On Monday, October 16, 2017 Ghanaians woke up to face another rather embarrassing front page news about their police collecting petty bribes from commercial drivers. In the midst of the understandable public backlash, Earl Ankrah calls for calm and suggests rather that maybe our police (and other bribe-taking, hitherto revered public officials) need a lil hug.
Date: Monday, 16th October 2017.
Spot: Graphic front page.
Message: “Six Police Officers Hot”.
About: “officers caught on video collecting money from drivers”.
In fact, this habit, which is all too familiar to Ghanaians, has transcended a “PAMSCAD” initiative or an act synonymous to pilfering; and has become an #Addiction.
I daresay, it’s gradually transitioned to a point where they derive a certain satisfaction (ignited by a rush of adrenaline thru their brains), whenever they’re able to successfully snap a note, no matter how small from a driver. To bring it home, it’s a case of “Ekiki-me!”
I can’t exactly tell if the ‘high’ is sparked from the thrill that their uniforms intimidate drivers, or from that ‘split-second’ brush of contact between their palms and the money, or from the whole swift mafioso telepathic sweep between them and the drivers..
But one fact is clear to me now: this isn’t about some economic status. It’s about some perpetually insatiable thrill, which must be crushed in a “bull by the brainz and the ballz” manner by the police HR department swiftly, before it becomes a normally accepted police culture; if it hasn’t already. Indeed, when a society embraces an illegality, it’s no longer illegal. And that’s the precipice towards which we seem to be jetting.
Where the officer’s job “satisfaction” is triggered, not by his ability to solve a complex crime puzzle; nor his adrenaline rush, not about his ability to supply solid plots to a prosecutor to nail down a white collar criminal, but by his dexterity @ ‘teleporting’ a crumpled loose red note, without just cause, bereft of the slightest sense of shame…[after all the guaranteed monthly earnings and the authority he wields], it’s no longer bribery, no longer misbehavior, no longer a scramble to make ends meet..
It’s a case for a clinical psychologist; as it was of a handful of judges, who after all their emoluments and social prestige, were worshipfully thankful to criminals for a dash of dirty and crumpled low denominations, livestock and unattractive call girls. As it is for the spouse, who after all the love, care, mind-blowing sex and stability, would risk a fling and another and yet another, just for the kick of it; albeit transient.
They are not social deviants.
They aren’t outlaws.
They just need to be rescued from themselves..
And from the society that their acts harm;
They need a special hug.
It’s all confusing and gut-wrenching sad!
But that’s just what it is.
Source: This article was published on page 7 of the Daily Graphic (Ghana’s most influential newspaper) on 27th 0ctober 2017. Earl Ankrah is a former ground-breaking television anchor of Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. He champions civil liberties, children and women’s rights and environmental protection, among others. He has won several awards and recognitions in his career, the most recent being an ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) recognition award in October 2019.