Comment: Joseph Mensah Oti-Asirifi ||Skyy Power FM
The third day of 2019/2020 Ghana Premier League ended with a reported tragedy at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium, where a fan was shot in the eye by a police officer, in a reported incident of post-match ambush on referee Charles Bulu.
I feel more provoked when I hear commentaries blaming the fans of Kotoko and the referee as well as his assistants only. In my view, there is a third party which is complicit in this whole shooting case and it is the Ghana Police team that wanted to immediately, whisk the referee away! The police are supposed to exercise tact and professionalism in the peculiar incident of stadium crowd management, as well as public safety; and in this Baba Yara Sports Stadium circumstance, they failed to do so, and someone must be touched within their group.
Why is our police so apprehensive, jittery and overly reactive at the little group or mass demonstration? Why? Many times, the Ghana Police is caught up in this lazy, carefree approach of shooting one to scare all, at the least charge of the crowd, even at the presence of an amour vehicle. Even when it’s only one noisy fan engaged in a misbehavior, you find them pulling him, hit butting him, kicking and slapping the person all over, for what?
In this tragedy, I ask:
-was the fan armed?
-was the crowd with ammunitions?
-If someone throws water at a referee or a police officer, should the police respond with bullets?
-Why did the police officer shoot at the eye of the fan, but not the leg if the intention of shooting was to disenable the supposedly aggressive fan?
-Why was the police in a hurry to pull the referee through, and drive him away immediately, couldn’t they have waited for the crowd to disperse before?
-Was the AK47 the only crowd management weapon/tool available, what about the hot water canon and the electric shock tools?
In any day, I will accuse the police of a poor, elementary and unprofessional conduct, and call on the police administration to institute an inquiry into the incident, and issue a public statement on its findings.
On the other side, the Ghana FA’s expression of displeasure should have also touched on the conduct of the police regarding the incident. The shooting was completely a thoughtless option, and that should be made clear!
The fans are those who patronize the products of the FA, league matches, FA Cup matches, and other competitions. If their lives are endangered in the market (the match venues) by the police, they stay home, the FA loses customers, and the wealth and the excitement we are struggling to build would be gone! Which parent will carry his family to a venue if our police continue to act with carelessness and impunity? Why won’t I go to the beach instead?
If the FA sees the fans as major partners, it should see this conduct of the police as an assault on its product, and call on the police to restrain and quickly re-train those who come to the stadium to watch football. If we indeed want to bring back the love and create wealth for all, then the police at our stadiums must buck-up.