By: Rebecca Ampah
A renowned development activist and gender and inclusivity specialist, Shamima Muslim, has strongly responded to the recent police actions, highlighting a critical distinction between lawful and awful behaviour.
Her reaction came in the wake of the controversial arrest of #occupyjulorbihouse demonstrators on September 21, 2023. In her response, she criticised the police’s conduct and tagged it as “awful” rather than lawful. She emphasised the need to exercise prudence and good judgement, even when operating within the boundaries of the law, warning that actions, even if perceived as lawful, can have dreadful consequences.
“Good sense should be exercised even in what you think is lawful because, even in your so-called execution of the lawful, you can be awful,” she said.
During a discussion hosted by Thelma Tackie on GTV’s breakfast show on September 22, 2023, she pointed out that these individuals who were confronted by the police were engaged in what they believed to be lawful activities and did not possess any harmful equipment, raising questions about the proportionality of the police response.
“Whose side are the police really on?” She quizzed.
Shamima clarified that she was not advocating for citizens to take the law into their own hands and disrupt the peace but addressing the uneven application of the law, where strict measures are enforced selectively, often overlooking certain privileged groups or those deemed “more Ghanaian” than others.
“We pick and choose when to enforce the law strictly, and we choose to turn a blind eye when others who are more Ghanaian than others are breaching the same law,” she stated.
She further underscored the role of the police in maintaining order and called for an approach that not only upholds the law but also facilitates peaceful expressions of grievances by the public. She advocated for a balanced and just society where the voices of all citizens are respected, ultimately striving for a state where justice and fairness prevail.