Feature Article of Wednesday, 26 December 2012
Columnist: Appiah, Kofi
The world is a stage where all men and women have come as actors/actresses to play their parts and later leave the stage. Some have left as heroes; others leave as villains of the peace, while the rest have no mark at all. As already hinted, the whole wide world was a big stage and personalities whose names readily click such as Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, the Kennedy brothers (John, Edward and Robert), Albert Enstein, Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin, Premier of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republic from May 6, 1941 to March 5, 1953, Vladmir Lenin, Nikita Kruschev, strongman Adolf Hitler and his partner-in-trade, Adolf Eichmann, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Ghandi, Indira Ghandi, Yuri Gargarin, Mikail Gorbachev, Vladmir Putin, Mao Zedong, Chou en Lai, King George V, Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, Dag Hammarskjold, U Thant, Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, the Iron Lady, Jomo Kenyatta of Mau Mau fame, Julius Nyerere, Ayatollah Khomeini, Salim Ahmed Salim, Kwame Nkrumah, Anwar Sadat, Saddam Husein, Muamar Gaddafi, Ahmed Sekou Toure, Modibo Keita, Leopold Senghor, Foday Sankor, Samora Machel, Henry Kissinger, Abba Ebban, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro of Cuba, both fighting their comatose conditions with Nature, Houphoet Boigny, Hosni Mubarak, P.W. Botha, Ian Smith, age old Nelson Rolihaha Mandela, Sanni Abacha, Osama bin Laden, our living legend Matthew Aremu Okikade Olusegun Obasanjo and even Iddi Amin, who could humiliate some British residents in Uganda to carry him in a palanquin through the principal streets of Kampala to show his power, have come to play their parts on world stage as actors, actresses as well as political animals for their respective countries. Those living would definitely leave when the time comes. The lucky ones had their names printed in gold, others in silver while the third faction could not even secure the bronze plaque to have their names inscribed on. The best for such persons was to have their names smeared with mud because they had their hands deeply tainted with blood-stains. While some selected few led lives worthy of emulation, the rest regarded their fellow men/women as sub-conscious persons who were not even created as human beings. Most of these leaders knew that they were super humans to the extent to believe that there was God who could even change the destiny of man over -night by the flick of the finger – eg. the rich fool in the Bible.
BACK HOME In Ghana, probably, the following persons could be considered for mention in dispatches as they have equally come to play their parts and gone to the underworld - Paa Grant, Mensah Sarbah, the Big Six – J.B. Danquah, the Doyen of Ghana Politics, Kwame Nkrumah, William Ofori Atta, Edward Akufo Addo, Ako Adjei, Emmanuel Odarkwei Obetsebi Lamptey and many others whose names would not readily click. In other spheres of life, the Otu Brothers (S.J.A. & M.A.) as Army and Air Force Commanders respectively, J.A. Ankrah, Emmanuel Kwashie Kotoka, Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa, D.C.K. Amenu, Erasmus Ransford Teye Madjitey, J.W.K. Harlley, Bawa Andani Yakubu, J.H. Cobbina and the almighty Peter Nantonma Nanfuri and the rest have once tasted the pie of officialdom. Again, whereas some selected few from the host of names may have gotten their names written in gold, believe you me, majority of them would go for nothing. Many people would frown upon such names with abhorrence simply because of inhuman treatment meted out to humanity. Where are the following persons now – Jack Bebli, police sergeant-major who could make and unmake man ‘shit in his own panties’ during the AFRC/PNDC regimes and the unsung Salifu Amankwa, the dreaded name of a person whose diminutive personality invoked fear at the Nkrumah Circle, Accra, during the PNDC days? Jack Bebli persecuted and allegedly extorted so much money from drivers at Nkrumah Circle that he was more fearsome than Chairman Rawlings himself. According to unconfirmed reports, any person who was reported to him was regarded as enemy of that obnoxious revolution and to be able to give the dog a bad name and hang it, this man had a field day and, almost on daily basis, had some ‘dogs’ in human form to execute. But where is he now?
