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Opinions of Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Columnist: Agyemang, Katakyie Kwame Opoku

A JHS Graduate Could Have Done a Better Delivery

....Than Atuguba

It was not for nothing that Barack Obama advised Africans to concentrate on building strong institutions in lieu of strong men. Obama's assertion was a confirmation of the wrong perception held against Africans by people from other continents. For apart from viewing Africa as one country, rather than a continent, the World still sees Africa as the destination of poverty, corruption, backwardness, conflicts and wars, and underdevelopment.

Even though most African countries have now celebrated 50 years of political independence, the actions of people in leadership positions in Africa have hardly eroded this negative perception. This is because most of our leaders are very corrupt and power-drunk to the extent that, they prefer to hand over power to their sons and relatives, notwithstanding their managerial incompetence in government.

It is worthy to give credit to Africa for the exciting advances being made in terms of the emergence of multi-party democracy, social entrepreneurship, innovation and technology, and the arts, one cannot gloss over many self-seeking individuals who hold back these positivities. These people are doing so under the disguise of powers invested in them by the Constitution of their respective countries. It is thus imperative for Africa to undergo a perception makeover in order to send signal to the World that our political independence is indeed, meaningful.

Fellow Ghanaians, you all recall that early this year, the opportunity fell on Ghana's Judiciary to showcase our growth in multi-party democracy to the rest of the world. The 9 Supreme Court Judges of Ghana were to use the 2012 Election Petition filed by Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to purge the Judiciary of inferiority complex and corruption. But, how did these Judges maximise the opportunity that was put at their disposal?

As soon as John Dramani Mahama was sworn in as the president of the Republic of Ghana on January 7 this year, many Ghanaians were apprehensive of a change in leadership by the Supreme Court. To them, it would be an insurmountable task for any African judge to ask a sitting president to step down no matter the weight of evidence produced in court. Their belief was that our judges rather see riches as better than good names, and as a result are prone to financial rewards given to them by sitting presidents. If any Ghanaian heard about the threat of strike action issued by the Judicial Service a couple of days before the verdict, you would readily think that only a "fool" would reject any bribe from John Mahama.

Justice Atuguba's role as the president of the 9 member panel was always a threat to the petitioners' victory. Prior to his nomination as the president of the panel, his brother was dully appointed by President Mahama as his Executive Secretary. In fact, had this scenario occurred in the United Kingdom or America, there wouldn't be any shred of doubt about Atuguba's neutrality, but in Africa, this is not the case.

A close observation of the way and manner Justice Atuguba delivered the verdict on Thursday afternoon, after keeping 24 million people in suspense speaks volumes of his earlier plans to rule the petition in favour of John Mahama. Seriously, you could clearly see that the lawyers in the courtroom even did not understand the ruling at the initial stages, let alone my mum in my village? How and why?

Indeed, we all know Justice Atuguba to be a slow speaker, and the only time he speaks faster is when he is dealing with contemptuous cases involving NPP members. He would shout and scream as if the whole country belongs to him. What then was missing on him on Thursday afternoon, the day that was virtually seen as a public holiday? Ghanaians, both home and abroad as well as international observers were glued to their television sets, radios, and laptops ready to hear a professional delivery of such landmark case. Our expectation was to see the genuineness or otherwise of the irregularities, malpractices, violations etc and their impact on the 2012 presidential elections. We were expecting a written opinions of the 9 judges as regards over voting, voting without verification, duplicate pink sheets, and unsigned pink sheets, among others. Our expectation was also on how the Judges would deal with Dr. Afari Gyan and his Electoral Commission, after the latter had admitted to administrative errors in the election. After all, a member of the panel had earlier hinted that, elections in Ghana would never be the same after the verdict, so why didn't Ghanaians have the chance to listen to those recommendations?

Having listened to John Mahama's earlier pronouncement that the Supreme Court would only confirm his presidency; the rumour that some of the Judges had substantial amounts of money put into their bank accounts; the failure of the Supreme Court to summon John Mahama and Mutala Mohammed for their contemptuous statements; the failure to reprimand Dr. Afari Gyan and the EC for their negligence; the intimidation, jail sentences, and fines given to 4 (four) bigwigs of the NPP - Sammy Awuku, Ken Kuranchie, Sir John, and Hopeson Adorye; the dispatch of police personnel in NPP's strongholds, the cacophony about the need for peace instead of justice, among others, have given credence to the fact that indeed, we live in Africa where the Blackman is accused of having black sense.

Honestly speaking, these 9 Judges have missed the opportunity of writing their names in the golden book of Ghana's history and posterity would definitely judge them and their family members. Are they saying that rules governing elections are unnecessary and therefore by whatever means a party gets people to vote in an election, the ballot cast should be declared valid? Which laws would the Electoral Commission be using in subsequent elections - CI 75 or Atuguba's laws? Why would Justices Dotse and Baffoe-Bonnie dismiss petitioners' case on over voting and voting without biometric verification, yet make recommendations that there should be a re-run in the affected polling stations? What is the logic behind this? It beggars belief that Justices Atuguba, Adinyira, Akoto-Bamfo, Gbadebge and Baffoe-Bonnie were consistent in kicking against all the issues the petitioners brought before the court, when they know that even the respondents had admitted to most of the irregularities. What will be the stakes should any of those issues crop up in subsequent elections - throw stones or go to court?

Folks, in as much as I share the disappointment of our judges with you, I must add that it is pathetic, to say the least, that African Judges lack the confidence to dispose of an "Error President". My pity for Ghanaians, especially the unemployed and under-privileged cannot be swept under the carpet. How can we live under this incompetent, visionless, and corrupt NDC government for the next three and a half years? But, as the Holy Bible says, in all things let's give thanks to God. I think He knows best and His time is always the best!

The NPP will come back stronger in 2016 to recapture power and save our motherland from these "greedy bastards". I strongly believe that our efforts had not been in vain. We put up a good fight only to be defeated by intellectual dishonesty of Atuguba, Adinyira, Gbadegbe, Akoto-Bamfo, Baffoe-Bonnie, and Dotse. We take consolation of the saying; "He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day". We the NPP will remain steadfast in all our endeavours. We will never attempt to find ways of "killing a cat". As Pluto put it; "Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall". We shall definitely rise! Kukrudu! Eshie Rado! Rado!

God bless Ghana! God bless the NPP!!! God bless Kufuor!!!

Katakyie Kwame Opoku Agyemang, Asante Bekwai-Asakyiri

(Free SHS Ambassador) Official blog: (www.katakyie.com) katakyienpp@yahoo.co.uk 0202471070 : 0264931361 : 0547851100