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Opinions of Friday, 20 January 2017

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

No, It was rather Mahama who disrespected Otumfuo

Former President Mahama Former President Mahama

I don’t know what kind of legal practice he is into, or which law school awarded him his law degree, or what he did in order to pass his Bar Exam and secure his license to practice law. But it clearly appears to me that when it comes to an intelligent discussion of the laws of our land, Mr. Chris Akume is definitely out of his league.

I make this simple observation because were he a lawyer worthy of his professional designation, Mr. Akume, whom I presume to be one of the key operatives of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), and a staunch Mahama go-fer and/or associate, would have known from the get-go that requesting to be allowed to keep the officially designated bungalow for all democratically elected Vice-Presidents of Ghana as his private property and part of his retirement package, per Article 71 of the Presidential Transition Act, was decidedly a no-go area (See “Bungalow Saga: Akufo-Addo Disrespected Otumfuo – Chris Akume” 1/15/17).

Former President Mahama, it goes without saying, ought to have known better than to have scandalously dragged the name, reputation and presence of His Majesty, The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu, II, into the fray. I am quite certain that as a man of laws, at least as symbolized by the oath of his office, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu would never have consented to having the former President ride rudely over the established laws of the land.

He had in the past ridden roughshod over decisions handed down by the highest court of the land, with a striking case in point being the summary release of the Montie Trio from the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison, where the three were serving a 4-month prison term apiece; and so I am not the least bit flabbergasted that Mr. John Dramani Mahama would presume to cavalierly drag The Asantehene into this clear case of constitutional violation.

He did it then with the largely rubber-stamp establishment of the Council-of-State, in the matter of the Montie Trio, as already alluded to above; and so it was all to be expected that he would do it, as well, to the most influential and respected traditional ruler of all the land. At any rate, what I understand Mr. Akume to be saying and/or implying here is that the mere presence of The Asantehene in a matter pertaining to a flagrant breach of the laws of the land, automatically legitimizes such breach or egregious violation of the law. No such presumption could be at once more scandalous and absurd. In our Fourth Republican democratic dispensation, statutory laws are not made and amended at the Manhyia Palace of the Asantehene; rather, they are made and amended in Parliament or The National Assembly.

If Mr. Mahama had wanted to use the most legitimate instrument to tweak the contours of the law in his own favor, or for the benefit of himself and his family, the most appropriate approach would have been to have dispatched a petition to the extant Speaker of Parliament for consideration, debate and ratification or the refusal or failure thereof. Attempting to virulently debauch the office of The Asantehene could not be more vile and outrageous. But, of course, a dyed-in-the-wool scofflaw lacks the requisite stateman’s conscience to readily recognize this glaring fact of human incivility. I make no apologies for calling the common sense of the former President into question. He ought to have known far better than to have presumed to be innately endowed with the inalienable right to play fast-and-loose with the hallowed laws of the land.

What also bothers me, perhaps more than all else, as one partly trained in global African history and culture, is the idea that a man who has consecutively held the two most powerful and significant positions in the land, would so casually presume to stand over and above the traditional institutions of the land, and with it the imperative need for the salutary creation and preservation of a National Heritage and Legacy.

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