HOPEFUL It is hopeful that senior journalist, Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., would not deny this open secret as he has been quoted as saying on several radio stations and gone ahead to publish same in his Insight newspaper. Kwesi records that the PNDC regime was responsible for the disappearance of some 250 or more Ghanaians from this planet Earth till now. Whether true or false, Jack is dead and gone while Salifu may have gone mad as at now for the atrocities committed – the author stands for correction. Jack died a miserable death after a long illness at the Korle Bu Hospital while still an inmate at the Nsawam Medium Security Prison. But do their names ring any bells now in one’s ears for their atrocities against fellow human beings? Jack Bebli’s disgraceful end came after his involvement in a highway gold robbery case that he could not have extricated himself from that sordid act. Probably, as the main hatchet man for the PNDC hit squad in the extra judicial executions around John Memorial School on the Accra-Nsawam road, he was hypnotized by the ghosts of the innocent blood for that crime. All this happened during the AFRC/PNDC eras and nobody could raise a finger or the eyebrow. Some Ghanaians have forgotten about the natural law of justice; the law of Khama still prevails. The evil that men do definitely lives after them and it should not be a surprise that he must have been forced to do that ignoble and/or ignominious act by some force majeure when he and his greedy team were caught in the course of duty at gun point while exchanging fire with a bullion van belonging to a private mining company. It happened on the Accra-Winneba road while transporting processed gold bars from Dunkwa to the Accra Kotoka Airport for export by air to Europe. When he was found guilty of that offence, he was eventually jailed. While in jail he paid some many visits to the hospital as a result of ill health and the hospital authorities decided to keep him instead of the back and forth trips and it was not long that he died while on admission.
ELECTORAL COMMISSIONERS Since 1969, successive governments have appointed persons of high standing to the position of Electoral Commissioner; and they are Justice V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, Justice Isaac K. Abban for the UNIGOV elections of 1976 after which he ran for his dear life by jumping over the walls of the EC premises; Justice Joe Kingsley Nyinah for the 1979 elections before the handover by the AFRC on September 24, ’79; Justice Josiah Ofori Boateng for the 1992 elections with the late Nana Oduro Numapau as deputy commissioner for finance and administration and the embattled EC, Kwadwo Afari Djan as the deputy commissioner for opera -tions. Readers should note that previously, Mr. Rawlings had perpetuated himself in power for 11 solid years as military capo (December 31 through to April 1992) before the referendum that determined the fate and destiny of Ghanaians for democratic practice through general elections. He had since December 31, ’81 through to December 7, 1992 (a period of 11 years) directed the state of affairs of Mother Ghana during which time Ghanaians were gruesomely subjected to inhuman treatment including the obnoxious curfews and the attendant midnight kidnappings. Some of us are witnesses of the dastard torture/murder of three high court judges and an army major. The myth of the prevailing culture of silence was bravely broken by the indefatigable Prof. Adu Boahen with his series of lectures under the auspices of the Ghana Academy of Arts & Sciences at the British Council Hall. It was at one of such lectures that the Buffalo soldier was prompted to react that the opposition would see inferno if they made the governance ungovernable. The lectures brought hope and aspirations to most Ghanaians. Mr. Rawlings and his PNDC tried again to perpetuate themselves in power and Rawlings removed the military garbs and donned the civilian ‘political suit’ to contest the 1992 presidential election. It was strangely won by some circumstances that prompted the NPP to boycott the parliamentary to give a field day for them to toy with the lives of Ghanaians from December 1992 to 1996. THE STOLEN VERDICT AND JUSTICE OFORI BOATENG’S EXIT Before the parliamentary elections however, the NPP quickly wrote a book entitled, ‘The Stolen Verdict’ to express their misgivings to amplify the rigging that went on in that election. Perhaps, that must have accounted generally for the sudden exit of Justice Josiah Ofori Boateng who could not possibly stand the test of time and the heat of the moment than to go for greener pastures else –where. But the stone that was rejected back home in Ghana became highly appreciated by Yahya Jammeh’s Gambia. Could it be a truism that Josiah, then an Appeal Court judge, left