The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Afisa Djaba, has said it is unjustifiable for Ghanaians to criticize her Ministry for not swiftly condemning the assault on an alleged female thief in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.
A video, which captured some men beating and stripping the victim naked, went viral on social media a few weeks ago.
The incident has angered some Ghanaians who complained about the Gender Ministry’s delay in swiftly taking action on the incident.
But speaking on the Citi fm, the Minister explained that the Ministry refused to respond as soon the incident occurred because the details available at the time were scanty to have compelled a response from them.
“I understand some people are saying we did not respond on time; it is a criminal act and you cannot get up and respond without knowing the details. An allegation has been made. Whether it is true or not, it is not for anybody to be the judge…you don’t have the right to judge that person. The law says you are innocent until proven guilty.So it is a process, you cannot get up and start talking about things you don’t know. You don’t know until we work on it.”
Her call comes after she condemned the act and described it as horrific, and commended efforts by the police in arresting some suspects.
“Ghana is a blessed country; and we live by the principles of democracy and the rule of law. I condemn the video. It is horrific, it is about injustice, and that is not who we are as a people. Ghanaians have a lot of warmth and love especially for their mothers and children and so even if there is an allegation we believe a person is innocent until proven guilty.Criminals as well have rights; so in this case there is an allegation that she has stolen some money; but whether it is true or not, it is not for the mob to decide. It is for the system. It is the Police who will decide on that and that is why I am condemning it.”
“The treatment she was given is inhumane and lacks dignity. I want to apologize on her behalf and Ghana, and we will put in some mechanisms to ensure that it does not happen again. Having said that; I think there is a trend of intolerance building up in our society. Sometimes even young men who are involved are burnt. Mob action and some form of rage seems to be coming into our national development and that means we have a lot of work in the advocacy so we are going to work with the Police and stakeholders like the traditional rulers and the victims themselves so that we begin to sensitize our people about tolerance and the rights of individuals.”