Former President Jerry John Rawlings has urged Parliament to consider amending the Constitution to enable Regional Security Councils to have the power to approve the execution of convicts sentenced under capital punishment.
He said: “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?”
He made the statement when the family of Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, the murdered Member of Parliament for Abuakwa North, paid a courtesy call on him.
“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,” he said.
Flight Lieutenant Rawlings said Ghana should not be witnessing the spate of killings with impunity when the Constitution exacted the severest punishment possible.
He therefore called for the strict application of the capital punishment law to stem the spate of callous killings.
Flt Lt. Rawlings however said the killing and the impunity of it, unfortunately, came as no surprise to him, and it was because the perpetrators of politically related killings in the not too distant past got away with their crimes.
A leading member of the family, Opanin George Amoah, had earlier criticised 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.
He stated: “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 soothe us,” Opanin Amoah stated.
Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings who was also in the meeting, said there were a lot of crimes of similar magnitude, which had not been investigated to their logical conclusions.
She urged the security agencies to boost security in the entire country as the wave of murders was frightening.
“We need to investigate all the murders so that such situations they do not recur,” she said.
“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 Rawlings, NDC Parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korle, and the brother of the deceased, Mr Frank Adu also commented on the situation.
Zanetor said the news of J. B. Danquah-Adu’s death shook everyone and there should not be seen to be a delay in investigating the MP’s murder and similar unresolved ones.
“A crime of this nature must not be allowed to fade away,” she said. “The truth must be uncovered to give a closure not only for the family but also for the whole country.”
Mr Adu said JB’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 piped piper catering for many of his constituents.”
Mr Adu expressed concern about the level of poverty and inequality in society and said it was important that the 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,” he said.
“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.”
The Abuakwa North MP, Mr Danquah-Adu was murdered at his Shiashie residence, near East Legon, in the early hours of February 9, 2016 and Daniel Asiedu, a 19-year old ex convict has confessed to the crime and is facing prosecution.