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Opinions of Saturday, 23 July 2016

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Supreme Court Decision on Zanetor Favors Addison

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 18, 2016

The clearing of Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings to contest the 2016 parliamentary election, on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), by the Wood Supreme Court, is an untenable travesty of justice (See “Klottey-Korle Controversy: Supreme Court Clears Zanetor” / 7/18/16). It is a travesty of justice because at the time that she filed her candidacy, with the criminal complicity of Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, the NDC’s General-Secretary, the eldest daughter of Chairman Jerry John Rawlings, the official founding-father of the National Democratic Congress, was not a registered dues-paying member of the party. The Supreme Court’s claim that the 37-plus-year-old Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings could not have been a registered NDC member because the Electoral Commission (EC) had, somehow, been in default does not hold water.

Still, it is the Supreme Court that has the final say-so in matters of this nature and therefore there is absolutely nothing that can be done to reverse such decision, not even a judicial review. At any rate, it was all along predictable that the Apex Court was set to rule in favor of the congenital scofflaw, once it summarily overruled the very fair and morally balanced verdict of the Accra High Court, on the dubious grounds that Justice Ackah-Boafo had illegitimately presumed to usurp the definitive and peremptory powers of the Supreme Court by interpreting the constitutionality, or the lack thereof, of the candidacy of the prominent and well-connected defendant.

The preceding notwithstanding, there is an inviolable beauty to democracy that no Supreme Court ruling can proscribe. Which is that the plaintiff and Klottey-Korle parliamentary incumbent can still contest in the November general election. What the Supreme Court decision does is that it legitimizes the right of party stalwarts and key operatives to prevent Nii Armah Ashitey from contesting on the ticket of the National Democratic Congress. Mr. Ashitey can still vigorously fight off this collusive judicial mischief by deciding to run as an Independent Candidate, with the strategic objective of drawing a critical mass of electoral support away from the party’s favorite daughter, thereby ensuring that Dr. Agyeman-Rawlings is denied the Klottey-Korle parliamentary seat. This, of course, is likely to redound to the benefit of Mr. Philip Addison, the parliamentary candidate of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

It would not be precisely what Mr. Ashitey had hoped for, but it would be enough to teach the NDC Abongo Boys a worthwhile and instructive lesson. Nii Armah Ashitey could also decide to part ways with the NDC by throwing his weight behind Mr. Addison and teaming up with the latter to delectably edge out the opportunistic outsider, whose sole claim to fame and political standing is through the country’s longest-reigning military dictator cum elected premier. The Akan have a saying that “If righteousness has no moral value, then let evil also not be valued as such.”

In a sense, our perennially besieged Supreme Court, and the judiciary at large, had no other practical recourse all along but to play it safe, even if not necessarily soundly. And on the latter note must also be promptly recalled the fact that ever since Messrs. Rawlings and Kojo Tsikata savagely and invidiously ordered the unconscionable abduction and brutal assassination of the three Akan-descended Accra High Court judges – on June 30, 1982 – the Apex Court has been on a precipitous downward spiral. The Court’s verdicts and decisions are routinely ignored with impunity especially by the leading members and operatives of the National Democratic Congress, including their Electoral Commission (EC) surrogates.

Barring the salutary intervention of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, via a resounding victory at the polls in the offing, it is highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would regain any remarkable modicum of its societal influence and authority anytime soon. To-date, the Supreme Court of Ghana remains one of the weakest institutional organs of its kind on the continent. And it is likely to remain so in the foreseeable future. That is the epic and apocalyptic tragedy that Ghanaians appear doomed to endure for quite a considerable while.

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