Feature: Still interrogating Prof. Atuguba’s research and the brouhaha coming from those feeling the pinch – By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor

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Prof. Raymond Atuguba

Folks, let it be said and known without any shred of doubt that those who do research on topics of interest to them are mostly motivated by an urge. That urge is anybody’s guess: To prove or disprove whatever might be compelling them to go the way they want to go, using material available to them. And they organize their research to help them explore the variables.

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The outcome of their efforts depends on those variables, not the knee-jerk reactions or expectations of those who are hurt or feel threatened by the outcome of such a research effort.

A good researcher with a clean conscience will not do anything to undermine his/her integrity and will set up the apparatus of research to cover all the areas of interest, using the guidelines. The tenets are clear, whether it is qualitative, quantitative or mixed-methods research. A conscionable researcher who knows how his/her research findings will influence public discourse should know how to set things up.

In that context, the needless grumblings about Prof. Raymond Atuguba‘s research findings on the underpinnings of the reasoning behind the verdicts of the Supreme Court judges that he studied could have been better understood.

He says that he did his research on the Supreme Court judges’ verdicts (using data from their own rulings available to him) and came out to say that he found why they went the way they did—that in most cases, their verdicts reflected a lot to establish why they went the way they did because of their political connections or because of how and by whom they were appointed to office—serving the interests of the political authorities that put them in office. What is the justification for any hair-pulling unless those doing so have something to hide or to defend against being exposed?

Those opposed to him have so far failed to persuade me that they really know what he set out to do and why he came out with those findings. They are using “politically influenced views” to respond to his work. Looking at the knee-jerk negative and unintellectual reaction from them to Prof. Atuguba’s research, one wonders why those antagonists won’t even want to know the rationale behind his choice of topic for research. Or to know his motivation for doing so.

I think that an analysis of the  statement on the motivation could also help us know more than his findings have given us to know thus far. And he has provided that statement in his rationale. How could he use 15 minutes at that presentation to cover the entire perimeter of everything? He has his project in place for further scrutiny which those interested in knowing more should look for. I have seen it all and can be sure of whatever I say here in his defence. It has nothing to do with partisan politics.

The point is: Why did Prof. Atuguba choose this area to investigate? Any premonition? Why (especially because he is a lecturer in law) would he do such a project, knowing very well how “explosive” it is (because our judges think that they are sacrosanct and untouchable)? (But can they really defend their self-perceptions, having already been blown into shreds by the nasty revelations given us by Anas Aremeyaw Anas?).

What has Prof. Atuguba seen that we haven’t? And why go that way to investigate the verdicts of the Supreme Court judges and not others below them? I thought a good Supreme Court judge would want to question issues as such so we can use the research findings to improve governance at the level of the Judiciary. Condemning Prof. Atuguba’s findings just because they hurt those who wear the cap that fits them won’t help us do so.

I have been wondering why the so-called “learned friends” who have impetuously reacted to his presentation won’t go beyond their self-interested shallowness to give us anything intellectual to help us analyze issues better.

The Chief Justice made her ugly noise to come across as none the better; Justice Dotse said a lot to mean nothing; and the story ended there. Is that how the matter should be dealt with?

What low-level thinking isn’t at play here? Does the Ghanaian Judicial Service even have its own Research Department to do research on what will help it grow? And why does the Chief Justice not know how embittered staff are? They see what goes on but don’t benefit from it. Some of us worked with them many years ago and can vouch for it all.

One expects this weakling of a Chief Justice to rise above the ordinary to improve the operations of the Judiciary. Foolishly reacting to Prof. Atuguba as she did at the event isn’t a good way to do so. She only ended up confirming doubts of her professional competence and integrity as a Chief Justice. As for Justice Dotse, the least said about him, the better. His integrity got washed away long ago. He is still at post because John Mahama was annoyingly lenient toward him and Akufo-Addo is overzealously keeping him at post to sing his praise.

Such zombies will feel hurt whenever comments hit them hard. And there will be more to prove to them that Ghana deserves better than their kind of legal nuisance. What is the law that they interpret bu an ass? And once the law is an ass, those interpreting it because they have been so appointed to do so are asses themselves!!

Folks, let me tell you that this is the most ground-breaking work to shake our democracy. The earlier those damning Prof. Atuguba listen to reason, the better chances are that the right steps will begin being taken to improve the situation. Lumping him up with all that political opponents see and condemn as an affront to their “entitlement” to rule Ghana forever will spell more doom than expected.

If for nothing at all, the inadequacies of our Judiciary are disturbing. Why are cases dragging on? Just consider cases of interest to the NPP itself: the Adams Mahama murder trial, the JB Danquah murder trial, Captain Mahama’s murder trial, and many others dragging on because of the rot in the Judiciary.

Then, add the politically motivated ones to the lot, and you should be able to see where the dead end crops up. Is that how to build democracy in Ghana under Akufo-Addo who claims to be a lawyer but cannot separate the woods from the forest?

I shall return…


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