Precisely what he means when he calls for the Government to “clean the Judiciary of all politically biased judges and corrupt practices if the Chief Justice fails to do so” is not clear (See “David Annan: The Judiciary Needs to be Cleaned” MyJoyOnline.com 3/30/11). Even so, we think we have a quite creditable understanding of exactly what the legal team member of the ruling National Democratic Congress means. For this is not the first time that a member of the Rawlings posse has attempted to coerce members of the Ghanaian judiciary into doing the group’s bidding.
On June 30, 1982, for instance, three Accra High Court judges were abducted from their homes in the thick of stygian darkness and summarily executed Mafia style. The charred remains of Justices Koranteng-Addow, Sarkodie and Agyepong would be discovered near Akuse on the Accra Plains. Earlier in a simulcast, then-Flt.-Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, chairman of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), would vehemently, albeit vacuously, deny either his own personal involvement or that of any known member of his cabinet in such dastardly act of the most horrific barbarism.
Needless to say, the fact that all three judges, and retired Ghana Armed Forces officer Major Sam Acquah, were of Akan descent added an unprecedented ethnic-cleansing dimension to the crime. Back then, a Special Investigation Board (SIB) established by a pressured PNDC government would forensically conclude that contrary to what Mr. Rawlings had misled Ghanaians and the rest of the world into believing, indeed, at least two known members of the P/NDC cabinet had been intimately and actively involved in the systematic orchestration of the assassination of the judges.
And here must be promptly recalled the fact that prior to the orchestration of this heinous crime, Mr. Rawlings and his PNDC apparatchiks had set up the so-called Public Tribunal and People’s Court with the express objective of permanently sidelining our British-inherited judicial system. Mr. Rawlings and his PNDC operatives would proceed to dominate the Ghanaian political landscape for some two decades, during which period the rule of law virtually came to depend on the capricious whims of Monsieur Rawlings and his flunkies.
In essence, what Mr. David Annan, by such primitive and morally reprehensible call clearly appears to be reminding Ghanaians is the fact that the extortionate system of the kangaroo court of justice minted by Mr. Rawlings and his cohorts has not worked. And, needless to say, it has not worked precisely because the Darwinian system of the P/NDC brand of justice, or judicial ministration, is patently unjust, morally untenable and practically regressive.
In the wake of their epic judicial failure over the checkered course of some twenty years, what the key operatives of the Rawlings posse are now attempting to do, by way of a new tack or strategy, is to intimidate scholarly, or intellectually informed, independent- and professionally-minded Ghanaian judges by both gratuitously accusing them of being ideologically affiliated with the erstwhile Kufuor-led government of the New Patriotic Party, as well as instigating ill-bred and undisciplined and youthful NDC thugs against these judges. And it is precisely on the latter score that the NPP faithful had better studiously heed Nana Akufo-Addo’s most opportune call for measured self-defense at all levels of national political engagement.
On the rather risible question of why Justice E. K. Ayebi predicated his ruling on the findings of the legitimately constituted Wuaku Commission Report, the relevant question which the likes of Messrs. Annan and Kwabena Adjei ought to ask of themselves is what sort and quality of forensic evidence Attorney-General Martin Amidu had presented to the Ayebi court. In other words, it pretty much constitutes the very height of folly for any NDC hack to cynically suggest that, somehow, Justice Ayebi ought to have committed himself to doing the expedient political bidding of the notoriously lethargic and noetic Mills-Mahama government.
As pointed out earlier, the very fact of Justice Marfo’s having judiciously ruled that judges ought not to “use reports of Commissions of Inquiries in matters before the Court in the Ghana-at-Fifty trial” ought to have served as a cautionary note to Mr. Amidu, by prompting the Attorney-general into thoroughly and diligently re-investigating the Andani case before proceeding to court. In other words, Mr. Annan cannot fault either Justice Ayebi or NPP-appointed judges for the scandalous and incompetent prosecutorial performance of NDC appointees.
Then also, as one writer on the Andani tragedy rightly pointed out, right from the outset, the NDC operatives have treated the Yendi massacre luridly and tendentiously, almost as if the only life that mattered was that of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, rather than all the approximately 40 courtiers, including the Dagbon overlord, of course, who lost their lives, quite a remarkable percentage of whom belonged to the Abudu Gate of the Dagbon royal family. This is where any biases regarding the judicial and prosecutorial proceedings of the Andani case ought to be envisaged. Now, tell me about cheap political point-scoring!
Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author, most recently, of “The Obama Serenades” (Lulu.com, 2011).