The Public Relations Officer of the Accra Regional Police Command, ASP Afia Tenge, has disclosed she was nearly lynched by a mob, and, thus, strongly condemns the prevalence of instant justice in the country.
Narrating her ordeal on the Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Class91.3FM on Friday, 2 June, Ms Tenge cautioned society against the act.
She told show host Moro Awudu: “Mob action is something we have continuously asked people to refrain from because of its consequences. I, personally, almost became a victim of that. And even if we are able to get one or two persons among the mob to stand on their ground to prevent the person from being beaten or being abused in the manner it is done, it will help us.”
She recounted: “In my case, it happened in Tamale. Luckily for me, I had one person who just quickly ran after us and said: ‘Madam, these people are following you because of the type of dress you are wearing. The man quickly stopped a taxi, pushed me inside and told the taxi driver in their local dialect to quickly speed off and quickly that was how I was able to escape death. …We [Police] had gone on training, we had arrived late in the evening, so, I just took something and wore and hit the street just to get something to eat and before I could realise, a whole mob was amassing clubs and whatever to come and lynch me because I had worn something that was abominable on their land. So, if it had not taken that man to know what they were doing and quickly come to my rescue, it would have been a different story.”
ASP Tenge reminded Ghanaians that it was unconstitutional to become a law unto themselves and prescribe justice to suspected criminals in a democracy.
“Why do people think that they have the right to prescribe or dispatch punishment? Even we (police officers) can’t prescribe punishment; it’s not our duty to do so. Judicial powers do not lie in our hands, and, therefore, if we arrest anybody on the basis of suspicion of having committed a crime, we process the person to the law court and that is procedural. That is the criminal justice system.”
The debate on mob justice has strongly been revived following the death of an Army Captain in Denkyira-Obuasi on Monday, 29 May 2017.
Captain Maxwell Adam Mahama was lynched by a group of irate youth who mistook him for an armed robber after a group of people he asked directions from spotted a pistol on him. As of the time of the incident, the soldier was not in uniform.