the shores of Ghana for The Gambia for appoint -ment as the 2-I.C. of their judicial service? The author would like to refresh the memories of Ghanaians and draw some analysis relating to the few elections that have been undertaken in this country since 1969. I would not be able to comment much about the 1969 election because since there was no legal battle thereafter relating to rigging, I presume that, all went well. His Eminence Justice Vincent Cyril Crabbe was the then EC for the election that saw Prof. K.A. Busia of the Progress Party, emerging as winner after sweeping a landslide victory of 105 seats of the 140 seats then in parliament with 29 seats going in for the NAL led by versatile Afro Gbede. SECOND REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT Not quite 27 months after the coming into office of the PP government, then came the NRC military regime led by Lt.-Col. Ignatius Kutu Acheampong to disrupt the fine system on January 13, 1972. According to unconfirmed reports and intelligence then gathered, Col. Acheampong was transferred from Takoradi to the Michel Camp, Tema, to be near Accra to safeguard the seat of govern -ment from some ‘naughty’ elements within the military who had planned to take over the government of the PP by force of arms. But incidentally, instead of trying to give Acheampong more specific roles and responsibilities of faith and trust to repulse such attacks, turned round like Brutus to stab his benefactor, Prof. Busia, in the back. He rather kicked Busia on the pretext that it was Busia’s influence that his mentor, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was overthrown in a military coup d’etat on 24 February, 1966. Initially, after tasting power and enjoying the freebies of largesse attached to it, strategically tried to entrench himself in power to the detriment and discomfiture of his combatants. His first three years in office were really superb because his policy of ‘Operation Feed Yourself’ concept caught on well with the entire populace. Soon after, with fellow S.O. Lamptey, S.K. Danso, Kwamena Addison and other colleagues with the same mindset from the Nkrumah Ideological Institute, Winneba, collaborated to organize elections for a union government (the modern day all-inclusive government) - UNIGOV - thought all would be well to embrace it; but because the entire populace had become tired of, and fed up with the military, like thunderstorm, vehemently opposed and showed them the exit. Millions of Ghanaians who were undercover sympathizers of the Popular Movement for Freedom and Justice (PMFJ) with one voice and same accord, voted against that concept when the elections came. The late Justice I.K. Abban was the electoral commissioner in Ghana at the time who stood tall between life and death to tell him that enough was indeed enough to declare the opposition as winners against the military no matter the consequences. Before the declaration of the results, the military government sensing danger for being the losers, conse -quently sent a team of ‘destroyers or hit squad’ to the EC offices to teach him sense and to force him to declare in their favour but before one could say, Jack, where you, Mr. Abban got wind about that clandestine move and fled for his dear life by jumping over a wall.
OPPONENTS Soon after that, Kutu’s opponents prominently amongst them being - Prof. Albert Adu Boahen, K.A. Gbedema, Victor Owusu, A.K. Deku, Akwasi Amankwa Afrifa and Abdul Kweku Baako Jnr. as one of the small flies in their midst, were incarcerated for months on end in Accra, Tema, Koforidua, Nsawam, Tamale, Akuse and in fact all police cells and prisons you can think of by the authorities to show their power and might. Their continued incarceration rather strengthen -ed the teeming supporters of the PMFJ to disregard the UNIGOV concept and render them unpopular and impotent. They stayed in power until the first week of July 1978 when fellow colleagues of the SMC.II equally usurped power through a palace coup. Surprisingly, it was led by the bosom friend, Gen. Fred W.K. Akufo, who, according to insiders, would not have been a treacherous betrayer but for the envy and jealousy on the part of the wife, the two friends would not have probably met their untimely deaths by now at the hands of Mr. Rawlings. Gen. Akufo’s caretaker tenure did not end peacefully as it was also interrupted by yet another military junta of junior officers led by Flt.