Only an unholy cynic will deny the fact that the Ghana Police Service is currently engaged in a spirited fight crime in the country. Again, only a dishonest politician will argue that what we are beset with arises out of a failure on the part of the current government or the Ghana Police Service, for that matter.
The truth we are evading is that we collectively sowed to the wind and we are duly reaping the whirlwind.
Looking back, we must admit that the breaks-in into ammunition depots, and arms that were released without controls during the June 4 uprising may be cited among the factors.
We must admit, too, that the situation was heightened by subsequent abortive coups by that regime’s own ‘boys’.
Additionally, we may blame it on conflicts that we have brewed in many parts of the country, including the northern regions, engineered by the elites and their business and politician cronies with interests in chieftaincy.
Then, we may also admit that weapons that were handed gratis to cadres of the revolution, intended at ‘grassroots resistance’ by ‘enemies of the December 31st revolution’, led to a further worsening of the situation. And this is aside of weapons from our military on peacekeeping duties in Lebanon.
Finally, we may cite political support to ground actor vigilantes, as was manifested in the civil and political Bawku conflicts as well as Chereponi and its colorations.
And the fact is that we all, out of fear and mercenary gains, provided the resources – human and logistics – for a harvest that we truly deserved.
That scenario, which was playing out in militias in Nigeria from the 70s and Islamic militants in our neighbouring former French colonies from the 80s, fuelled the situation in a sub-region where we have traditional porous borders and contraband trade in everything, including arms.
The cumulative effect on us in Ghana today is that hope had been lost, and it was taking too long for emerging democrats to show leadership and capacity for transforming their democratic ideas into tangible hope.
The situation had been made worse, in our opinion, by certain politician’s meddling with the military and police service, killing initiative that we needed from serious career policemen and women to fight crime.
Logistics to support any serious fight against crime had been in short supply to institutions of state security while motivation was poor, until recently.
We have, therefore, inherited an unfortunate legacy which we must admit and, collectively work at, in redeeming ourselves.
Fortunately for us, the recurring swoops are providing clues about who some of these armed robber and kidnapper beasts are. They may include teenagers, beautiful women feigning victims and those using police and military uniforms to commit crimes.
That could be a source of our hope in the long-drawn battle against crime in a traditionally peaceful Ghana, instead of censure. Since it is a learning process, that too, combined with the new police leadership we are seeing, should be able to help secure us the security that we need to put shoulder to the wheels in improving lives and livelihoods.
In all of these, however, the role of the investigators and prosecutors as well as the courts is crucial. Dockets getting missing, prosecutors acting dodgy, unnecessary delay in the processes, and journalists’ failure to show commitment in following up on cases to the hilt are all issues that need to be tackled in our fight against crime.
It is only when we agree that we collectively brought this on ourselves that can admit that only a collective approach to the disease will help us comprehensively fight the beasts from our midst.
If those we see being prosecuted get the sentences that they deserve and lose their contacts after 30 and 40 years, that will be deterrent enough; if the ‘blow-hot-and cold’ politician looks at the larger picture, that is deterrent enough; and if our institutions of state security do their work as unto God and country, that is deterrent enough.
Under the Kwame Nkrumah regime, security agencies undertook occasional swoops for illegal weapons. If our REGSECs would get back to such initiatives, that also should be deterrent enough.