On the Accra Mall Panty “Thieves” and The Rule of Law

1. This is not a gender issue for me

2. This is not even really a human rights issue for me

It’s about the rule of law. “The Rule of Law is the foundation of a civilised society. It establishes a transparent process accessible and equal to all.”

I’ve read reactions to this Accra Mall punishment-by-crawling case, even from young lawyers and law students, and I’m thinking.. should I be worried? A few declarations, in case you’re going to allow yourself to be overcome by emotion or whatever it is that fuels your departure from civilised reasoning.

1. I do not condone stealing.

2. I have been robbed before. Twice actually. Read about  my most recent experience here.

People, we have laws for a reason. That constitution thing – it’s not for decoration. CEO of Mr. Price has already come out to condemn the actions of the security staff because in the world of big boys and girls, when you take the law into your own hands, even if you’re right, chances are, you get punished. Sometimes, the person who “wronged” you even goes scot-free.

As I mentioned earlier, I have been robbed before and when Evans Mensah of Joy fm asked me if I would have supported the police if they shot my attackers instead of arresting them, taking them to court.. etc.. I said NO.

I’m not Mother Theresa or Gandhi, but laws are laws. Catch a thief, take her/him to the police. Simple.

Are you still holding on to your dreams of instant justice? Here’s a scenario for you.

You are at work when you get a phone call – your child has just been knocked down by a vehicle and is being rushed to the hospital. It’s that hospital where they won’t treat you if you haven’t paid yet, so you get into your car and head in that direction, tears streaming down your face and prayers on your lips. You are breaking the speed limit and since you forgot to put on your seat-belt  AND you’re on the phone with your spouse/parent, you’re breaking other laws as well. You are approaching a traffic light at Nima. It’s going to turn amber, and then red soon, so you make a dash for it. At the same time, a little child making his way home from school dashes across the street, because, well… he’s a kid. Your 2008 Toyota highlander smashes his little body, the force of impact lifting him up 1.5 metres from the ground. You hit your brakes.. too late. He’s dead before he falls, his brains spilling out of a gaping hole where half of his face used to be. His mother rushes to her son’s body, her guttural screams piercing the air.

It’s Nima. There are young men around, you see them coming for you and yet you can’t move. You’re paralysed by shock.

Rule of Law or Instant Mob Justice?

Now, here’s a quick IQ test.

If you catch someone stealing from you. What do you do?

a. Bash the person’s face in with a fufu pestle like the neanderthal you are

b. Make the person crawl out of your house.. (for the vine) and so the person comes back to steal another day. Ahiaa for crawling?

c. Make a citizens arrest without abusing the “thief”, and take her/him to the nearest police station, because you are civilised, and because you are wise.

d. Tweet about it.

Text your answer to shortcode 4007 for your IQ test result, and you could be the winner of a slightly used space shuttle.