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The killers And Stealers On Easy Street

By Daily Graphic

I scurried frantically about like a headless chicken when I found myself getting late for an assignment the other day, and managed to leave home without shaving off my whiskers.

On the way to my destination, I glanced in the automobile mirror and found a strange beast from some unknown planet staring morosely at me.

I have never had the mind set of the bloke who wrote Ecclesiastes but hey, I have on occasions like that found myself wondering whether what we get in return, is really worth the daily sweating and scurrying about.

These days, fiercely competing demands on a working bloke's monthly budget make rank nonsense of the concept of personal budgetary planning.

Amid all that, Jomo, some fellows just keep getting all the luck, oh yes they do. Minister of Health Dr. George Sipa-Yankey who resigned his position this week over the Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal for example, admits having been the lucky beneficiary of a “free” gift of £15, 000 from M& J.

Consider what a splendid existence ours would be if we all got £15, 000 gifts everyday, Jomo. Gone would be the splitting headaches over children's school fees, the landlords' rent, and the murderous electricity, water and other domestic bills.

There would be more than enough left over from settling the bills for some bush-meat pepper soup and an apotoyuwa full of cassava and yam fufu everyday. These guys must be kidding, Jomo. The question is: kidding who?

Everyone knows this Papa Bronya fellow is only a fictional character and free meals have never really existed, not even a free breakfast of corn mill porridge and some bean cakes (kose).

They say money can do everything except change a man into a woman, but they are dead wrong, old chap: Money can change a fellow's gender at the drop of a hat or rather the flash of a surgeon's scalpel.

The technology is now available. What money can never ever do, Jomo, is hide! There is absolutely no way money can ever hide.

Looted cash may indeed hide for a while but it eventually resurfaces in the form of property: mansions, cars, freewheeling personal and family expenditures, investments and a lavish lifestyle.

There are other reasons illicit wealth can never hide: Information leakage by political and business rivals and surprise, surprise, accountability! A semblance of it still exists even in societies with sky high levels of corruption like ours, you know.

By the by, some professed anti-corruption campaigners are not helping the fight against corruption at all, Jomo. They keep diluting the discourse on corruption with a hypocritical definition of corruption which says from shoe shine boy to CEO everyone is corrupt…

Don't mind them. We are not talking about people who pinch bananas in the market place but those who help themselves to our cash and suddenly become richer than the Sultan of Wetincall –call-the-place.

Truly, who is corrupt, Jomo? It is certainly not me. It must be the next bloke. That is the prevailing attitude. In the wake of the M& J bribery scandal, officials of the former and current political administrations are brandishing kilometer-long lists of alleged cases of corruption each side says the other is guilty of.

Let us investigate them meticulously so that in the end the public will see how many clean men and women in politics are left standing!

I told you a couple of weeks ago that the prevailing deceptive peace and calm and the apparent lull in armed robbery in the country should be making everyone uneasy didn't I?

Those who are trapped irredeemably in the world of robbery as a lucrative means of livelihood are not going to crawl into holes and lie down to die just because of the recent police offensive against them.

When a very dangerous menace attacks society ruthlessly and goes into hiding, you do not heave a premature sigh of relief and go to take a snooze. You pursue it and if it runs into the fortress of its cave, you prod the cave violently with a stick until it re-emerges.

If rather than surrender, it runs off again, you keep pursuing it until you catch up with it, then you wrestle it to the ground and flog it mercilessly into total submission and then you can have some peace. There is simply no other way the war against the robbery menace is going to be won.

There is another reason for the limited success of the war against armed robbery: Members of the Police Service are paid shameful salaries, work in tiny, stuffy, crammed offices with cracked floors and broken window panes and believe it or not, have no where to sleep at night.

These are the kind of police personnel who must patrol the streets and fight the robbers. Corporate sponsors in Ghana are a weird breed if you ask me. For being pretty and acting up before crowds at pageants, young girls have mansions and cars showered on them.

Yet it has not occurred to these sponsors, to help support the police with patrol vehicles and housing facilities or set up a fund to care for the dependants of police personnel killed in the line of duty.

Hey, do you reckon corporate business can thrive where armed robbery is a virtual social contagion?

After gun battles with police across the country left several armed robbers dead, human rights activists grumbled about the infringement of the robbers' right to life.

Robbers killed a cop this week at Ashaiman near Tema during a brazen, broad daylight attack on a bullion van belonging to a bank.

There was not a single word, not even a syllable; from human rights activists about the right of the young cop to life! What kind of activism is this?

On Tuesday the police public relations and communications chief grumbled on radio, that the police would not sit down and let the robbers keep killing them. It suggests that human rights activists may have to brace up for another round of arguments regarding robbers' rights!

What do you make of this argument about armed robbery being a by-product of poverty, unemployment and general social inequalities? It all sounds like a rational argument from the point of view of social psychology alright, but wait a second buddy:

Do the feelings of anger and desperation arising from poverty or unemployment diminish the responsibility of every human being to behave as a child of God and obey his commandments?

Hunger and deprivation are very painful, agonising experiences, trust me, but do you just grab guns and go killing, raping and maiming people because you have experienced both?

Only God knows what some people trying to live decent lives as law-abiding citizens have been through in this troubled existence of ours. This bloke knows what he is talking about, oh yes, I do!!