Parliament Must Pass Law in Major Mahama’s Name-Bernard Asubonteng

The unspeakable treatment and subsequent barbaric killing of Major Maxwell Adam Mahama in the remote village of Denkyiraboase has, indeed, stoked the moral psyche of almost all Ghanaians home and abroad, including all the peace-loving people around the world. The strong pronouncements of moral indignation expressed by the nation’s decision makers, security officials, as well as the general public in the wake of the “Denkyiraboase barbarity” speak to the overall mood of the country.

The cruelty clouding Major Mahama’s death aside, Ghanaians are morally outraged—and rightly so—because the late army officer was brutally killed while in the line of duty for the country.  Under similar circumstances in the United States (by the way, this primitive mob killings will not be allowed to keep happening in 21st century U.S.), Americans of all various backgrounds will be morally angry and shamefully sad for murdering security official serving his/her country. They will definitely go further to immortalize the officer’s memory, not only with statues but also federal law in his honor, to make sure that insanity is legally dealt with properly in case it rears its bestial head again.

Suffice to say, after all the expressions of anger, sympathy, empathy for the victim’s family, including the high-profile eulogies, tributes, and the state funeral/burial rites, the U.S. government, in addition to any memorial statue or trust fund, will also pass an anti-mob killing law named for the late officer.  In other words, in the United States, most of the federal or state laws are named after the victims who underwent some form of pain, death, injustice, and so on. Laws such as “Joan D’Alessandro’s Law” gives life imprisonment without parole for killing a child 14 years and under during sexual assault. “Megan’s Law” was also named in response to the murder of a 7-year old sexual victim called Megan Kanka from New Jersey. The Law requires states to inform communities when any sex offender moves into their neighborhood.  Indeed, there are tons of laws, both on federal and state levels, enacted in the U.S. in response to high-profile crimes. The late Major Adam Mahama’s murder rightly fits that category, too.

This means if the late Major Mahama were to be a U.S. citizen, undoubtedly the US Congress will pass and the president will sign an enforceable federal law such as “Major Adam Mahama Act of 2017.” Among others, the law will clearly spell out the severe consequences for people engaging in the stone-age practice of turning themselves into “instant” prosecutors, judges, and dispensers of legal justice on the mere suspicion of wrongdoing.  Or any Ghanaian caught and found guilty of involving in mob killing or in the so-called “instant justice” in the court of law, will probably go to prison till the rest of their life. True, Ghana is not U.S., but there is lots of things Ghanaians copy every day from the U.S.  Many of those lifestyles were in full display when I was in Ghana about 3 weeks ago.

That is why one of the fitting and respectful  ways to eternalize the late army officer’s memories is to pass a parliamentary law in the name of Major Adam Mahama. If such anti-mob bill is passed into law, it must be a high-profile, conspicuous, and even incorporated into Ghanaian schools’ curriculum, starting from middle school up to college/university levels. However, if there is a law already dealing with mob killings in Ghana, then the authorities must rename it for Adam Mahama and make it strictly enforceable to show that majority of Ghanaians are really serious, sick, and tired of the so-called “mob (in)justice” action that led to the Major’s untimely death in the hands of the village mobs.

This fiendish episode can happen to any average Ghanaian, unexpectedly. It really is scary that in the Internet-age  Ghana, if one is not lucky enough and someone mistakenly or deliberately yell “thief, armed robber” at a particular person in public, people will rush on and start beating that poor individual till he/she is killed. At least from what we know now, it was false alarm of “armed robber”  accusation that unleashed the unfortunate fate for the late Major Mahama at Denkyiraboase.

Certainly sharing tears and expressing emotions over despicable tragedies are part of human condition but they never undo the calamities. Rather, in light of those adversities, if concrete actions are taken to ensure that the conditions that triggered the disaster are well addressed, then we may have a good chance of preventing a similar traumatic event in future. As articulated in one of my previous write-ups, the late Major Mahama’s mob-inspired murder was not an aberration, but a symptom of a bigger socio-cultural phenomenon in Ghana long ignored until it hit the wrong nerve at Denkyiraboase.

Sure, the trust fund set up by the state to help meet the financial needs of the late military officer’s immediate family is a step in a right direction.  The proposed statue in his honor is also befitting, but what consequential effect will that monument have on those Ghanaians who may never know or see that memorial structure in their lifetime? If  that statue is erected, it must also be accompanied by a national law in the name of Major Adam Mahama that makes it illegal in Ghana to carry out mob-killings or execute the so-called” instant in-justice” under any circumstance. The penalty for mob killing must be life or death sentence in this country. Ghana is part of the civilized world. Are the MPs listening?

Author: Bernard Asubonteng is a US-based writer. Email your comments to: b.asubonteng@gmail.com