-Lt. Jerry Rawlings and his AFRC on Monday, June 4, 1979. This team of junior officers and some NCOs (privates, lance corporals, staff-sergeants, warrant officers, etc. just to deceive the public and throw some dust onto the eyes of the public that they came for the poor and down-trodden) came from nowhere for a brief spell to clean both the military/civilian stables of greed for three months. On Thursday, September 24, 1979, the AFRC handed over power after elections had been conducted by the Justice Kingsley Nyinah’s EC to elect Dr. Hilla Limann after a re-run as no winner emerged. Knowing that he still had the chance, Victor Owusu partnered with Obed Yao Asamoah from the Akan/Biakoye consti -tuency of the Volta Region as his running mate on the ticket of the All Peoples’ Party with a view to securing and winning the Voltarian votes but yet lost narrowly after the merger of the PFP and the other mushroom and splinter parties. The president-elect for the 1979 event against PFP’s Victor Owusu who lost it by the skin of the teeth stood on PNP ticket. Since then there has not been any election until the 1992 one before which Mr. Rawlings had entrenched himself in power for some 11-year spell of military dictatorship. DOWN THE MEMORY LANE OF A LEGAL LUMINARY His Eminence Justice Vincent Cyril Roger Archibald Commey Crabbe, the renowned Electoral Commissioner for the 1969 democratic General Elections was recently quoted as saying at a forum in Accra that by law and by that inference, the Constitutional Instrument 75 gives the EC and for that matter, Dr. Afari Djan, special mandate to conduct elections in Ghana but that mandate illustrated so many flaws and failures in the just ended elections. He failed so miserably and woefully. Probably, Ghanaians should have taken a cue from the 2010 district assembly elections that were conducted by the same embattled person and his outfit in tots and in bits and pieces. However, available and credible information leading to the elections suggests that while in either Lagos or Abuja early this year, the beleaguered man was quoted as saying that he would do everything within his power and the autonomy granted him by the constitution vis-a-vis the penchant for the creation of the additional 45 constituencies to ensure NDC won power. His aim was to manipulate, there -after, falsify figures to rig for them to win the said elections at all costs on a silver platter no matter the cost of lives to the Ghanaian community. No sane person should disagree with that allegation. His intention was to satisfy and honour his mentor and idol, the late J.E.A. Mills. Ghanaians and the world at large as the best judges have seen how worst Afari Djan performed with Team EC to discredit his hard earned reputation and dignity to the full glare of world dignitaries at a time that he was getting ready to exit from active service at approximately age 73 instead of 60 for retirement.
MILITARY/POLICE HIERARCHY By your nefarious and unreligious stance and possible collision with the military /police hierarchy, hired agents/assigns to worship mortal man born of woman for monetary/material gains instead of God to incur his wrath, would bring untold curses on your persons, your families, your lineage and kinsmen and it is my prayer that the Good Lord should visit seven generational plagues from the biblical Egyptian days on you and your direct families for subverting the sovereign will of all Ghanaians who genuinely voted to get rid of this insensitive government of our time. Do some Ghanaians still recollect Gen. Ben Akafia and the status quo re the 2000 elections? The Lord should forgive the military/ police top brass for their foolish ways for, if, indeed, they were privy to the wicked machinations and connived with the EC to rig the elections, should rain brimstones on them and their families without mercy. His (Afari Djan) acquiescence to the devilish plans has brought total disgrace to tarnish his image and immediate/extended families. By this un-nationalistic behavior to trigger civil war, he should be jointly and severally liable for prosecution with his accomplices (SK/DK) for subversion against the State for treason. There was no need for him to declare the results of the election in a rush to the undeserv -ed winner who was never anywhere near the breasting tape and that is a disgrace and very shameful. Instead of leaving with honour in grace would be leaving with dishonor and disgrace. The conflicting figures that were declared for JM’s victory (50.7%) to the hearing of the world; total registered voters 14,158,819 standing at 80.15% have swiftly been changed and altered to read 14,310,793 on the EC website after the said declaration. The SC needs looking into this particular place to weed out the offenders; and if found culpable, get them prosecuted and jailed to serve as a deterrent to future ECs for complicity because his own natural recorded voice on tape cannot exempt him from contempt and must be punished for circumventing the sovereign will of the people with the Presiding/Returning Officers and the STL centre. If CDS and Army Generals elsewhere could be dismissed from office and some thrown into jail, the EC in Ghana was only a small fish to be dealt with.
