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Opinions of Thursday, 10 March 2011

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

Why are Ghanaians Scary of Removing the "Indemnity Clause" from the Constitution?

I have been listening attentively to the pros and cons of the retention and or, the removal of the "Indemnity Clause" as currently entrenched in Ghana's Constitution at the non-negotiable behest of the Former President J.J. Rawlings. Before declaring which side of the debate my pendulum swings, I should first like to define what a nation's constitution is. A Constitution is the system of fundamental principles according to which a nation, state, corporation, or the like, is governed.

It could be seen that by a bizarre twist of fate, the Ghana Constitution has a segment of monstrosity which makes many discerning people question its relevance. The Constitution has what is called an "Indemnity Clause". This clause indemnifies former President J.J. Rawlings and his pride of AFRC/PNDC hungry lions that came not only to kill but also, to feed themselves fat on the ignorance of Ghanaians, from potential persecutions and prosecutions. With this clause seemingly inextricably enshrined in the Constitution, a bargain on which Rawlings did re-introduce democracy to Ghana, he, Rawlings, has since been living confidently, growing horns to become a monster. He has come to see himself as the strongest man in Ghana in whose hands Ghana is held like an egg - the most delicate object easily crushed with minimal effort. He has become the real Ghana's infamous "Osuo abrobo3 of the "I don't fear huuuu!" He keeps insulting his successors every now and then, the trait of his monstrous empowerment by the said questionable clause.

It will be recalled that Rawlings and his clique of military adventurers dabbled in politics upon the perception that his predecessors were corrupt, milking Ghana dry and had ascended to power through illegal means - overthrowing a constitutionally elected government. Rawlings, living in a glass house however learnt to throw the biggest and the sharpest stones in contrast to the conventional saying, "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" - (The basic meaning of this proverb is that you shouldn't criticise others for faults which you possess yourself). He did not only overthrow the governments but had the leaders executed by firing squad, dispossessed them of their properties and deprived their relatives of comfort and help.

Rawlings in the end found himself to have committed tenfold the error for which his predecessors were callously, if not wrongly murdered. Fearing retribution, the man who had intended to become the dictatorial Life President of Ghana but had come under international pressure to let Ghana go back to democracy, sought a way to secure his life and his ill-gotten wealth. He then insisted "Indemnity with No Accountability Clause" is written into the Constitution to grant him protection from possible prosecution for his excesses. He was excessively murderous, greedy, insolent, violent, corrupt and notorious coup-maker.

To avoid a bad precedent becoming forever a sanctioned norm, as it is in the case of Rawlings thereby making him a fearless person but a monster, the indemnity clause must be abrogated. I am not at all enthused with the infantile suggestions put forward by others in support of retaining the "Indemnity clause" in the Constitution. Some are of the opinion that for the sake of continual prevalence of tranquillity in Ghana, the clause must stay put in the Constitution. Does it go to tell that Rawlings will burn or jump into a fighter jet to bomb Ghana as he used to threaten if the clause was done away with in a referendum? Will his supporters massacre all other Ghanaians just for ridding the Constitution of that nonsensical clause? What a bunch of cowards, hypocrites and ignoramuses we are as Ghanaians should we be scared shitless by the Rawlings' clueless band of veranda boys or footy-soldiers.

Have Ghanaians forgotten the popular jovial saying, " Sell your mother to acquire power and once the power is acquired, use it to order her purchasers to release her" or, "if your mother is being taken away to be killed and you are required to choose between saving her and acquiring power, first grab the power, then exercise that power by ordering those going to kill her to release her" What a case scenario of killing two birds with a stone. Assuming Rawlings offered to go democratic on condition that he was never to be prosecuted through the insertion of the deplorable clause in the Constitution, now that power is democratically in the hands of the governed, what do we do as rational beings? Do we continue to succumb to his threats, cower when his shadow passes by, and quiver when his name is mentioned? Then what great fools we are? Let us use the power so acquired to throw out the "Indemnity clause"

Doing away with the clause does not necessary mean that he is going to be prosecuted. But should he continue to open up warts with his nonsensical celebrations of June 4th 1979 and 31st December 1981, then he should be ready to be taken on in the law courts by aggrieved individuals. Will such a process not rather bring more peace to the people of Ghana? Will it not help arrest the obvious tribal acrimony in the country as instigated by Rawlings himself? Will our leaders not have the desired respect and the peace of mind to govern without the fear of the monster breathing down their neck? Will they not be saved the public ridicule they are permanently subjected to by Rawlings e.g. Ataa Ayie nie, Kufuor nie, Atta Mortuary man, who born dog, etc.?

Cowards really die many times before their death. Ghanaians will be more than cowards if they should retain the Indemnity clause just for the fear of angering Rawlings, now an ordinary citizen. How do we dissuade other soldiers from ever staging coup d'états if they knew they will be indemnified? Or, coup d'états can never again take place in Ghana? The wise man says, "Never say never until the end of the foundations of the world" Until the world comes to an end with all the ongoing occurrences of similitude of the wonders of the world, everything is feasible. How then do we deter deceitful hungry soldiers from staging coup d'états? I think they will think twice if they knew they will surely meet their nemesis before they give up the ghost.

Rockson Adofo