Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Accountable Policing in Ghana!

January 4, 2011
Stephen Arthur, a 19 year old orphan walked out of his house and hopped into a commercial vehicle, and that was the last time he ever walked. He is paralysed from the waist down. Has no control over his bowel movements or urine. Has erectile dysfunction and will never father a child.

The vehicle Stephen Arthur got onto that fateful day was stopped by a police officer asking for his Christmas gift. The driver obliged and gave the officer some money, only for another officer standing nearby, Constable Stephen Frimpong to approach the driver asking why his colleague officer was given money. An argument ensued between the constable and the driver, so the first officer (the one who collected the money) asked the driver to park well. In parking well, the driver had to move the vehicle. That was when Constable Frimpong opened fire into the back of the vehicle (I guess thinking the driver was running away). A bullet hit the spine of Stephen Arthur, and to say life has never been the same, would be grossly understating how life has been since.

The Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS) in their investigation of this incident came out with the findings that Constable Frimpong's conduct was criminal. The constable was arrested and granted bail, but during a police service enquiry into this incident, he run away and has not been found since. Has he been looked for? If he has and has not been found, how safe are we in Ghana? How safe are we if one man has been able to escape police grips after all these years? How safe are we with all these terror alerts going on around us?

A benevolent law firm sued on behalf of Stephen Arthur and after much wrangling, the Attorney General decided to settle out of court 2 years ago. How is one compensated for all that this young man has lost? It has been 2 years since this decision was reached, and still nothing. How long did it take for Alfred Agbesi Woyome to be given his judgement debt by the Attorney General for doing nothing and for no damage to his person? Imagine how Stephen Arthur's life would have been with 1/10th of the settlement Alfred Woyome received.

Stephen Arthur has no one to take care of him. His brother who was caring for him started abusing him and Stephen has tried to take his own life once. He is 24 years old now, and to say his future looks bleak would be an understatement. He is in critical condition now at the Police Hospital, and has grown so lean he cannot wear adult diapers, but has to wear baby diapers.

March 8, 2014
Corporal Bernard Frimpong walked into a Cal Bank banking hall and opened fire right there in the banking hall because of an argument he had with one of the customers.

What next?
Superintendent Frimpong will walk into a mall and open fire on shoppers because he feels cheated by one shop owner?

One thing I kept repeating after Corporal Frimpong opened fire in the bank is, "it could happen to any one of us". Who in the bank that day thought they would walk into the bank and be fired at? Who on that commercial vehicle thought they would get onto a vehicle and be fired at, by none other than a Ghana Police officer?

It is all well and good fighting for accountable governance and fighting against corruption, but isn't this something worth fighting for? Our civil society organisations, in addition to finding the truth behind the bus branding saga, SADA, Subah and the rest, how about we fight for human rights too?
#ISpeakForJustice

2 comments:

  1. Hi Efua,

    Wow! I speak for justice too!

    We also have cases in Nigeria of Police officers abusing the power given to them. Turning into the very criminals they are supposed to be protecting citizens from. So disheartening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Extremely disheartening. Breaks my heart anytime I hear about something like this.
      We speak for justice!

      Delete

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