Ghana’s former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, has called for the strict application of the capital punishment law to stem the spate of callous killings in the country.
He said Ghana should not be witnessing the spate of killings with impunity, when the constitution exacts the severest punishment possible.
Flt Lt Rawlings invited Parliament to consider the need to amend the constitution so Regional Security Councils will have the power to approve the execution of convicts sentenced under capital punishment.
President Rawlings, who made the call during a courtesy call by the family of Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, deceased Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North on Wednesday, said:
“Because we have refused to exact the ultimate punishment, the police will arrest, the courts will sentence but the situation [spate of murders] will continue to rise.”
The former President said the killing and the impunity of it, unfortunately came as no surprise to him and alluded the increased spate of murders to the fact that perpetrators of politically related killings in the not too distant past got away with their crimes.
“We cannot sit here in the security of our circumstances while others remain vulnerable. I feel very disappointed about this. It will continue if we do not put the fear of God into them. If America can have that power at the level of the State, why not us,” the former President questioned?”
Earlier a leading member of the family, Opanin George Amoah, criticized the failure of the police to communicate adequately with the family on the status of their investigations and sought the former President’s support in calling for openness from the investigating authority.
“We are a family in pain. What we expect is not what we have seen. As things stand now the police have gone mute. We are careful not to mix politics with a criminal case and have stopped short of making any statements, but justice delayed is justice denied. The police have a responsibility to let us know where the investigations are headed. This is a heinous crime and we demand justice from the authorities.
“We are urging the authorities to speed up investigations into the matter. The axe of justice must fall. We need to know the truth. It will sooth us,” Opanin George Amoah stated.
Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who was also in the meeting, said there are a lot of crimes of similar magnitude which have not been investigated to their logical conclusion. She called on the security agencies to boost security to the country at large as the wave of murders was frightening.
“We need to investigate all the murders so they do not recur. Why are they happening? We need to feel that we are secure in our individual homes. The investigating authorities owe it to not only the family but also to Ghanaians to explain exactly what is happening,” Nana Konadu said.
Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, NDC Parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korle and brother of the deceased, Frank Adu also took turns to speak.
Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings said the news of J. B. Danquah-Adu’s death shook everyone. She said there should not be seen to be a delay in investigating the MP’s murder and similar unresolved ones.
She said: “A crime of this nature must not be allowed to fade away. The truth must be uncovered to give closure not only for the family but also for the whole country.”
Frank Adu said J.B’s death was a painful one not only for the family but also for whole communities. “We miss our departed JB dearly. He was like a pied piper catering for many of his constituents.”
Adu expressed deep concern about the level of poverty and inequality in society and said it was important that government gave hope for the ordinary people.
“If as a government we do not give hope, then these young boys and girls without hope, commit some of the crimes we see today. They are easily swayed, easily convinced just to feed themselves and like any other animal backed into a corner, will fight. We have to blame the governance that we have and the politics that we have. We have to deal with this social problem, social upheaval of inequality, etc. taking place,” Adu said.
Source: Office of JJ Rawlings