Movies, in most cases, are fictional stories about everyday occurrences but nowadays the acting is generally so good and the stories so well thought out that when an armed man was arrested in a church in Accra where the President of Ghana usually worships, I – with the benefit of all my knowledge about such crimes from reading books and watching movies – immediately had a clear idea how the case would be treated. But this was a real life occurrence and proffered a chance for the relevant authorities – the police, the Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the judiciary – to show how such a case would be handled.
The conclusion of the case within two days culminating in a ten-year sentence meted out to the accused has led to allegations of ineptitude and left the populace with more questions than answers about “Mahama’s Killer”, as the accused has been dubbed in some quarters.
The details of this case are peculiar but the way they have been handled are disturbing. The accused, a Mr Charles Antwi, according to media reports of the court proceedings, claimed to have planned to kill the president. He also expressed his frankly incredible intentions of becoming the President of Ghana, one of his reasons for planning to assassinate President Mahama, and decried the current rate of development as well as the incessant power outages, popularly known as dumsor, in Ghana today.
Tellingly however, he claimed he had conjured up these ideas in Libya, purchased a gun from a Burkinabe and found out where the President worships from a soldier at the Castle, the nation’s former seat of government. These circumstances, individually, should at least warrant a degree of questioning but altogether, they should be a huge cause for concern and be dealt with with more seriousness than has been shown. If you couple these facts with the insanity claims by members of his family, then Ghanaians deserve more answers to the many unanswered questions his trial and prosecution have unearthed.
The movies and books I alluded to would be asking and answering questions like:
– Was Charles Antwi working alone?
– Is he mentally ill?
– Why was he charged with only illegal possession of firearms if he also confessed to planning to kill the president?
– Who is this Burkinabe selling firearms to potential president killers and why oh why is a soldier of the Ghana Armed forces freely giving out information about the President’s whereabouts?
The swift two-day arrest, questioning, prosecution and sentencing suggests the need to quickly sweep this case under the carpet or to make the relevant authorities in charge of this case seem very effective. But the 21st century isn’t a world to take for granted aspects of security and cases like Mr Antwi’s should be used to help the country analyse and gauge its preparedness against persons or acts that threaten the stability of the nation.