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Opinions of Thursday, 5 September 2013

Columnist: Asare, Kwaku S.

Not This Time, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata

S. Kwaku Asare

Tsatsu Tsikata’s imputation of corrupt motives to Justice Anin Yeboah is eerily reminiscent of the attacks that he launched against judges who reversed the so-called AFRC verdicts in the early 1980s. Tsatsu Tsikata was a senior official of the PNDC government when 3 of those judges (Sarkodee, Koranteng Addo and Agyepong) were abducted from their homes during curfew hours and executed at a military range.

The Special Investigation Board that investigated the brutal executions, which shocked the nation, named Kojo Tsikata, then a senior security official of government, as the mastermind of that plot. Kojo Tsikata and Tsatsu Tsikata are related. Because of this sordid history, Tsatsu’s recent attack on Justice Anin Yeboah is extraordinarily grave and deserving of more than just condemnations. At a minimum, the General Legal Council must discipline him.

Tsatsu Tsikata appears to have a disdain for Ghana’s judiciary and what it stands for. It is widely known that he was deeply involved in the conception and institution of the Public Tribunals, which were meant to displace the traditional judicial system, apparently because he wanted to dispense with the technicalities associated with the latter. Ironically, Tsatsu Tsikata had no difficulty availing himself of those technicalities when he was put on trial and convicted for willfully causing financial loss to the state. His understanding of the law was on display for all to see when he claimed that he had rejected a Presidential pardon, even as he walked out of jail.

Tsatsu Tsikata spearheaded attacks on Judge Henrietta Abban, the trial judge in his criminal cause. He coopted his friends in the media to launch scurrilous and scathing attacks on the judge for no reason, other than doing her job.

Tsatsu Tsikata’s disrespect and disdain for our judiciary was also at play when he filed a case at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights accusing the executive of packing the Supreme Court, questioning the independence of the Supreme Court Justices, and proposing fanciful theories about being charged with a crime that did not exist in an alien court. This complaint was, of course, dismissed because, in the words of the Commission, “he had acted impetuously,” a conclusion that most non-lawyers could reach.

This pattern of attacking judges, justices and the judiciary cannot be countenanced in the current dispensation, especially from someone with the dark track record of Tsatsu Tsikata. The Supreme Court Justices have been extremely generous to Tsatsu Tsikata, including allowing him to escape punishment when he failed to turn in his written address at the scheduled time. It is beyond the pale for him to now engage in cowardly attacks on members of the panel.

Tsatsu Tsikata should leave the judges, justices and the judiciary alone as they discharge their constitutionally mandated duties of administering justice. 2013 is not 1979. Enough is enough.