You are here: HomeNews2011 06 14Article 211083

General News of Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Source: Herald

NPP’s Judiciary And NDC’s Executive

There is a saying that When your neigbours beard is on fire, you have to fetch water in readiness to quench yours should yours catch fire too.

We must also be careful of this scenario where, “When they came for my friend I did not talk, when they came for my brother I did not talk, when they came for my neighbor I did not talk, soon they will come for me and there will be no one to speak for me”.

This is a classical scenario playing out in Ghana since the issue of judicial corruption came out, as a result of which four lawyers have to be banned from appearing before judges of the Supreme Court.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) which prides itself on being proponents of the rule of law and democracy, have not said anything in respect of the four lawyers and the decision of the Supreme Court.

Why am I not surprised is that precedents in the past clearly show NPP’s desperate attempts to control the judiciary when they were in government, between 2001-2008.

When Tsatsu Tsikata challenged the constitutionality of the Fast Track High Court and won, President Kufuor who was outside the country then had his chief of staff, Jake Obetsebi Lamptey to issue a statement, stating President Kufuor’s displeasure at the judgement.

He quickly through the recommendation of judicial council appointed another judge to the Supreme Court and had parliament quickly approve his nominee.

The NPP government appealed the earlier decision, and won by twisting the arm of the Supreme Court, and since then, all the cases the government took to court were won. That action led to the incarceration of many NDC functionaries, like

Tsatsu Tsikata, Dan Abodakpi, George Sipa Yankey, Kwame Peprah etc…

NPP attitude towards the judiciary became very evident during the 2008 elections run-off, when the Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Atta Akyea, filed the Ex-Parte motion to prohibit the Electoral Commission (EC), from conducting the Tain elections, was captured on tape, telling a colleague that that “we (the NPP Lawyers) had put the Ex- Parte before a wrong judge; we thought he was actually for us; listening to the decision and ruling, he is not with us”.

And went further to say “The Chief Justice had coached him about how to go about the case” Clearly giving credence to the fact that, they have unfettered control and access of the judges.

The Chief Justice who is the custodian of the courts and the constitution, ignorantly decide to appoint a judge on a public holiday to sit on a case brought before the High Court by the NPP, seeking to restrain the Electoral Commission (EC) and Dr. Kwadwo Afari Djan, the Commission’s Chairman, from conducting the ‘Tain’ elections.

I have always wondered why the CJ would commit such a treasonable act, by which she almost plunged this country into constitutional crisis.

She knew perfectly well that it was unconstitutional to empanel a court to sit on a statutory holiday and that the only person, who could give such a directive, is the President of the Republic.

The will of the people which is the foundation of our democracy prevailed, the election was held and the eventual winner was announced.

What is the difference between what Nana Akufo-Addo and the NPP were trying to do, then in cohort with the CJ, and what Laurent Gbagbo of Ivory Coast, did against the will of the people, when he compelled the Constitutional Council to announce him as the winner of the Run-Off in November last year?

These evils have become rather more manifest in the NDC, led by Atta Mills in government.

The NPP lost the 2008 election because Ghanaians saw an unprecedented institutionalization of corruption, never witnessed in the history of this nation, and this, coupled with arrogance was the reason why Ghanaians said, enough is enough.

The NPP is yet to accept that it made conscious effort to control the judiciary while in office. The NDC which won the election on the back of the two evils above set out to prosecute former government appointees and functionaries, without realizing the hurdle ahead of them.

Their effort has seen so much resistance that it is very intriguing, the extent to which the perceived corruption in the judiciary is now found to be real.

We now live in a very cosmetic world these days when perception so often seems to count than substance.

If the NDC shouted from the root top and made Ghanaians to believe that the NPP government was corrupt, then why is it that not even a single person of the former regime has been put behind bars? But would you blame them when a judge who was appointed to sit on the case of the murder of the Overload of Dagbon, Ya-Naa Yakubu Andani II, proudly and arrogantly sits at a drinking spot in Takoradi, and passed judgement, indicating which way the case was going to go.

Truly, the NDC lost that case, even with the replacement of that judge when the matter became public. Dr. Kwabena Adjei, after a news conference in Accra, last year to express outrage at court rulings which had all gone against the state, told Citi FM, an Accra radio station that the government would intervene, and save the image of the judiciary from sinking further, if the Chief Justice failed to fight what he sees as growing rot within the judiciary.

“People in the judiciary can make a very good case look very bad. If the judiciary is bias, if the judiciary has made its mind in one direction, not even Jesus Christ who is appointed as the Attorney General can change things. We will clean it if they don’t take steps to clean it. We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on,” he said

Asked how the cleaning would be done, he responded: “That one at the right time, you will see how we Instead of siding with the NDC Chair to find lasting solution to the negative attitude in the judiciary, the NPP went to town to also organise a Press Conference to speak for the Judiciary. Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) went to lodge a complaint at the Nima Police Station for Dr. Kwabena Adjei to be arrested.

This is sad for Ghana, if under the same law and the same circumstances some people get imprisoned and I and others freed in bizarre circumstances if, indeed, we believe in the rule of law, then, I think the NPP who came to office in 2000, at the back of Zero tolerance for corruption, should also be seen to be with the current administration, in weeding out the canker that has wrecked many countries in the world, especially Africa, apart, because it is the main reason for most uprisings and Coup d’états around us.

When recently four lawyers, namely, Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Larry Bimi, David Annan and Abraham Amaliba, dared to open their mouths wide to something that had only remained a whisper, the fact that the judiciary is corrupt- all the lawyers who are sympathetic to NPP jumped to the defence of the judges.

Of course, it takes two to tango, and there is always a giver and a taker, so it is either you are part of the problem or part of the solution.

Clearly, these lawyers have demonstrated that they are part of the problem and that any attempt to sanitize the judiciary and weed out corrupt judges would go against them.

The NDC which is in government has power, but the authority is in the hands of the opposition NPP, because he who has the judiciary has the authority. It a fact that it is the judiciary that interprets and gives it meaning to the laws of the country

The role of the Judge in this country is very noble, it is perhaps the highest form of public service not because it is easy, but often times difficult.

One day, as people, we shall strip this mystery of judicial corruption naked and expose its private part. Till then, God saves us all.

No man can walk out of his own story.