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Opinions of Monday, 18 May 2015

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

How Dare You? – Asantehene

In tribute to my grandson, Baby Dylan, who is now exactly 2 years old, I shall borrow his intelligently used phrase, "How dare you?", to serve as the title for this publication. This little child started to use the phrase to question the wisdom or reasons behind one's action for doing what they do, when he really sees the person's action or behaviour to be silly, since the age of 18 months. And truly, in all circumstances that he has employed the phrase, one can really see that he has absolutely the perfect reason to use it. He will stand up, face whoever is tormenting him or fooling about around him, with grim determination, then questions, "How dare you?"

He was recently, then at the age of 23 months, taken to a McDonalds shop in London by his parents. While there, the mum chastised him for running around naughtily, but happily, like any child of his age will do at such public places. Feeling a bit embarrassed in front of the customers, he faced the mum, took a defensive stance with grimaced face and said with an authoritative voice, "How dare you?" Barely had he said this when a noble Whiteman sitting around approached the mum and asked, "How old is he?" The mum said, 23 months. He asked again, "Is it true?" The mum said, yes. He then said, "I can't believe it. He is very intelligent. Take good care of him. If you do, he will grow up to become a very intelligent person"

Having paid tribute to the child and begged to borrow his phrase, let me proceed with my subject matter for today. Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has been captured on video saying, there is no court in Ghana that can reverse any decision he takes no matter how distasteful the public finds them. He said this in his attempts to bully a faction in the Kumawu Stool dispute into accepting his pre-planned prejudicial verdict against them. When, where and how he made that statement will be made public in the coming days ahead of us.

Is it right for him to have issued that statement knowing very well that Ghana is a democratic country? We are no longer living in the era where Asantehenes had the absolute right to order the execution, the banishment, and public humiliation of their subjects for minor or gross misconducts. That era of absolute monarchy has been consigned to the dustbins or the refuse dump since the dissolution and restoration of the Asante Confederacy in 1896 and 1935 respectively. How dare he make such a statement with impunity?

There are laws in Ghana. No one is above the laws hence the saying, "the law is no respecter of persons". Yes, there is no justice in the world. Some people for their status in society are able to break the law with impunity. They only get a slap on the wrist for their preposterous actions. That is not acceptable!

I shall question the authority of Asantehene as regards his statement. How does he go about enforcing his statement? Is it by paying some people, let's say, court clerks, to cause the disappearance of vital documents from court files? Is it by asking lawyers in Ashanti region not to offer their services to those engaged in law suits against him, against Asanteman Council or against his friends, families or cronies?

Some vital documents mysteriously disappeared from a High Court file involving the pending Kumawu chieftaincy case. The absence of the document culminated in the Judge declaring an alleged contemnor innocent, discharging and acquitting him of contempt of court. However, the first judge who presided over the case adjourned it five times over a period of say, six months. The second judge directed that the alleged pendency of injunction that some people had purposely gone into hide out, playing the difficult game of hide-and-seek to avoid being served, should be published not only in the newspapers, but also, copies posted on the walls of the Kumasi High Court, Kumawu circuit or Magistrate court etc. Would the first two judges have entertained the case for that long without dismissing it if it had not that vital document to make the case admissible by the court for that length of time, in the first place?

In another court case involving same chieftaincy issue, some vital documents disappeared. However, the judge insisted he had personally seen the documents in the file, and has copies in the copy file he was holding that day in court. The lawyer of the plaintiffs produced his copy. All the while, the lawyers of the defendants were insisting there were nothing of the sort of the alleged missing documents. The lawyers were saying there was no existence or pendency of injunction prior to the enthronement of the alleged Kumawuhene.

When the judge obliged four people in the court (clerk, registrar etc.) to look for the missing documents at all cost, because he was not ready to accept from them that there were no such documents in the file, just imagine what happened. The next day, they produced the documents saying they have found them. After this, the defendants' lawyers accepted that indeed, there were documents in the file regarding the pendency of injunction.

Is this how best Asantehene can exercise his powers of "no court in Ghana can reverse the decisions I pronounce on cases that I arbitrate" if indeed he has a hand in the dodgy disappearance of such documents which I hope, he hasn't?

It could simply be coincidence. However, one will be tempted to believe that some underhand deal is going on when we weigh his statement against the disappearance of the documents and the refusal of Ashanti region lawyers to offer their services to people taking on the "Asante Nana" in court. Are the lawyers being intimidated? Are they simply afraid of arguing in behalf of or, representing the party taking on Asantehene? What is their reason for staying away from court cases in which Asantehene's interest or integrity is at stake? Do they not realise that taking on such high profile cases will bring them in the limelight hence they becoming acclaimed prominent lawyers if they win such big cases?

A Nigerian lawyer friend of mine in London who finds it difficult pronouncing Asantehene has rather chosen to call him "Asante Nana".

Stay tuned for more updates on the Kumawu stool dispute. The battle still rages unabated. Like Asante Kotoko, I will advise my fans and those interested in the Kumawu chieftaincy case as following, "Never say die until the bones are rotten". As we speak, I am rolling up my sleeves for a showdown with all those colluding with Kumawuhemaa to rob Kumawuman in a broad daylight. By the help of God, I SHALL NOT allow them to rewrite the history of Kumawuman to suit their parochial-minded interests, walking with their stomachs as they do. The history should remain true as it has previously been.

Rockson Adofo

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