ADMONITION Ghana stands at the crossroads; in a matter of days, Ghana’s judicial indepen -dence will be put to test. The whole subject hinges on the shoulders, efficiency and credibility of the Chief Justice, Madam Georgina Theodora Wood for this national assignment. To refresh the minds of readers, past chief justices of Ghana such as Sir Arku Korsah, E.C. Quist, F.K. Apaloo, Philip Archer, E.K. Wiredu and Kingsley Acquah have come to play their parts. Other jurists such as His Eminence Justice Vincent Cyril Roger Archibald Commey Crabbe, E.S. Banner -man, Nii Amaah Ollennu and E.O. Hayfron-Benjamin, did not fare badly at all. Previous ladies from the bench also equally performed better - Madame Justice Annie Jiagge was very outstanding during the late 70s and early 80s; while Madam Justice Joyce Bamford Addo, despite her ‘infamous’ Page 28 scar, still was gifted with the third highest position in Ghana as Speaker of Parliament and the third, Madam Justice Gloria Akufo, was also elevated to the Supreme Court by the Kufuor Administration. The women trio has indeed come to play their parts for Mother Ghana. Do not play the ostrich and behave as a stooge as per the ‘Page 28’ episode. Many people know the kind of stuff past heads of the judiciary have proven themselves; now is the hour for you as the first lady chief justice to also prove your worth and mettle as a credible person fit for the prestigious job without fear, favour or malice. The entire world (made up of UN, Commonwealth, EU, AU, Ecowas and possibly a representative from the Queen’s Counsel) will watch with telescopic lenses as to the judicious outcome. All the angelic hosts too have also descended on Ghana to report to the Omni -potent. The just ended controversial elections, whose results are being demo -cratically challenged because of certain malfeasance, falsified figures and no verification, no vote but thousands were allowed to vote unlawfully etc., will be submitted to you and your team of seasoned judges for determination and adjudication to save the ‘break or make’ of Ghana. BIBLICAL QUOTE The NPP as a corporate entity, acting as first complainants in this case and in consonance with Article 64 of the provisions of the 1992 Constitution, has explicit right to draw such legal battle to your door-steps for interpretation and, until then, the author would like to admonish your ladyship and caution your team of experts to examine critically a quotation from his Good News Bible taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, Chapter 16:18-20 captioned ‘The Administration of Justice’ and it reads: V.18 ‘Appoint judges and other officials in every town that the Lord your God gives you. These men are to judge the people impartially. 19 They are not to be unjust or show partiality in their judgment; and they are not to accept bribes, for gifts blind the eyes even of wise and honest men, and cause them to give wrong decisions. 20 Always be fair and just, so that you will occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you and will continue to live there”. Madam Georgina, please ponder anew and reflect soberly just like Esther before the king to give good judgment for Ghana. As your constitutional mandate I know this uphill task could easily be accompli -shed by you with zeal as a result of the avalanche of expertise at your disposal. Ghana will be the eventual winner and that would go a long way to forestall the peace and tranquility and remove the imminent dark clouds hanging over this country. Thereafter, your name would go down in history and written in “GOLD” for posterity that when you were the chief justice of Ghana, you led a team of legal luminaries to execute impartial justice to prevent an imminent civil war. Ghana is the only land we have as a country to live in. The Good Lord should grant and give you some double portion of King Solomon’s wisdom to empanel a courageous team to be emboldened like the three Jewish youngmen; Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego who called the bluff of Nebuchadnezzar to gain their freedom – i.e. for a good and just verdict. Ghana depends on you now. Listen to the supplications of the majority. As a result of entrenched obstinacy and stubbornness, God punished the Israelites to travel a distance of 40 days in rather 40 years. Ensure there was no bias in your judgment. After all, where are Nebuchadnezzar, who turned into a beast for seven years in the bush; Ahab, who persecuted Elijah till he fled from his sight and Onasis who was once the richest in the world? God bless your Ladyship to unravel the hidden truth. Long live Ghana, God bless Ghana. Let us uphold democracy, let us continue to nurture and sustain freedom and justice. God bless us all. Amen.
Postscript – You may publish this in two parts if you wish for space. Many thanks.