Monday, November 13, 2017


By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, November 13, 2017

Two Ghanaian professors have kicked against an attempt by parliament to pass a bill in the name of Major Maxwell Mahama, the army officer who was brutally murdered at Denkyira-Obuasi (now New Obuasi), in the Central Region in May this year.

According to them, it will be prudent for the government to widen the scope of the bill for the benefit of all security personnel who died or were maimed in line of duty, and pointed out that the bill in its current form, discriminates against all other personnel who had suffered a similar fate.

In an article entitled, “The Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill is a Good Idea Gone Bad: Replace it with a General Law on Security Personnel Survivors’ Benefits,” Professors Stephen Kwaku Asare and Edward Ansah Akuffo, who are based in United States and Canada respectively, claimed, “The Major Mahama Bill flouts the principles of generality and non-discrimination and cannot withstand constitutional scrutiny.”

They maintained, “The recent gruesome murder of Major Mahama at Denkyira-Obuasi is an example of a security personnel paying the ultimate price while on duty,” and added, “The overwhelming public condemnation of the abominable act against the fine military officer and the public show of affection for his family demonstrate not only our rejection of mob justice, but also our appreciation for and commitment to those who safeguard our peace.

“Major Mahama lived to make a difference. He died protecting the environment from the ravages of galamseyers.”

Professors Kwaku Asare and Ansah Akuffo also said the deceased soldier’s posthumous promotion from the rank of Captain to Major “demonstrates leadership and responsible government in a democratic environment.”

In spite of the commendation, they insisted that the bill in its current form is targeting Major Mahama “and appears to ignore other security personnel we have lost in the past. It is a cardinal principle of the rule of law that laws must apply to broad categories of people and must not single out individuals or groups for special treatment.”

The professors listed other security personnel who were killed or maimed while serving the country and said they (personnel) equally deserve similar special treatment being given to Major Mahama.

In a letter which was directly an appeal to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Professors Kwaku Asare and Ansah Akuffo stated, “It is a tough call but my advice is that you should not give assent to the Major Mahama Trust Fund Bill. Rather, you should return it to parliament for it to be replaced by a comprehensive Bill that provides timely, predictable and easy-to-access benefits to the families of ALL SECURITY PERSONNEL who pay the ultimate price while serving the nation.”

They said, “The power of parliament to isolate people for rewards, punishment or different treatment is dangerous and must not be countenanced in this Republic. We must not traverse that path.

“Even though the Bill is well intentioned, it sets a very bad precedent; it treats equally situated persons differently; it creates bitterness for families in similar situations who are hardly recognized; and it affects the collective morale of service personnel,” they noted.

Professors Kwaku Asare and Ansah Akuffo underscored, “The Major Mahama Bill is problematic at several levels. First, it targets only the departed officer and his immediate family and ignores the other security personnel we have lost in the past. Second, the initiation and passage of the bill flout the principles of universalism and non-discrimination.

“Mr. President, seize this opportunity to reiterate your commitment to the rule of law, which requires that our laws conform to the generality principle and are not discriminatory.”

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