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Opinions of Saturday, 17 July 2004

Columnist: The Lens

Nail Rawlings Commission (NRC) And All,

... Did We Go Or Did We Come

Now that the Nail Rawlings Commission (NRC), euphemistically called the National Reconciliation Commission, has concluded its work, as far as hearings are concerned, the question that begs to be answered is; is Ghana a more unified country than before the NRC?

From all indications, it is clear to everyone except those who choose to indulge in self-delusion that this country has become even more polarized than before the advent of the NRC. The NRC, like the Okudzeto and the Wuako Commissions before it, has failed.

This is so clear that the Executive Secretary of the NRC, Dr. Ken Attafuah, speaking on Joy 99.7FM's current affairs discussion programme, Newsfile, last Saturday actually said that nowhere in Act 611 is it stated that the NRC was to reconcile the nation, and that the "hope" was that reconciliation would be achieved when the recommendations of the Commission were implemented. He added that any reconciliation that was achieved on the floor of the Commission during its hearing stage was a "bonus".

If, as Dr. Attafuah says, it is "hoped" that reconciliation would be achieved through the implementation of the recommendations of the NRC, then one wonders why the need for public hearings that to a very large extent have further accentuated previously existing divisions?

Dr. Attafuah's assertions will be the subject of a more deeper and critical analysis in a later article. For now this piece is really concerned about the fact that all the three major Commissions that President Kufuor has established at considerable cost to the taxpayer since he came into office in 2001 have all failed achieve the objectives for which they were set up. Having dealt with the NRC, lets move on to the other two.


The President Kufuor set up the Okudzeto Commission after the May 9 2001 stadium disaster which saw about one hundred and thirty football fans lost their lives. That commission was to investigate the cause or causes of the disaster, find those who were responsible for the disaster.

At the end of the work of that Commission, it fingered some Policemen as the persons responsible for the stadium disaster. However when the finding of the Okudzeto Commission, as far as criminal responsibility of the policemen it fingered was concerned, was tested in court by prosecution of those policemen it was found wanting.

The policemen were acquitted and discharged, and to date not a single person has been held to account for that criminal loss of innocent lives.


The Wuako Commission, set up to investigate the murder of the Ya-Na and over thirty of his kinsmen, also failed to deliver like the others. Indeed it was clear from the very beginning that the Wuako Commission was never intended to find the killer or killers of the Ya-Na and his people. The very composition of the Commission gave the game away.

In a country where we have, alive and kicking, not less than ten former Inspector Generals of Police, a number of retired tried and tested Commissioners of CID, a bunch of criminologists, Mr. Kufuor, in handpicking persons to serve on a Commission to investigate a highly technical crime as murder, not of one person but a massacre of a section of a clan, actually picks a Professor of linguistics and a retired Educationist to work with a retired Supreme Court Judge.

Compare the composition of the Wuako Commission to the Special Investigative Board (SIB) set up in 1982 to investigate the murder of the three High Court judges and a retired army officer, and one see clearly that while the SIB was composed of persons with relevant knowledge in criminal investigation and the criminal process, the Wuako Commission was deliberately denied this.

The SIB, like the Wuako Commission after it, also relied on the investigative machinery of the Police. But the expertise of the various members in areas of criminal investigations and criminal processes were brought to bear on the Police investigative machinery, thereby directing the Police investigative machinery appropriately.

The Wuako Commission, as expected, not only failed to find the perpetrators, but it ended up discrediting itself when it recommended that a person be prosecuted under a law that only exists in the imagination of the Chairman of that Commission.

In the end all parties, including even the very government that set up the Commission, have rejected significant findings of the Wuako Commission. The recommendations of that Commission were yet to be fully implemented, if ever it would be implemented.

Indeed there is a school of thought that is of the view that the Wuako Commission was one grand cover-up, designed to give the impression that the government was serious about getting to the bottom of the Yendi massacre (2) (for those who may not know, Yendi massacre (1) was in 1969 during which sixty-nine persons mainly belonging to the Andani family were mowed down in a hale of gunfire).

What has the Ghanaian taxpayer done to be afflicted with these levels of incompetence and charade? Did we go or did we come?