Instant Justice/Lynching In Ghana (Yet Another Innocent One!)

I cannot believe it has already been a year since I lost my class mate to a mob attack; usually known as lynching in Ghana. He was mistaken for a thief and was lynched on basis of simply being a suspect. Albert who was sick on the day of attack was found in a restless position around someone’s car  because of how ill he was. However, due to the stereotypical nature of Ghanaians he was lynched by a mob because of his skin colour; he is fair in complexion and was expected to be a foreigner. The people in the area said they had witnessed a lot of robbery by foreigners so they suspected him to be a thief when they found him struggling to sit in someone’s else’s car. A busy location in Accra is an easy place to be lynched; I can imagine the number of people who attacked the weak and defenseless Albert.

When Albert was beaten up badly, the mob decided to do the ‘RIGHT’ thing when they begun to doubt the guilt of Albert by taking him to the police station; which was a nullified ‘good’ deed since he was already beaten to a pulp. When Albert was taken to the police station, he was neglected by the police for a long while because he was thought of as a thief. He did not have the required medical attention on time. He was later taken to the hospital where he died.

Albert was full of life and lit up every place he was. A great deal of excitement and joy in our class died out with Albert. His memorial was held in our class exactly a year ago. The candles we lit could not replace the glow Albert brought to our lives.

Lynching makes no sense! As a child, I had a horrifying experience when I saw a dead man  who lied lynched in a pool of blood naked. He was suspected to be a thief. I saw this on a sunday morning on my way to church with my family. The unthinkable is done to people who are attacked by a mob. They are usually undressed, beaten up with sticks, stones, metallic objects and any tool they lay hands on. Sometimes they insert a broom stick into the penis of a male victim and many other things into the anus. Very painful and agonizing treatments are inflicted on suspects of crime by a mob.

The irony of this is how the society feels about mob attack. A lot of people view it as a moral act; an act pleasing to God. Do they realize the obvious, taking another man’s life; killing? Do they realize that anybody who gives as much as a slap to the victim is a murderer? Yes, during mob attacks, passerby’s who have no idea of how the victim was caught simply joins in the attack.

If it satisfies God, what happened to the scripture where Jesus saved the adulterer by saying, “If any of you are without sin, let him cast the first stone”. In the bible, it is seen that none of the people were able to throw a stone because they were all sinners and were therefore guilty in the sight of God. The reality is the same today; those who attack the ‘criminals’ on the street are as sinful in their own ways. They are no better! The difference between them and the ‘criminal’ is that they have not been caught.

If someone is a criminal it is the duty of the police to handle the person and not civilians. Our place as civilians is to take the suspect to the police station. Psychologically, a lot of people who partake in mob attacks have guilt about something and therefore feeds the guilt on their victims to feel better. For many  others, it gives the satisfaction of accomplishing something good in their lives;it is a good thing to partake in as a way of eradicating crime. Whatever reason there may be, it is simply unjustified!

About two weeks ago, a friend of mine was nearly lynched because a seller accused her of purchasing her products with counterfeit money. She had no idea the money she had was counterfeit because she also received it as change from another shop. She was saved by the fact that the place was not too busy. In fact, it was a miracle she was not attacked.

It is worse in many other African countries. It is unbelievable what happens in Uganda when thieves, rapist and homosexuals are caught;the torture by the mob is an eyesore.

Nobody deserves to be lynched; whether guilty or innocent. Justice is in the courts and true justice is God’s.