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Opinions of Monday, 25 January 2010

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Obed Asamoah Pleads His Own Unwholesome Cause

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

In a recent interview on Adom-Fm’s “Dwaso Nsem” (or “Conversations in the Marketplace”), former Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) cum National Democratic Congress (NDC) stalwart Dr. Yao Obed Asamoah, registered his signal approval of the illegal Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) recently established by President John Evans Atta-Mills. Intriguingly, however, the longtime Justice and Foreign minister of Ghana vehemently decried attempts by ardent lovers of democratic justice to seek the salutary expurgation of the so-called Indemnity Clause from the Fourth-Republican Ghanaian Constitution. In the opinion of the now-Chief Patron of the Democratic Freedom Party (DFP), this constitutional blight is a necessary pact that Ghanaians ought to maintain with both past and future coup-plotters in order to ensure the prevalence of political accommodation on both the part of lovers of constitutional democracy and any savages amidst us who still firmly believe in the forcible removal of legitimately constituted governments as a logical response to unpopular governance.

First of all must clearly be recognized the fact that in seeking to have the Indemnity Clause perpetually entrenched in the 1992 Constitution, Dr. Obed Asamosh is merely pleading the cause of his own unholy alliance with the Rawlings Gang that unconstitutionally deposed the Limann-led People’s National Party (PNP) on December 31, 1981 and then continued to extortionately and regressively dominate Ghana’s political landscape for the next two decades. It is also significant to observe, at least in passing, that until just a couple of years ago, the Chief-Patron of the so-called Democratic Freedom Party saw absolutely nothing amiss with the pseudo-democratic façade of the Rawlings-chaperoned National Democratic Congress (NDC) of which he had staunchly served as National Chairman. The former law lecturer at the University of Ghana also appears to envisage the odious Indemnity Clause almost wholly in terms of the “especial” interest of coup-plotters, whose anti-social shenanigans Dr. Asamoah also appears to take for granted. “If you try to amend it, it would be [amount?] to open[ing] up a can of worms. You see[,] the Indemnity Clause in the 1992 Constitution has been there since we started having military coups[;] and it is[,] in effect[,] a covenant with more or less [?] coup makers that ‘Look, you give us our freedom, we give you protection’” (See “Obed Asamoah: Don’t Touch Indemnity Clause; It’s Our Covenant With Coup Makers” 1/22/10), Dr. Obed Asamoah observed to program host Mr. Ekuorba Gyan.

The first problem with this kind of regressive thinki ng is that it presupposes that Ghanaians would always remain timid and tolerant towards political saboteurs. Secondly, precisely what the former Justice minister means by coup-plotters affording “protection” to those whose constitutional rights, privileges and responsibilities have been summarily abrogated, as occurred with the Rawlings posse in 1981, is not clear unless, of course, Dr. Obed Asamoah is of the firm conviction that constitutional democracy provides relatively far less protection to the citizens it seeks to govern than military putsches.

In other words, short of zanily approving of a patently criminal activity of Mafia proportions, it is rather inexplicable why a presumably well-educated intellectual like the Likpe-Kukurantumi native would seek to dialogue with civic-minded Ghanaian citizens along such unpardonably depraved and bizarre lines.

At any rate, what is even more outrageous is for Dr. Obed Asamoah to facilely presume the legitimacy of the $ 3 million-worth, 9-member Constitutional Review Commission (CRC), knowing clearly as a lawyer himself and a former Justice minister that Ghana’s 1992 Constitution clearly spells out the fact that any attempt to amend the same would have to, perforce, be singularly initiated by Ghana’s Parliament or National Assembly, and not either by the chief occupant of the old slave castle at Osu or the Flagstaff House.

Well, I have said this before and hereby repeat the same, once more: Unless President John Evans Atta-Mills backtracks, scraps his bogus Constitutional Review Commission, apologizes and dutifully refers this historic matter to our august National Assembly, months from now, Oguaa Kofi should expect to be either severely censured or, worse yet, impeached for flagrant breach of national trust and unnecessarily causing financial loss to the State!

It is also rather insulting that Dr. Obed Asamoah would so zealously champion the illegitimate cause of self-serving and unconscionable megalomaniacs, even as the bona fide and diligent Ghanaian citizens whom these coup-plotters ran out of the country struggle for dual-citizenship validation.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Insttitute (DI), the renowned pro-democracy think tank, and the author of 21 books, including “Sounds of Sirens: Essays in African Politics and Culture” (, 2004). E-mail: ###