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Opinions of Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Columnist: Appiah, Kofi

Bett y 's Baptism of fire

Hopefully the Hon. Minister of Justice & Attorney-General, Ms. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, a very well versed lawyer is a full fledged member of the Ghana Bar Association. If she has not subscribed to this useful professional body, why not? And what prevents her from being a member as at now? If my assertion is correct, then this piece would very well like to remind her that very soon, the Bar Association that she has obviously subscribed to be a member since her qualification and recall to the Bar, would be doing themselves a great honour as professionals and also service to humanity because they could have been the vicious victims as well. And the event, the celebration of the 27th anniversary of the murder of the three High Court Judges namely, the late Justices Fred Poku Sarkodie, Kwadwo Agyei Agyepong and Mrs. Justice Cecilia Koranteng-Addow – then a three-month-old nursing mother and an Army Officer, Major Sam Acquah (rtrd.) on June 30, 2009.

For the purpose of record keeping, that fateful day would mark some 150 days or so in office as sector minister. In the event of this revelation, the author would like a few million-dollar questions sent to you for your answers before then.


The Ghana Bar Association will definitely send out invitations to the general public and the diplomatic corps. The obvious question is, when such an invitation reaches your secretariat, knocks at your personal office and beckoning you to grace the occasion with your presence, what would be your action and/or reaction? Would you therefore honour, dishonour or send a representative, bearing in mind, the inclusion of the nursing mother that could have been your good self? Again, would you be bold to honour without looking round your shoulders; bearing in mind your job security? How would you then feel if, hypothetically, you became bold to honour such a function and were faced with the task of giving a talk or a short lecture to condemn the perpetrators and their accomplices for that dastard, heinous and inhuman act? In view of your political background and antecedence, please use this medium to express your uprightness so that the world would judge you for posterity to learn about a very objective woman like you during your lifetime. Meanwhile, your kid brother, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., had been harping on the disappearances or killing of between 238 and 250 innocent Ghanaians most of which were eiher purported to be abducted and killed, maimed and executed by firing squad secretly during the heady days of the (P)NDC. This issue cannot and will never be refuted by the accusing finger – Kwesi Pratt. As the luckiest lady to assume the high office as the sector ministry of justice, what steps, if any, do you intend to bring the perpetrators to book just as the Issa Mobilas and the Ya Nas have been started since most of them are alive and kicking? Once again, the end of April 2009 will mark the 17th anniversary of the coming into force of the 1992 Constitution that ultimately allowed Ghanaians to show our desire for constitutional dispensation through a referendum. The outcome of the referendum enabled the promulgation of the said constitution. Before becoming the Minister of Justice and the A-G, you may have had some little knowledge about certain ‘inimical’ clauses that those in authority then surrept -itiously attempted to smuggle and got inserted in the constitution to indemnify some class of persons/people. Since the 1992 Constitution seems to be losing its face value by the day, and gradually becoming obsolete, what steps do you want to radically take to address this delicate national canker? You should know that your ability to take very bold and pragmatic measures will help get your name printed in gold and the Guinness Book of Records as well so the onus is now on you. Unless you were not in the country by then, but if you were, some 10 years ago, there was an accident on the Tema Motorway that involved the ex-president and some poor tro-tro driver and his mate. Some unconfirmed reports indicated that a couple of the president’s bodyguards lost their lives; since the event was unofficial there was no need for a motorcade to alert the other users of the road hence the unexpected accident. Sensing that the accident involved the chief executive of the land, the poor man drove away and failed to report himself; the police did their best to arrest him later and got incarcerated in the police cells. The latest information Ghanaians heard on air and in the print media was that the driver had died; naturally or unnaturally? Till now, nobody has guts to call for the coroner’s inquest. Auntie Betty, would you be kind enough to add to your tight schedules so that Ghanaians know whether it was the police who tortured them to death or what? Failing to delve into this matter, some interested Ghanaians would invite some international observers to take up the matter because they also have families. What swift action do you take to pursue the strange circumstances surrounding their mysterious deaths while in police custody, Madam Minister? You should know that Ghanaians are watching with eagle eyes.


In conclusion, the intestate succession law PNDCL .111 seems to favour the widows greatly and more than their men counterparts or spouses. What plans, if any, does the A-G have in mind to restructure for the men in the unlikely event of their wives dying before them? The worldwide statistics has revealed that between 80% – 85% of men die earlier before women so, what does she have as her trump card to reverse the situation to also favour the husbands to inherit their wives’ property(ies) after their demise?

Finally, what action will you, together with your colleague Hon. Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWA), Hon. Abena Sena Dansua, take to curb the incidence of the female genital mutilation (FGM) currently in place in certain parts of the country? To crown it all, how does she the A-G and Minister of Justice intend to ameliorate the incidence of Street Children especially the teenagers and the multitude of ‘kayayoo’ in the cities and the urban areas most of which do not have decent accommodation? Not only that but the author would also like to know how the ‘hot madam’ would tackle the tens of thousands of minors mostly little girls hawking satchet water popularly called pure water in the traffic congested areas of our cities and towns. To bring the curtain down, the writer wants to know if the A-G is in favour of capital punishment. If no, why no? If yes, why yes? And in view of the upsurge of the spate of armed robberies all over the place in Ghana, involving persons between the ages of 20 and 25 years; what specific remedy does she have to recommend to the government and the people to be acceptable and an innovation to be able curb this canker so that Ghanaians could go to sleep in peace and also go about their normal work and businesses with peace? Lastly, there has never been an armed robbery in any part of the country without the involvement of a national of one of our neighbouring countries, and in view of the ECOWAS protocol and other sanctions, what action does she propose to be used on these seemingly notorious criminals, bearing in mind the number of Ghanaian nationals in other lands as well?