A worried Rawlings said killings, including that of Joseph Boakye Danquah-Adu, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North in the Eastern Region, call for the strict application of the death penalty to serve as a deterrent to would-be murderers.
A 20-year-old mobile phone dealer at Madina Zongo Junction, Daniel Asiedu, has been arrested in connection with the murder of the MP.
Daniel Asiedu, aka Sexy Don Don, has been charged at an Accra district court for allegedly murdering the MP.
However, the people he named initially as his accomplices, in the persons of Avenger and Junior Agoogo, have still not been arrested.
Mr Rawlings said applying the death penalty rule which has not been enforced for many years could help reduce the unnecessary killings in the country.
The ex-military ruler’s comment is likely to meet strong opposition from human rights activists who have virtually succeeded in pushing for the end to death penalties.
Former President Rawlings made the suggestion when the family of JB Danquah-Adu, who was brutally murdered in his Shiashie, East Legon home in Accra recently, paid a courtesy call on him to inform him about the funeral arrangements.
“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,” the ex-president complained.
“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 wondered.
He urged Parliament to consider the need to amend the 1992 Constitution so that regional security councils will have the power to approve the execution of convicts sentenced under the capital punishment rule.
His wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, who was also in the meeting, said there are a lot of crimes of similar magnitude which have not been investigated to their logical conclusions.
She called on the security agencies to step up their game as she said the wave of murders was frightening. “We need to investigate all the murders so they do not recur.
“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,” she added.
Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, their daughter who is fighting a legal battle at the court of law over her election as the National Democratic Congress (NDC) parliamentary candidate for Klottey Korle, said the news of JB’s death “shook everyone.”
She said there should be no delay in investigating the MP’s murder and similar unresolved ones.
“A crime of this nature must not be allowed to fade away. The truth must be uncovered to give closure not only for the family, but also for the whole country,” she underscored.
Frank Adu Jnr, a banker and elder brother of the deceased MP, said “We miss our departed JB dearly. He was like a pied piper catering for many of his constituents.”
He was concerned about the level of poverty and unemployment in society and said it was important that government gave hope to the ordinary people.
“If as a government does not give hope, then these young boys and girls without hope commit some of the crimes we see today. 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,” he observed.
A member of the family, Opanin George Amoah, expressed disquiet about 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.
“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,” Opanin Amoah charged.
He stated, “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.”
By William Yaw Owusu