistaken identity. An appalling commentary indeed! Any attempt to justify mob violence on any person or persons - is reactionary, and a negative stain on our collective national character.

It is noteworthy that in its 1st June edition, the Ghanaian Chronicle, featured screaming front page headlines of an equally gruesome mob murder of a 67-year woman accused of witchcraft; this report was however totally drowned out by Captain Maxwell's story, with no notable mention of it beyond this publication - even though both murders were committed around the same time.

The wild public condemnation might well appear to be either oblivious, or totally unconcerned about the equally horrific attack on an innocent, poor and helpless, elderly rural woman. Both the State and the Public has apparently completely ignored the above story of the mob murder of a senior female citizen, just like many other reports of impoverished Ghanaians subjected to Mob Violence on a mere suspicion of stealing.

The President issued a condemnation of the murder of Captain Maxwell, and yet has remained silent on the Chronicle’s reportage. This observation points to class division, and a deepening vertical discrimination in our society. Justifiably so, because Captain Maxwell's story has arguably only received huge public interest due to his socio-economic position in our society reflecting the asymmetrical distribution of power, and access to redress in our justice system. Captain Mahama’s murder should awaken a National crusade against the commodification of justice, commercialization of politics, and the democratization of violence.

All mob actions, and indeed all other forms of discrimination, abuse, violence and murder must be given equal attention and condemnation by all right thinking Ghanaians. A truly democratic nation must equally preempt, prevent and punish - any act of violence against any of its citizens.

In all cases, our human rights must be effectively translated into social equity and social justice.

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