28 J.L. Pol'y & Globalization 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/jawpglob28 and id is 1 raw text is: 


Journal of Law, Policy and Globalization                                                     www~iiste.oig
ISSN 2224-3240 (Paper) ISSN 2224-3259 (Online)
Vol.28, 2014

       A Critical Assessment of Public Administration and Civil
Disobedience in Developing African Democracies: An Institutional

                          Analysis of Mob Justice in Ghana

                       Emmanuel Yeboah-Assiamah*      Thomas Agyckum Kyeremeh
  Department of Public Administration & Health Services Management, P.O.Box LG 78, University of Ghana
                                     Business School, Legon-Ghana
         * E-mail of the corresponding author: yimmanuel 4yahoo.com  tomyleel 110@4yahoo.com

Abstract
Public administration exists primarily to enforce laws and the extent to which this mandate is carried out
espouses trust among citizenry in the entire political system. The study aimed at assessing the relationship
between institutional effectiveness and civil disobedience in Ghana using the specific case of how perception of
unresponsive police and legal systems do contribute to mob justice. The study adopted the case of Nima
Community in Greater Accra Region. The study sampled 140 respondents involving 40 police officials and 100
community   members using the simple random        and purposive sampling techniques. Semi-structured
questionnaire was the main research instrument. Findings of the study revealed that mob justice is prevalent in
the Nima community not that the people are lawless per se but it is an action to put 'the fear of God' or to deter
potential criminals in the community. More importantly, mob action is perpetrated to ensure justice is given to
individuals for their actions. The study revealed that whilst respondents view the action as barbaric and affront to
human rights and the law, they are compelled to do so because the alternative is probabilistic. The study found
out that, the absence or insufficient law enforcement agents, and the perceived unsatisfactory performance of the
security agents as well as legal system greatly influence mob violence. The study concludes that people perceive
the police system and law courts to be too slow in reacting to issues of stealing, crime, robbery and murder
which to the people demand quick interventions; this suggests that the ability of the law enforcement officials
and agencies to work conscientiously to the satisfaction of the populace does have a greater implication on how
people obey the law and trust the legal regime. Put differently, if the police and law courts work effectively,
professionally, and impartially, it will inspire confidence and trust among community members to report crime
suspects on daily basis without recourse to mob justice. The study makes four main recommendations to help
curb the phenomenon of mob justice.
Keywords: Mob justice, Civil disobedience, Instant justice, Institutions, Developing countries, Ghana

1. Introduction
Being the first country in the sub-Saharan Africa to attain independence in 1957 with a motto Freedom and
Justice, Ghana still suffers from weak a public administrative system which has a spiral effect on moral
degeneration and civil disobedience. In spite of such a catchy motto, experience suggests that whilst 'freedom' in
Ghana appears cheap, the 'justice' element appears quite expensive. With the proliferation of the media as the
fourth arm of government (in the realms) and repeal of the criminal libel law, people easily take their phones to
exercise their freedom of speech among others without much restriction (Asamoah et al., 2013). However,
seeking as well as obtaining justice in the law courts appears cumbersome and expensive at least to the ordinary
and average Ghanaian. Perhaps, majority of the people as a result of the high illiteracy rates do not understand
the legal system which may seem to be much expensive to them in terms of time and monetary commitment.
         The structures and processes that underpin any organization or entity provide the framework within
which activities are carried out. Such rules and processes or systems and the behavior of actors do have greater
influence on how the organization works. One could observe fundamental and structural variations in the rules,
processes and behavior of officials in the public administration systems of developing countries and developed
economies. Scholars note that whilst the advanced countries tend to pay particular attention to institutions, their
counterparts in the developing world often tend to pay lip service to the rules and processes. Public
administrative system of Ghana comprising the Ministries, Departments, Agencies and the other para-statal
organizations that are involved in enforcement of public law and order suffer from huge implementation laxities
characterized with apparent partiality and corruption. In the third week of March, 2014; a court in Ashanti
Region jailed four armed robbers for 80 years, however, to the utter dismay of key witnesses, the leader of the
group was freed by the court. In their reaction, these complainants lamented that freeing the leader of the gang is
an affront to justice because they provided enough evidence to the prosecutors who failed to tender these in the
court room. Similarly, in the month of March 2014, there was a shooting incident in Aboabo in the Northern
Region which led to the death of one person. There was a subsequent attack on a radio station which led to the
destruction of several items. The incident was reported to the police and several culprits were arrested by the

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