Police and Arise Ghana demonstrators’ clash : Opinion
The revered lawyer Martin Kpebu, having come under severe criticism following a statement he made in respect of the handling of some of the Arise Ghana demonstrators by the police, who went on rampage, pelting the police, attempting to destroy property, which was captured and published by Myjoyonline.com came back to write:
“I don’t support violence against the police” He went ahead to write;
“a few comments to clarify; The new bullet I have recommended is called ‘attenuated energy projectile (AEP). It’s far less dangerous. The UK stopped using rubber bullets in the early 1970s. Ghana must also modernize crowd management”.
Below is my reply to his one sided criticism
Before then, let me put it on record that lawyer Martin Kpebu is someone I admire. That notwithstanding, I don’t feel comfortable sometimes when he decides to go for the low hanging ?.
Mr Kpebu, the first thing you should have done was to find out whether the police have the Attenuated Energy Projectile [AEPs] you talked about. The police service has limited resources, just as any other institution in this country. No security expect, nor security analyst is interested in putting the government [both past and present] on its toes to resource the police service to be close, if not at par with its international counterparts, but will be quick to grab the microphone at the least opportunity and say a lot of things in that Don quixotic manner.
As I said earlier, the first thing Lawyer Kpebu and his cohort should have done was to find out whether the Ghana Police Service has the equipment he is talking about. Lawyer should be made to be aware, that at the time, the police only had at their disposal the teargas and the rubber bullets. I don’t think lawyer Kpebu and those who expressed the same sentiment as him expect the police to fold their arms whilst demonstrators went on rampage, throwing stones and other objects at them; and attempting to breakthrough the human wall they formed?. The demonstrators were seen blocking major roads, setting tires ablaze, etc.
What we must know is that the police officer is also a Ghanaian, who has right to life. He has family too, who expect him to return home in one piece [alive/unhurt], and not in pieces [lifeless/hurt]. We must bear in mind also, that the only way the policeman can defend himself and others, and make sure he returns home unhurt to meet his family is to resort to the use of the arms provided him by the state for that purposes.
The policeman is trained to protect lives and properties, maintain and preserve peace and order, and enforce all laws and regulations as charged by the state. Note that the lives the policeman swore to protect includes his own life, thus, if he senses a danger, that puts his own life and others in immediate danger, he’s expected to use a commensurate force to deescalate same.
The attempt to compare the UK police to the Ghana Police in terms of resources by Mr Kpebu, and based on that to say the things he said is something I’m trying hard to understand. As a lawyer, I don’t think he will attempt to compare the UK judicial system to that of Ghana in terms of resources, etc. That comparison is a complete mismatch.
Again, what baffles me most is that in all this, I’m yet to see any strong condemnation from some of the security expects, civil society organizations, lawyers, etc., who have the privilege to sit on national television and radio concerning the unwarranted attack by the demonstrators on the police who were only there to protect them and the rest of the citizens – the police has always been the low hanging fruit. What they forget is that some of these one sided criticism only encourage others to think unprovoked revolt against the police is normal.
The police as a human institution isn’t immune to infractions. But we must not always try to find fault, even if there’s none. I’m on record to have criticized the police on several occasions.
Looking at the caliber of people who endorsed the just ended Arise Ghana demonstration, I didn’t expect such level of lawlessness.
Let’s watch it!!!