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Opinions of Sunday, 30 November 2008

Columnist: Assou-Dodji, Harold K.

The NPP's Poetic Mantra Of 'Rule Of Law'

Of Freedom And Justice: The NPP’s Poetic Mantra Of ‘Rule Of Law’ And The Hard Cold Reality

A Voice From Afar

Ghana has embarked yet for the fifth time in the 4th Republic, on another painstaking and politically charged path to proving her democratic credentials and maturity to the rest of the continent. Decisions made both collectively and individually before and on December 7th can go a long way to define permanently our common destiny of a free and just society, a destiny we have all long aspired to achieve.

Issues of rule of law and good governance are attributes and flag-posts of a free and just nation and a democratically elected government is bound by a social contract to uphold the tenets and principles set forth in the Constitution of the land it wishes to govern. And so if this social contract is seen to have been breached and eroded, future choices for alternatives to the rulership are based on hard cold realities instead of repeated litanies of self-appraising poetic mantras.

The NPP government has, for a long time, made Ghanaians believe that it has performed better than any other Government in the history of this nation including Ghana’s Osagyefo Dr. Kwame N’Krumah! It had prided itself mostly on issues of Rule of Law and Good Governance. But the problematic contradictions here are one of realities and comparative analysis. History is there for us to refer to.

It is true that we are living in a democratic environment. And I don’t need to be a member of the NPP to acknowledge this. We have conducted five successful elections in the past and this is to be the fifth time Ghanaians will be going to the polls to choose their leader. Freedom and Justice, the driving forces and the spirit behind our struggle for political and economic independence cannot find full meaning in an environment where people are truly free but are never held responsible for their acts. What the NPP has perhaps missed out all this while is that freedom goes with responsibility. And Justice is a sine qua non requisite for Peace.

When a free citizen of this country in the person of Dr Isa Mobila was tortured and murdered in custody, by a brute soldier in the custody of the Ghana Armed Forces, and the President of the Republic, also the Commander-in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces – who appoints the Minister of the Interior, who in turn has oversight responsibility over the Ghana Police Service headed by the Inspector General of Police, IGP – has not gone all his way out to make sure justice is done to this poor man and his family, and that the perpetrator of this dastardly act is made to pay for his heinous crime, then

THAT IS NOT THE RULE OF LAW!!!...That is the greatest demonstration of irresponsible leadership!

When a respected traditional chief was horribly murdered not just in cold blood but also in the full glare and knowledge of the Ghana Police, and alongside with 40 others, and his body cut into pieces, and the parts bandied around in the township of Yendi by a group of human beasts, and the President of the Republic, who hires the IGP, who in turn is accountable to the Minister of Interior, has not gone all his way out to make sure justice is done to this poor old man, and when NOBODY, not even a scapegoat, is made to pay for these satanic and animalistic acts or murder or of possession of human parts, then THAT IS NOT THE RULE OF LAW!!!...That is the greatest show of irresponsible leadership on the part of Mr Kuffuor!

When huge amounts (kilograms) of trafficked and seized cocaine, under exhibition at the Ghana Police Headquarters, disappeared from the security centre of the Nation, in the full glare and watch of the police and security cameras, and the thief is never caught, and the drugs are never found, and the IGP is never held responsible and made to resign but rather awarded with taxpayers’ money, then

THAT IS NOT THE RULE OF LAW!!!...That is the greatest mark of irresponsible leadership and systemic failure!

When the Chief Justice, on inauguration into Office, assures the President of the Republic that she “shall never fail you” in response to the President’s call on her to “defend the interest of the [government]” [instead of the Republic, and by the way, who defines the so-called ‘interest’ of the State?], and subsequent empanelling and rulings of the Supreme Court have obviously and incontrovertibly pointed to biased and jaundiced interpretations of the Constitution, that simply tells you that the judiciary in Ghana is suffering from the severest forms of diarrhoea ever in the legal history of this country and that maybe some the “reputed” judges on the Supreme Court need to be given some moral “bentua” (enema) to purge their consciences and rid the judiciary of corrupt minds and political bigots.

When the President of the Republic, in granting interview recently to a BBC journalist, uses the term “sniff” instead of “sense” in describing his detection of corruption and his readiness to act swiftly, it gives you an idea of the collective mindset and character of the party he has represented over the past eight years and the preponderance of the murky activities that have plagued his own house during his reign as President of the Republic of Ghana. A verb connotes not just an activity but it also gives you an idea of the subject/doer/author of such activity. “Sniff” is to dogs and narcotics peddlers & pimps as “sense” is to mentally alert and sensible human beings.

When all indications have pointed to the fact that the prosecution and jailing of the former boss of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, GNPC, whose tireless efforts and patriotism spurred him on to stay the course of setting Ghana on the path of discovering oil, was politically motivated and induced, and the initial independence of the Supreme Court in this matter had been purposely and fatally compromised by Kuffour on the instigations of Nana Akuffo-Addo, then

THAT IS NOT THE RULE OF LAW!!!...It is the greatest show of incompetence and total abuse and disrespect for the independence of our judicial system!

When justice is justice only it serves and saves the shameless and unconscionable face and interests of the ruling party, and not justice when it serves the truest aspirations of the masses as captured in the spirit and letter of the Constitution, then

THIS IS NOT THE RULE OF LAW!!!...It is an absolutely destructive aberration of our collective conscience and an unacceptable precedence for future generations!

When Justice is veiled and hidden in the Law through judicial manipulations and appointments of cronies and so-called experienced lawyers hiding their true self-serving interests under the cloak of national duty,……….when judges usurp justice and exude over-bloating pride by shoving down the throats of discerning Ghanaians misguided and unverifiable notions that “it is only in Ghana that [they] – judges – are criticised and vilified”, then,

THIS CAN NOT BE THE RULE OF LAW!!! We must be wary of the return of the days of old when judges (and not laws and precepts) are installed to rule!

Now when people always point back to the past – especially to the P-NDC days to level off for wrongful acts committed under the current Kuffour-led administration, when people say that no one from the NDC has the moral authority to condemn acts of violence and of injustice committed in our 21st century because they – the P-NDC also presided over similar, more serious acts in the past, then such persons must be lacking in a sense of responsible leadership, they must be lacking direction in their private life and lacking bearing vis-à-vis the national goal we must attain.

The fact that an act was wrong when it happened in the past under the rule of an unfriendly government doesn’t mean that if the same act is committed today under a friendly democratically elected government, it is right. We should learn to distinguish between peoples and the acts they commit. We cannot certainly be moving forward when we keep referring to wrongful acts committed in the past to justify wrongful acts committed today. People who subscribe to these types of arguments under whatsoever pretext must be moving backwards with backward, unproductive mindset and backward feet!

The NPP’s much touted slogan of rule of law and good governance has been nothing but a mirage, a poetic mantra, or at best, a smokescreen to pursue their aggressive and greedy self-serving interests, hiding justice in the law, denying contributions of past governments, and exhibiting the highest levels of immoral, arrogant, and irresponsible leadership.

Fellow Ghanaians, let us tell the NPP that unearned moneys and expensive billboards and TV ads don’t make a king. We are the kingmakers…let’s tell Akuffo-Addo that you don’t need a second chance to make a first impression!

May God, who searches all hearts and minds, illumine Ghana and direct this nation in the search and choice of a true, humble and God-fearing President.

God bless the Republic!