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Opinions of Sunday, 9 August 2009

Columnist: Sidibe, Abdul

Ayariga Should Lay Off Bawku-Central Seat!-Rejoinder

Please permit me a space on your website to respond to the ranting of the grand wizard of political non thought (Dr. Jimijimi Okuapa) published on your website of December 22nd 2009, titled above. Ever since the NPP got torpedoed out of office we heard very little of Dr. Okuampa’s orgy of incendiary language. Perhaps he kept quiet because Ghanaians have proven every single hallucination of his regarding the NDC wrong, and he is left with nothing but an occasional rant about stuff he knows very little, if not nothing about.

First, for Dr. Okuampa’s information, Hon. Mahama Ayariga was not the plaintiff in the case that disqualified the NPP Member of Parliament from holding himself as a Ghanaian MP. The case was sent to court by a herdsman who thought that because of the MP’s dual nationality he was not qualified to contest the Bawku seat and a court of competence agreed. Even with the court’s decision, parliament is yet to declare that seat vacant; therefore the Electoral Commission of Ghana has not open nomination for the Bawku Central seat. As a result Hon. Ayariga has not yet to put himself up as a candidate for seat thereof. It is therefore an act of lunacy to ask Hon. Ayariga to lay his hands off something that he does not have a hand in the first place.

In the second paragraph of his amalgamation of nonsense, Dr. Okuampa sought to make the decision of the court solely about the judge and not about the constitution that the judge sought to interpret. It is not rocket science to know or seek to know what the 1992 constitution provided with regards to the qualification of a member of parliament of Ghana. In fact, thanks to the internet, we do not have to lineup in front of the Legon Book Shop to buy copies of the 1992 constitution, the constitution is available online, and anyone with access to the internet can simply google “the 1992 constitution of Ghana” and read it online. The constitution says that to be a member of parliament you must be a Ghanaian who does not hold the citizenship of another country, to use a layman language. I am sure that with all his English degrees, Dr. Okuampa is capable of understanding a language that even a grade school student is capable of comprehending. Yet he choose to ignore everything else and focus all his attention on Hon. Mahama Ayariga, as if Mr. Ayariga is the sole author of the 1992 Ghanaian constitution and with the stroke of a pen he could amend it to suit the MP from Dr. Okuampa’s party.

Moreover, the MP from Dr. Okuampa’s party refused to mount his own defense in court, even though the Judge had offered him every single opportunity to do so. Not once since the inception of the case early this year did he or his appointed representative appear before the court. In view of his decision not to respond to the plaintiff, the judge was force to hear and rule on the case ex-parte. Again, in Dr. Okuampa’s lunacy, it is Hon. Ayariga’s fault that the MP from his party refused to go to court because Ayariga may have tied his feet on his bed so the MP couldn’t wake up for 6 months to attend a judicial hearing involving himself and his seat in parliament.

It seems Dr. Okuampa is incapable of formulating any social or political discourse without mention the Rawlings’s. In every single article of his that this writer has read, he has either told blatant lies about Mr. Rawlings or insulted him, even if the article is unrelated to the latter. In the third of paragraph of his non thought he wrote “What is more, the Fourth-Republican Constitution of Ghana allows for dual nationality, otherwise the half-Scottish Flt.-Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings could never have qualified to dominate our country’s political landscape for twenty extortionate years”. Dr. Okuampa was either confused or drunk as he authored that paragraph. But this writer is not at all surprised because Dr. Okuampa has demonstrated through his numerous articles that he is nothing but an ethnocentric demagogue. To him, citizenship is not determined by law, but by a person’s DNA. Therefore in Okuampa’s empty head, Rawlings cannot be a Ghanaian because he bears the DNA of a foreign nation. He completely and ignorantly ignored the fact that Rawlings’s mother is descent of Ghana, and the latter was born in the country.

In fact it was tried in the 1990s by Obeng Manu in the Supreme Court and the court threw the case out. Before the 1992 elections, Mr. Obeng Manu, a member of the NPP, went to the Supreme Court seeking an injunction restraining Mr. Rawlings from contesting the impending elections. The court examined the case and threw it out as without merit. Rawlings does not hold a Scottish or any other country’s nationality. He was born in Ghana and remained a Ghanaian even before 1979 when he emerged in the political landscape. He wore the country’s Army Uniform and swore to defend and protect the country against it enemies, something that Dr. Okuampa for all his big English in his New York ghetto did not do. Therefore Rawlings, though of half Scottish descendent, is not a dual national. A dual national is a person who holds the citizenship of two countries. The currently constitutional order does not allow a dual national to contest a parliamentary seat in Ghana. The drafters of the constitution in their wisdom inserted that provision in the constitution. We could argue against the law, and call for it amendment, but should not hold others responsible for something that is completely unrelated to them.

I conclude by urging Dr. Okuampa to activate his research knowledge whenever he decides to write for public consumption. The readers on ghanaweb are more sophisticated than he images. Some of his claims and arguments simple fall flat in the face of evidence and simple reasoning. Unless Dr. Okuampa is deliberately seeking to malign others, sometimes the information needed to verify the falsity of his claim is so simple that they should not escape a curious mind. And finally, even as we disagree with NPP MP for Bawku central and his reason to make a no show in court, parliament should still provide him adequate time to completely exhaust all legal avenues available to him with regard to this case. There is a precedent in the house that parliament needs to follow. In this vein we disagree with the Hon. Majority Leader for seeking to oust the embattled member for Bawku Central before he complete very Legal Avenue. This case is likely to travel up to the Supreme Court of Ghana and it should be allowed fellow that course.

The author of this article is a Ghanaian living and working in Canada: He could be contacted by email at agolumusah@yahoo.com or by phone at 1-403-922-4091

Abdul Sidibe

Calgary, Alberta, Canada.