I rarely narrate this story as it is one that always sends shivers
down my spine. It happened more than three decades ago but it is still very
fresh in my mind. It is one of the few events that have been etched in my
The incident happened when I was in Primary 5 in
Nima. I was then about 11 years old. There was a school a spitting distance
from ours, with a woman selling ‘asaana’ and bread. ‘Asaana’ is a beverage made
from maize and predominantly prepared by Ewes. A combination of sweet asaana
and bread is something to be tasted and not told.
Having fallen in love with the beverage, my
friends and I religiously went to buy asaana from the neighbouring school when
going home. The ritual, which started from Primary 1, continued until that
Ironically, my two friends did not want to go
for the beverage that day because they had no money on them. They only agreed
to go with me after I had offered to foot the bill. If only I knew what was in
store for me!
To the asaana seller we went. We were
enjoying our asaana and bread when, suddenly, we saw a small crowd led by a
14-year-old girl coming towards us. The girl then pointed at me and, before I
could make sense of the situation, two big blokes held me by the shorts. They
raised me high as I struggled in vain to free myself. All I could hear from the
girl and others in the crowd was a statement in Hausa which literally
translates, “He is the one.”
“What have I done?” I shouted
back in Hausa. They screamed in unison that I was the one who had stolen the
waakye seller’s money earlier in the day. I was shocked and frightened. I was
known to be a brave boy; but not even my bravery could stop me from shedding
I protested my innocence but neither
did they believe me nor pay heed to my cry. The more I wept, the more they
referred to it as crocodile tears. To them, I was the thief they were looking
You can imagine an 11-year-old in such a
situation. I wept and shivered like a leaf on a tree. But not even the weeping
and shivering could spare me knocks and slaps.
After a thorough search, they found
nothing on me. That notwithstanding, I was given six lashes on the back and
released to go home. I was drenched in shame as the crowd hooted at me. Till
this day, I do not remember how I managed to get home.
Later in the evening, the waakye seller, her
husband and a couple of people came to our house. You can imagine my anxiety on
seeing them. But they calmed me down and said all was well.
Abusuapanin, the long and short of it was
that the real thief was later found. They were thus in our house to plead for
forgiveness for the torture and shame they had compelled me to endure. My
mother’s reaction is another story for another day.
At least, I was fortunate to have been spared
my life. But the likes of Captain Mahama hadn’t been that fortunate. We all
know the Captain Mahama story so I will not bore you by recounting it.
Captain Mahama’s statue was unveiled late
last week. The essence is to remind us of the painful murder and never to
engage in mob injustice again. A very noble cause, if you asked me!
But a day or so after the unveiling,
there was news of another mob injustice at Huhunya in the Eastern Region. The
alleged goat thief was mercilessly beaten, put in a car boot and set ablaze.
His accomplices, who allegedly shot two residents, bolted away when they sensed
I commiserate with the families of the
two deceased Huhunya residents. But for a country that just unveiled a statue
to symbolize the country’s stance against mob injustice, I’m amazed at the
silence on the Huhunya incident. Indeed, the silence is very loud!
I’m still waiting to hear the voices of
so-called human rights groups. I’m still waiting to hear same voices that
inundated our ears when the Captain Mahama debacle happened. Or is it because
the Huhunya victim is alleged to be a thief? Was same not alleged in the case
of Captain Mahama until the truth came to light?
I’ve been a victim of mob injustice so
I know and feel it. I’ve also lost a cousin through the penis-vanishing scare
that hit the country some two or more decades ago. The victim is always guilty
because he is powerless. More so, when the victim is dead.
Don’t be deceived, we are all at risk
of becoming victims of mob injustice. The shout of “julor”, to wit “thief”,
can make your own kith and kin snuff life out of you, even without bothering to
know what you’ve stolen. That is my fear!
See you next week for another
interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!