The former Deputy Communications Minister, Victoria Hamah, has in her first public statement, condemned the public humiliation inflicted on the three ladies who allegedly stole panties from the Mr. Price shop at the Accra Mall.
The embattled Hamah, who has been ‘out of coverage area’ for some time now, suddenly popped up yesterday, condemning the people who attacked the ladies who are said to be SHS leavers.
Vicky Hamah was sacked by President John Mahama last year October over a leaked tape recording in which she was overhead gossiping about the verdict of the Supreme Court on the presidential election petition, and has since gone underground. On her Facebook page comment, the former Deputy Communications Minister said, ‘This week has awakened Ghana to another horrid story of gender-based violence. A young woman was stripped naked in the Northern Region of Ghana and three women were subjected to crawl on their knees at the Accra Mall allegedly for stealing.
‘These two incidences, which witnessed young Ghanaian women subjected to assault and public humiliation, is an unfortunate reflection of the endemic reality of violence against women in our society. 57 years after Ghana has obtained a self-determination government, a struggle that was fought by both women and men, youth and adult, rich and poor, the Ghanaian woman is yet to experience her independence as a free citizen whose fundamental human rights enshrined in the Constitution must be respected!
‘These two isolated incidences are a shame and must be condemned by all right-thinking Ghanaians!
‘The abuse of one woman is an abuse to all women!’
Three girls were on Monday forced to crawl from the Mr. Price shop – where they were said to have stolen panties – to the main entrance of the Accra Mall, while onlookers took video shots and photographs of them.
The police have ordered an investigation into the matter.
Mr. Price Reacts
Mr. Price, the clothing store located in the plush Accra Mall, yesterday condemned the dehumanising treatment meted out to three ladies.
‘We are conducting a thorough internal investigation into this matter as well as awaiting a full account from our external security service provider for what happened and appropriate action will be taken. The law must always take its course and the humiliation suffered by the three women was unacceptable. We are very committed corporate citizens of Ghana and there is absolutely no way we would ever condone the treatment of anyone like thisâ€¦,’ Stuart Bird, the CEO of Mr. Price maintained in a statement released on Wednesday.
The CEO’s condemnation of the act followed serious backlash from human rights activists and the general public as the act of retribution went viral on social media (Facebook and YouTube).
‘Irrespective of the fact that the women were shoplifting, we offer our sincere apologies that they were treated in this way by our service provider,’ said Mr. Bird.
Radio stations, television channels and newspapers were on Wednesday awash with pictures of the alleged shoplifters and they attracted widespread public outcry of their humiliating ordeal.
The three alleged shoplifters were grabbed with stolen items which they were made to pay for.
After paying for the items, the security men at the shop allegedly ordered them to crawl from the shop to the entrance of the mall with shoppers and other onlookers taking photographs and videos.
A statement released by the Human Rights Advocacy Centre on Tuesday and signed by its Executive Director Robert Akoto Amoafo, condemned the act of retribution, saying the girls have been ‘â€¦victims of a humiliating and unlawful attempt at retribution. The actions on behalf of the Mr. Price staff are not only indefensible, but are also in direct violation of Ghana’s Constitution.’
The Ghana Police Service has also waded into the brouhaha, in a statement signed by DCOP David Nenyi Ampah-Bennin, the Director-General of Public Affairs, warning that ‘no one, apart from the court, has got the right to mete out punishment to persons suspected in any criminal case.’
‘The Police Administration condemns in no uncertain terms the abuse of rights and humiliation of three students caught for alleged shoplifting at Mr Price, a clothing shop in the Accra Shopping Mall,’ DCOP Ampah-Bennin condemned.
Consequently, the Police Administration has tasked the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the DOVVSU to launch an investigation into the incident.
The police said they had invited the manager of the shop for probe.
By Raphael Ofori Adeniran