Feature Article of Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Columnist: Mikda, Mohammed
"Where Was I 14 Year Ago?" - Why I Have Lost Faith In A Govt Of Humans
It had been my intention to wait until the Woyome brouhaha reached its conclusive end, in order that this issue could be looked with the merit it deserves. However it was not to be!
Let no one begrudge me, it has never been and wont ever be my intention to write any piece against any personality to manhandle his/her hard-worked reputation. I have the highest of respects for all adults who have lived right and have consequently earned the leadership of institutions, political or otherwise. Not all adults are so fortunate. That should explain why i hope to forever hold my tongue against abusing any adult more especially the leaders of our nation. My milk teeth in the university of life is still intact.
Readers will recall, that His Excellency the President of our Republic, Professor John E. A. Mills met senior editors at the Castle last month where he was grilled by them with questions. Media critics have already critiqued the journalists' line of questioning and hence i have nothing to say regards that.
Out of the myriad of missiles thrown at the president was one in particular that was quite out of place. The question was asked by Mrs Acolatse, the MetroTV news editor. She wanted to find out from the first gentleman the remedy for a 14 year wrongful imprisonment of a man-any cures, she asked the veteran of the law lecture theatre. What answer did His Excellency give? The learned professor turned to his ministers seated on his immediate left: "Aah, ask her for me...ask her.. WHERE WAS I 14 YEARS AGO?". He concluded with a gentle gesticulation of the hand in dismissal: " Nothing can be done about it madam".
Now, however misplaced the question was, dont you think it deserved a befitting response? And at least, the unwritten rules of political propriety demands that the President answer appropriately. On a serious note, dont you, my dear reader believe that then candidate Mills facing the same question wouldnt have found it out of place? In the heated campaigns, given the same question, that candidate would have produced a touching humanitarian rhetoric on the rule of law and justice delivery in Ghana! Candidate John Mills would have most likely promised heaven for the victim when duly elected! What changed then? Power? The man's predicament deserved a befitting response from the Professor who has endeared himself to some 45 to 48% of Ghanaians as Asomdwoehene, to wit, king of peace and by extension, justice. I am of the view, that my president(since i am Ghanaian) could have done better in "healing wounds" as he promised us he would do in his inaugration address on January 7 2009.
I saw the youngman's plight on a MetroTV documentary even prior to the news editor's question. These cases are very common in Ghana and indeed all over the world. According to Honourable Hon. Betty Mould Iddrisu, then Attorney-General and Minister of Justice at a press conference in September 2009, there were more 1500 people languishing in the various prisons for no wrong done! More often, the cases of such people go unheard if they are ever released and they must wait their turns on the Day Of Judgement for the original Hammer of fairness. If they get nobody, or 'somebody' to give them voice, they are history!
Dont get me wrong, perhaps a mere empathetic comment from the President would have fast-tracked whatever bureaucratic processes it takes to secure justice for the young man and the many out there who like him are waiting their turns having suffered unfairly?
A democracy as blessed as ours, undoubtedly the most respected democracy in Africa ought to be able to rise to a level where we can even by word of mouth serve victims of justice; give voice to the voiceless and distribute free 'walking sticks' to the vulnerable in our country. I believe in a firm but fair law and order and our strong commitment to protecting the fundamental human rights of my countrymen and women irrespective of social class,political party, tribe or religion. I am young and my views may be dismissed as naïve and raw, but i still stand by my assertion that the benefit and burden of governance must be shared in mutuality and for the good of all. Feeling one another's pain, and sharing the blessings reasonably, humanely, honestly and justly.
I would like to believe our president is HUMANE and HUMAN before any other consideration and that as humans, humanity should always rule our actions and utterances in governance.
Is "Where was i 14 years ago" an appropriate remedy to 14 years of unjust imprisonment? Was that all the Father-For-All could say to a son who has been wronged?
With the seeming failure of the Justice-For-All Program, how about a committee to investigate and review all such cases within our prison scheme? How about making such criminal negligence punishable? Mr President, if your government can pay millions of euros to one individual, how about a little compensation budget to the Ministry of Justice to heal some of the wounds you promised to cure? Mr President Why? Why? Why did you lose the humane face so momentarily?
Finally, you asked:" WHERE WAS I 14 YEARS AGO?". As for me, i was in kindergarten (KG two) struggling with the queen's alphabets. But you? You were in mother Ghana's service, as her Vice President!
The writer, a 2011 graduate of Prempeh College, is a public interest advocate and an executive of CPP at the Aburi-Nsawam constituency. Contact: 0267870708