Feature Article of Wednesday, 2 January 2013
Columnist: Anaglatey, Daniel Kofi
THE NDC CANNOT AFFORD TO LEAVE THIS CASE FOR ASIEDU NKETIA, ABLAKWA OKUDZETO, AGYENIM BOATENG ET AL.
NPP have filed a case at the Supreme Court in which their Party Chairman, Presidential and vice Presidential candidates, and mammoth of their party supporters, claim to repose lots of confidence in the case before the Supreme Court. It is worth examining whether the confidence the NPP has is really within the merits of the case or rather the sympathy and favorable treatment which they rightfully expect from a judicial system which has so far found favor with ALL the 18 cases that the NDC has brought against various NPP appointees.
The most pernicious and embarrassing case was the determination of the Supreme Court that Mr Obestebi Lamptey was entitled to purchase the government bungalow that he and some 20 Ministers and top civil servants before him had all occupied over the last 60 years. In the NPP's mind, a Supreme Court which has been able to reach such an outrageous judgment in that bungalow case is the very kind they expect will find in their favor in the current case. The NPP also lays in store the fact that they awarded the current Supreme Court Justice, Mrs Theodora Wood, with a prized piece of land in the area where the new Foreign Ministry is going up. Mrs Wood bought and paid for this land during the NPP administration, and only returned the lease and asked for a refund of her money when the NDC came to power, and her unethical behavior came to light. Several other judges were similarly enticed with these lands in the NPP's spate of "Property Grabbing Democracy" policy practices.
Can the NEC and the NDC expect any proper justice against this harsh historical background??
What has the NDC been doing so far to prepare for this case at a time when key government officials, including the Attorney General, Dr Benjamin Kumbuor, have been asked to prepare handing over notes and to vacate their positions ahead of the President's swearing-in on 7th January?
Is the NDC going to rely on the coterie of top civil servants and government prosecutors at the A-G's office to defend the NEC and the President?
The NDC has been aware that the NPP has been preparing a case for some two weeks. The NPP claims to have assembled a team of some 20 past A-Gs, private legal practitioners and other advisers. How has the NDC been preparing to face this team? Is the NDC team known? Was the NDC General Secretary the most logical and appropriate personality to respond in the media to the suit filed by the NPP?
Does the NDC hope and plan to assemble top NDC lawyers like Dr.Obed Asmoah, Tastsu Tsikata, Kwesi Botchwey, Martin Amidu, Ato Dadzie, Tony Lithur, Alban Bagbin, Martey Newman, Hannah Tetteh, Alex Segbefia, Ken Dzirasa, Doe Adjaho, Larry Adjetey and many others? Indeed, under Prof Mills’ administration, never was a government constituted by so many lawyers, including the likes of Mohammed Mumuni, Haruna Iddrisu, Inusah Fuseini, Valerie Sawyer, Dr Sipa Yankey, Kwadwo Owusu-Agyeman, while many more like Okudzeto Ablakwa and Agyenim Boateng claimed to be attending Law School, while at the same time collecting full salaries as Deputy Ministers. It is disheartening that with so many lawyers, the NDC could still not win single landmark case against the NPP during the Atta Mills era. It must be hoped that the NDC will do things quite differently in order to win this crucial case, in my opinion.
It must not be forgotten that partly due to NPP-inspired propaganda, the Judiciary usually operates in mortal fear of the NDC. The NPP reminds them each year through various articles and a Lecture Series of the infamous murder of judges during the NPP era, by which exercises the NPP – often with the help of the Ghana Bar Association - does all it can to keep this subject alive and to promote the impression that the PNDC were against the Judiciary and so the NDC too is against the Judiciary.
Any NDC member who fails to appreciate this mind-set within the Judiciary should cast their minds back to the proceedings of the National Reconciliation Commission, at which witness after witness for a whole year came to testify against President Jerry Rawlings in one form or another. But when the time came for President Rawlings to mount the witness box and defend himself, the Chairman of the NRC, an eminent retired Judge, asked him only ONE question and asked him to depart from the proceedings - leaving President Rawlings quite amazed and dazed, as he had presumably come prepared for a long haul of questions and interactions with the NRC, and to counter the statements of certain witnesses. That is how much the NPP-inspired media have been made to feel fear in the presence of President Rawlings, and by extension the NPP.
Given this background, no NDC member should suffer any illusion that given the opportunity, the Judiciary will not be happy to send NDC back into opposition, so they can connive with their NPP land grabbing and sharing friends. Against this background, the NDC needs to unite like never before and bring on board a multi-disciplinary defense team, not just one made of lawyers, but also of communications professionals, who can stand up to the likes of Jake Obestebi-Lamptey, and economists and mathematicians, just as the NPP used Dr. Bawumia to present the computations and alleged irregular tabulations. Are the NDC's strong-room defenders like Dr Tony Aidoo, Rojo Mettle Nunoo and Dr Yaw Akoto still available?? Are tax economists like Seth Terkper being asked to help with the arithmetic? What about Communications gurus like Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Totobi Kwaakyi and Richard Quarshigah.
NDC cannot be caught with its pants down on this occasion. It must fight this case with as much energy and combined skills and intelligence as it did in the recent elections. It cannot afford for all the money and energy it spent during the election to be thwarted by 9-11 men and women sitting in a Court chamber poring over some pink and blue sheets and coming out to tell the world that the declaration of the National Electoral Commission was invalid, and Akufo-Addo won the last election, or even in a more palliative manner, to order a second round of voting. For NPP, everything is about death. If the election was an "All Die be Die" affair, then this Supreme Court case is a "Do and Die Affair".
The President has been away on a well-deserved week of rest. He is back very re-energized. He must take this legal bull by the horns and ensure that the NDC has assembled a crack multi-disciplinary team, devoid of many of the past divisions, to enable the party, the government and the NEC to sail through this difficult period. The NDC can treat the NPP case lightly only to its eventual detriment.
The NPP may have no case. But they are not depending on the merits of the case. They are depending on the friendliness of the Courts. It is over to you Mr. President!
Daniel Kofi Anaglatey