Last week, as the world and Ghana, for that matter, planned for the Easter celebrations under a quiet COVID-19 atmosphere, two boys in their early teens were rehearsing a local ‘crucifixion’ of their young neighbourhood friend.
It appeared from initial police reports that the alleged child murderers had heard about cheap money-making rituals and had actually planned to execute their mission in the hope of getting money that had been promised them by the source that had incited them to commit that crime.
As police investigate, it is turning out that the kids might not even be aware about the import of their criminal act, except that they were poised to rake in a windfall.
Since the gory crime and tragedy, we have had traditional rulers, politicians, psychologists, teachers, social commentators, among others, attempting to fathom how children of those ages could have plotted and carried out such a horrendous crime.
As expected, the blame game had since continued, with the media, particularly our colleagues in the broadcast media, taking their fair share of the blame for sensationalising reports by adding that ‘live’ and ‘graphic’ tough to it.
Media owners and editors as well as producers and reporters have had to take the blame as messengers and truly so, except that we as Ghanaians must together take the blame, first; and resolve to be responsible going forward in dealing with this novel case.
From the Minister of Information to the Media Commission and National Communications Authority back to the classroom, home and neighbourhood, the search for answers to the riddle continues.
Who has first-line responsibility for protecting our kids?
As the conversation rages, we believe it is important to establish who has first-line protection of our kids and what levels of intervention others may make in protecting our kids.
Unfortunately, the answer to that question is infected by the same disease in the law that is giving too many rights to the child of today to the point of others attempting an intervention when there is evidence of danger.
Our eroding culture
In the last forty or fifty years, we have seen an erosion in our culture that frowns on discipline as key in community stability and nation-building. That was when the teacher and catechist or community elder and uncle or auntie had a voice.
It appears that in our pursuit of democratic culture, we forgot that the best form of state security is communal stability and the imperative for those in charge of the community – whether it is the Zongo chief or clan head – deserve to be recognised as partners in building people or stabilising society.
So, we allowed our children to enjoy the freedom until we saw how fast they could turn into bandits on highways; muggers along Kaneshie and Agbogbloshie or Kejetia and Asafo markets as well as vigilantes and educated barking dogs on our political turfs.
Moral lessons in schools
The last time our religious authorities called on the government to re-introduce moral [civic] and religious education in schools, the putdown was where to place the kids who come from traditional backgrounds, though morality is at the back of every culture.
But that’s sometimes what some of our educated policy-makers do to us, even though they would admit that it is the benefit of cultural discipline applied in homes and neighbourhoods as well as churches and mosques which keep us safe and secure in the long run as citizens expressing our rights to true freedoms.
Discipline, in our opinion, only boils down to being law-abiding; and if we can commit ourselves to submitting to authority wherever we find ourselves as a culture, we would be halfway on our way to avoiding what these kids are selling under our noses.
That’s the beginning of social stability and the culmination of political stability.