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Opinions of Thursday, 8 September 2011

Columnist: Owusu-Ansah, Emmanuel Sarpong

Atuguba and Co Have the Last Laugh

When shall they four meet again; during a round table discussion, proceedings in a judge’s chamber, or during a hearing in a courtroom? ‘When the hurly-burly’s done, /When the battle’s lost and won. /That will be ere the set of sun. /Where the place? /Upon the ... [sofa in a radio studio]. /There to meet with ... [the adjudicators, and perhaps receive apologies from them]’.

Barely four months ago, Dr Atuguba and three other lawyers (not exactly the three witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth), were demonized, in fact crucified by a huge section of the Ghanaian judiciary for alleging that the latter accepts bribes. Most if not all Ghanaians knew that what the four “wizards” were asserting was not a false allegation, but almost everybody rightly zipped their lips as they had no concrete evidence.

However, there were some actions of the judiciary that the populace did not need any evidence to challenge – their refusal to hear cases involving the whistle-blowers. As a “stubborn” and argumentative young man, I wrote an article questioning the constitutionality of our revered conflict “resolvers’” resolve to boycott cases involving persons who had Dr Atuguba and his three buddies as their counsel or defence lawyers; and advising them to rethink their decision to deny a person justice just because they harbour a grudge against his/her lawyer.

I nevertheless tried to be quite balanced and sympathetic to the “peacemakers” by arguing that if they were in some emotional pain and thought they might as human beings, inadvertently pass unfair judgement, then they probably did the honourable thing by not hearing the cases on the proposed dates and perhaps adjourning them? But, if they refused to hear the cases in protest or as a form of revenge for the bribery and corruption allegation by the various litigants’ lawyers against some members of the judiciary, then concerned Ghanaians had a score to settle with them. Pathetically, the latter assumption (declining to sit on the cases in protest against the “bad boys”) turned out to be the case.

I was never and have never been in doubt that the ‘BUGABUGA’ or bullying reactions and rigid stance of the judiciary were not only desperate tactics to garnish their tainted image and reputation, but also a means to deceive the public into believing that they are, ... well, they were impeccable or living saints. They have tried all phony means to make the four “wizards” look like the devil incarnate – souls bound to taste the unquenchable fire in the hereafter.

‘There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, and there is nothing kept secret that will not come to light’, says the Good Book. Our wise ancestors were certainly not shooting a line when they pronounced that it is only after the death of the frog that its real length comes to light, and when an entity gets decomposed, the extent of its foul smell would be exposed.

We all do know that some members of the judiciary are frogs, we are very much aware that some members of the judiciary perspire and stink. What we are not certain about are their real height and how bad they smell. But now that the frogs are “dying” and their bodies are “decaying”, we shall soon see how tall they really are and how strong they smell. The two magistrates exposed for the grave crime should not only be dismissed, but be made to dance rigorously to the rhythm of the law as the offences committed are far more serious than we are made to think. Nsawam is ready to embrace them and make them atone for their iniquities.

It is becoming crystal clear that the four rejected whistle-blowers are having the last laugh. So fellow country-folks welcome on board the Gold Coast Judicial Airline; you are kindly requested to sit comfortably in your seats, fasten your steam-belts, sorry ... I mean your seat-belts, turn on your screens and watch this exciting Ghanaian judicial drama as it unfolds. Enjoy the flight.

Emmanuel Sarpong Owusu-Ansah (Black Power) is a lecturer and an investigative journalist in London, UK. He is the author of ‘Fourth Phase of Enslavement: unveiling the plight of African immigrants in the West’. He may be contacted via email (