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Opinions of Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Columnist: Korang, Daniel

Whose Daughter Is Ghana: Time For A Solomonic Verdict

Daniel Korang

Since creation, mankind has been faced with hard cases which ultimately invite hard decisions. The on-going presidential election petition is, in my opinion, a hard case insofar as it happens to be the first in the history of Ghana. The case is analogous to the biblical controversy where King Solomon had to decide the real mother of a child (vide 1 Kings 3:16-28). There were two harlots in the land of Israel who gave birth to two children in the same week. It so happened that as they both slept, one of the women (name her ‘CIVIL WAR’) slept on her child and killed him. Upon realizing that her child was dead, CIVIL WAR surreptitiously took the child of the other woman (name her ‘PEACE’) and placed her dead baby in the bosom of PEACE.
The uncertainties surrounding the motherhood of the living child came before King Solomon’s Court for resolution. Indeed, that was a hard case. The wise King was in state of utter bewilderment. There was the need for a wise verdict. In fact, the king was not in the house of the women when the controversy arose. Yet he had to administer justice. That reveals the common frailty of all men!
In order to know who the real mother of the live child was, the king asked for a sword and directed thus “Divide the living child in two, and give half to one, and half to the other.” My God! What a hard decision that was!
In response to the hard direction of the king, “the woman whose son was living spoke to the king, for she yearned with compassion for her son; and she said, "O my lord, give her the living child, and by no means kill him!” 1 Kings 3:26.
The simple import of the response of PEACE is that, believing that the living child was hers, she was struck by motherly affection and tenderness for her son. She therefore asked that, for her beloved son to perish, she’d rather wish that the son be owned by her rival. Madam PEACE thought that, the child, although lost, may not only grow to serve her rival but he may be a responsible leader or personality to the whole world.
But the other said, "Let him be neither mine nor yours, but divide him." How on earth could a true mother of a living baby make such an inhuman, callous and rather merciless claim? The import of the claim is that, the baby was, in truth, not hers; she had suffered nothing in respect of the child. Therefore, if the baby is killed, she loses nothing.
The King realized that the baby was for Madam PEACE and so held for her. The Solomonic verdict was apparently a very strange decision such as nothing could vindicate had it been carried into execution; but Solomon saw that the only way to find out the real mother was by the affection and tenderness which she would necessarily show to her dear offspring. He plainly saw that the real mother would rather relinquish her claim to her child than see it hewn in pieces before her eyes, while it was probable the pretender would see this with indifference. He therefore ordered such a mode of trial as would put the maternal affection of the real mother to the utmost proof. The plan was tried, and it succeeded.

Fellow Ghanaians, the story is now not in Israel: it is in Ghana. Whereas baby Ghana is at the centre of controversy the two women represent the two key parties to the petition. King Solomon is the Nine Wise Justices of the Supreme Court and we, all of us, are the witnesses in the courtroom. Who owns baby Ghana?
Ghanaians are struck with fear and panic. There seems to be imminent chaos looming. There are droplets of dews of civil war. Little political discord and animosity are likely to coalesce, and wipe Ghanaians from the land. There is the fear that Ghanaians may vacate their homeland and live on the bounty of other nations as refugees in strange lands. There is a real foreboding of bloodshed. God forbid!
Whose is baby Ghana, the petitioners or the respondents? In election petitions like the present one, there is only one thing significantly common to both parties, and it is this: that at the centre of each parties claim is the desire to capture political power to govern Ghana. If indeed, and in fact, all political parties in Ghana genuinely claim to capture political power to champion to communal interest of Ghana, then wherever the dice falls, all the parties and their apparatchiks must accept it in good faith. If any party claims that they shall resort to war if the decision does not favour them, then they don’t deserve their name.
Now, to the nine wise Solomons I turn. Like the wise King Solomon, the justices of the Supreme Court are expected to display immense juridical acumen in their decision. The must ensure that their decision brings national unison and not national discord. The judges must uphold utmost fidelity of law. By fidelity of law I mean that judges must apply the law to the facts of the case as men of integrity. The judges should be guided by their judicial oath and the personal commitment to uphold the interest of Ghana. It must be noted that, the present case requires a hard decision. The decision that we all wait to see must not be a product of talismanic incantations at the bench or a product of partisan permutations. The decision of the judges must be free from whimsical and capricious considerations.
Yes. All the judges at the bench – each one of them – belong to one political party or the other. Undoubtedly, all the judges exercised their franchise in the 2012 elections. One may suggest a possibility of partisan inclinations rearing its ugly head to becloud the judgment of the judges. However, the judges should value the public confidence reposed in them by Ghanaians.
Let all Ghanaians bear in mind that the peace of Ghana has no better substitute. It is only when we taste the bitter brunt of civil war that we will value the peace and national serenity that we have enjoyed since independence. God forbid! Our democracy is too fragile to be tested. The cost of civil war is unbearable. Journalists must learn to be professional in their reportage and desist from sowing seeds of hatred, animosity, acrimony, rancour and similar sentiments.
Let us all note that, what holds us together as a people is not because we are located in one geographical enclave, but we are held together by a common strand of purpose and sameness of destiny. Whoever is given political power professes to rule in the supreme interest of Ghana. Why then divide and smash the very Ghana in whose interest we seek political power? We have the golden opportunity to demonstrate to the whole world that we are a wise group of people whose actions are dictated and directed by a light of a common purpose and fortune. If we say we shall not war, we shall not war.
The judges must endeavour to rise to the occasion and give practical meaning to the immortal words inscribed in the nation’s Coat of Arm – Freedom and Justice. Ghana is for peace.

Daniel Korang (LL.)
Enso Nyame Ye Chambers

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