Ghanaians started the week with outrage, shock and gloomy following the lynching of a young military man, Captain Maxwell Mahama, a husband and a father at Denkyire-Obusia in the Central Region.
To some of us, though his dead is undeniably gruesome and the circulating videos capture the viciousness of some Ghanaians, it has made headlines and shaken the foundation of concern because he’s a “respectable young military man” said to be innocent—as mob justice for so many years has somewhat become part of the Ghanaian culture of justice.
In a previous article which highlights the prevalence of this barbarism in Ghana, I wrote;
“For many years, some of us have been fighting and writing against this notion of mob justice on the back of the logic that even if someone has committed a crime, it’s not in the place of a mob or any person to serve him or her with any punishment but the court.
I for one know the dangers of this cruel and unrestrained justice system—one day, someone deemed completely innocent, much loved or respected would be caught in the fire.
Over the years, I’ve read several arguments, albeit fundamentally absurd from “intelligent” Ghanaians, claiming that the mob should continue to deal with armed robbers, thieves and those who are caught committing crimes in a whatever manner.
And now that Maxwell Mahama has been killed under this same justice system, people shockingly seem surprised.
How many times have we not seen videos of car tyres wrapped around supposed armed robbers by Ghanaian mob and setting fire into them? How many times have we not seen women stripped n*ked and beaten to near death in Ghana for allegedly stealing something?”
Captain Maxwell Mahama’s death has generated a national discussion on the growing phenomena of mob justice alongside what’s an obvious lack of trust in our existing judicial and security services.
In between our emotions and anger, we’ve had dirty politicians jump in with their pathetic rhetoric, pinning the Captain’s death to a single political figure, the President, as if he threw a block or could reasonably have anticipated this and yet did nothing about it.
The call for justice for Mahama has marred our understanding of justice to the extent that many have called for and endorsed military brutality of the entire town where the unfortunate incident took place or the suspected perpetrators.
We’ve had Amnesty International Ghana come out to condemn the beating of the residents of the town and the arrested suspects, adding that their human rights ought to be respected.
And though Daniel Appianing, the District Chief Executive for Denkyira-Obuasi in the Central region has been asked by President Akufo Addo to vacate his post for a comment he made, that Captain Mahama was in his district with other military men to protect illegal Chinese miners which has been branded insensitive—we’ve not been furnished with convincing narrative as to what led to Mahama’s lynching.
What actually happened? I have the following questions on the back of the popular jogging narrative.
Per multiple mainstream media and social media accounts, Captain Mahama went out for a dawn jogging and stopped to ask two women for directions as he couldn’t find his way around. The two women he spoke to on seeing him with his pistol suspected him of being an armed robber and therefore went away to tell the Assemblyman about this suspected armed robber.
The Assemblyman is said to have then gone out there to mobilise some residents (let’s say thugs) who went after Captain Mahama and lynched him.
The videos we’ve seen does not support this narrative and common sense leaves it majorly questionable.
Was this the first time Captain Mahama was jogging? Why did he need a direction around a small town or village where he and his men are said to have been legally stationed for almost 3 weeks?
Secondly, we are told he took his pistol to the jogging mainly because he knows the area to be volatile—reasonably, he should have gone on this jogging with two or three of his men.
Thirdly, if Captain Mahama and his men were stationed in or near this town for 3 weeks prior to his death, how come no one in this town could recognise him as the military man? In Ghana, the moment a stranger comes to live in a small community, there’s this community magic which will alert almost everyone that someone new is here and within hours or days, everyone will know the story or that person.
And it wouldn’t be plausible to say a bunch of military men deployed to a town in uniforms will escape the inquisitive residents—especially considering the attraction military uniforms pull in Ghana.
Now, after Captain Mahama asked the women for directions, did he stand there waiting on them—as they nicodemously went away to tell the Assemblyman who also perhaps went from house to house mobilising boys or thugs for the lynching?
From the videos seen, it does not seem to me that thugs were largely mobilised by a single person—people added on as the chase which could have been started by two or three people went on. That’s typical of Ghanaians–people may not even ask to find out what’s going on, they just tag along.
And where were Captain Mahama and his men specifically stationed? In a nearby bush or village or within the borders of this town, where he was lynched?
The sacked/suspended DCE has said and maintained that Captain Mahama and his men were out there to protect illegal miners (galamseyers). The timing of his utterance is seen as wrong by many but many days down the line, he still insists that’s the case—and we seem to totally rubbish his account, mainly on the back of emotions and sympathy.
I am not in any way suggesting he’s telling the truth, neither should anyone suggest it’s a complete lie, especially when the puzzle is far from being solved and the narrative does not add up.
Of course, we need an independent investigations into this but it seems the public rage is what’s driving activities—as always, there have been swift arrests which mostly lead nowhere and the political sackings or suspension has started.
What happened to Captain Mahama is savagely—no two ways about it. But to me, the stories out there so far do not add up and there are more questions than answers.
Maybe when the dust of emotions settles, reasonable Ghanaians would look and ask further questions.
So far, what have you heard and what are some of the questions or answers you have?