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Opinions of Friday, 21 February 2014

Columnist: Abugri, George Sydney

The Law, The NPP And Some Renegades

By George Sydney Abugri

But for the restraining hindrance of the Law, Dr Arthur Kennedy would in all probability have fetched Deputy Minister of Information and MP, Mohammed Murtala a hefty one to the base of the skull for suggesting that J.B. Danquah died of natural causes while in political detention. Dr Kennedy as much as said so himself last week, but fortunately for the legislator and indeed, all and sundry, the Law exists to punish the criminally violent-prone and protect the vulnerable. Do you really believe what I have just written, Jomo?

You must be naïve if you do: You have heard all about the Law being an ass and all that but I tell you, the Law sometimes behaves worse than the braying quadruped of Ghana’s Savannah. Who in his right mind will throw a man in jail for falling sick, Jomo?

At the approach of death, ten out of every ten people would show the cleanest pairs of heels ever. Anyone who tries taking his or her own life can only be ill then. That being the case, why would the Law throw such an individual in prison instead of committing him or her to a medical facility?
The irony of it is that where the would-be suicide succeeds in taking his or her life, the crime is not punishable under the Law for obvious reasons: Every court judge would jump through the courtroom window and flee at the sight of a ghost in the dock.

The Ghana Army has vowed to posthumously sanction the late Corporal Fred Nasrame who committed suicide last week, including cancelling the payment of his service benefits. The Army Command has probably taken the decision because in the case of the late Corporal Nasrame, he had before taking his own life, shot dead his wife Antoinette who also a soldier.

All the same, the question remains: Should people who attempt suicide be jailed instead of given medical treatment?

A judge sends a ruthless and blood thirsty killer marching off to the gallows and Amnesty International screams blue murder. A poor bloke suffering from severe depression tries to commit suicide and is sent to jail but the Amnesty people don’t say a word...

As for Dr Kennedy, why, he might consider using his influence in politics to preach tolerance for dissenting opinions and respect for party colleagues’ right to the pursuit of personal political ambitions.
There has been in the past few weeks, so much acrimony and show of intolerance for others’ opinions in the matter of the vetting of candidates ahead of the New Patriotic Party’s National Delegates’ Conference schedules for April 12 to elect new party leaders.
Party front-liners like former diplomat and ex-soldier Dr Nayho Tamakloe and legislator Kennedy Agyapong appear to be taking on the mantles of renegades, with Dr Tamakloe calling for an overhaul of the party leadership and Agyapong vowing to put a colossal {by our standards} US$ 20 million at the disposal of a bid to sack the entire party leadership ahead of 2016.
Some have whipped out and brandished the ethnic card in the pursuit of their ambitions to lead the party, claiming discrimination toward candidates from the north.
I hear some potential renegades are threatening to quit the party and launch their own party if the present leadership is retained by congress on April 12. Methinks anyone who quits a party to form another on account of his disagreement with happenings within the party, could not have loved that party in the first place, anaa..?
A formidable but responsible opposition is just what Ghana needs to keep every government accountable for all its policy decisions, actions, inactions and general man¬agement of the nation’s affairs. A strong opposition is a constant reminder that there is a capable alternative government waiting in the wings!

If the NPP is weakened or divided which could happen if those seeking leadership positions keep behaving like disgruntled housewives in a polygamous marriage, democracy could be the worse for it because it.

If disunity weakens the opposition, the incumbent’s power gets entrenched and the probable result is a virtual one-party state. A twin problem then emerges: The incumbent runs the risk of lapsing into complacency with the attendant problem of poor governance and the opposition now finding power as elusive as the pie in the sky, runs wild!

Do you recall how a virtual one party system once bred ter¬rorists in this country? I recall the day Ghana's first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was nearly killed on the outskirts of Bawku by political malcontents. I never tire of telling folks how Dr. Nkrumah appeared to be staring directly at me as he sat in the back seat of a car, waving a white handkerchief on that memorable day. I was standing on the edge of the road and he was seated close to the window on my side of the road.

We {students and pupils}had lined up on both sides of a stretch of the Bolgatanga-Bawku road, waving miniature Ghana flags in welcome to the President who was on his way to the Upper Volta ( now Burkina Faso), to meet Pres¬ident Maurice Yameogo.

When the convoy had passed, our teachers ordered us to stay put. Stay put we did, singing "Kwame ye, Kwame Nkrumah show boy, I want to see you ... "

Later, just as we were beginning to get thirsty, hungry and fidgety, the police motor dispatch rid¬ers who had been in the pres¬idential convoy came zoom¬ing back down a slope like bats out of hell. The lead rider who was standing up on the foot pads like a horse rider on the stirrups, kept screaming that Nkrumah had been killed.

We broke ranks in one great pandemonium, fleeing in all directions, led in flight by our teachers. A bomb had been thrown at Nkrumah at Kulugungu on the north-eastern fringes of Bawku , injuring him and other mem¬bers of his entourage and killing a schoolboy and a policeman.

After that botched assas¬sination attempt there was no let-up in efforts by a frus¬trated opposition to kill Nkrumah. Yet consider what Nkrumah himself said about the opposition in a speech:

"We need a strong and well organised opposition party in this country. My advice to the political parties has always been that they should produce a national policy the people can accept. They can then contest the elections and let the people decide. lf their plans are bet¬ter than ours, they win... If ours are better we remain in power."
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