I implore you to rid yourself off yourself before you continue reading (as hard and confusing as it may sound) and arouse the spirit of intellectualism.
When Barack Obama was here in Ghana, he said something which most of us would consider profound to the nth degree. He said, “now, make no mistake: History is on the side of these Africans (speaking of Nkrumah and Kenyatta), not with those who use coups or change constitutions to stay in power. Africa doesn’t need strongmen; it needs strong INSTITUTIONS.”Whether you subscribe to that school of thought or not is a subject for another time.
The president, JDM never ceases to remind us of those words anytime he has the platform to speak on issues pertaining to institutional failures and public service.
Allow me to digress a bit. For one to be a judge talk less of a judge in the highest court of the land would amount to not less than 10x the effort it took JDM to become president. So if a group of Supreme Court judges put their strengths together particularly their wisdom (everyone who read the judgment would attest to their prowess) to come out with a judgment, it could be considered sacrosanct.
Now for a “strongman” who says he believes in strong institutions to reverse the decision of our supreme court judges on “compassionate” grounds or to put it correctly, remitted the sentences of the now famous “montie 3” is something to think about. So I ask, what is the president’s definition of an institution? And more importantly, his views on a “strong” one.
I admit I feel ashamed to be commenting on such an act by one who is considered as the first gentleman of my country, Ghana. More shameful is when citizens, most of whom I would look up to ( our statesmen and ministers) sign a petition, requesting the president to act and free the three men based on his prerogative of mercy under article 72 of the 1992 constitution. A lot of those who signed unto it are well known lawyers. The presidency released information stating the president’s decision and further saying that it was taken on the advice of the council of state and was on compassionate grounds. Mind you, all of this is very lawful and well within the limits of what the constitution provides. But one can raise the issue of very prominent national and continental personalities like Dr. Ibn Chambas who in not so subtle words advised the president against such a mood.
When asked, the petitioners claim they in no way “pressured” the President as many wants to claim. And I believe the petitioners, because if it were possible for such level of action to be enough to pressure the President, then we are in more trouble than people would want to think. So I will safely assume the president was already inclined to act in that direction.
If the president cannot stomach the just discipline the supreme court is seeking to foster and promote in the nation particularly in these times, then I wonder how he can ever “dream” of curbing fiscal indiscipline and indiscipline in our public sector of which he is the number one servant.
Ensuing all this though is another saddening case of opportunistic and “reflex” diarrhea. Recently on social media platforms and some media outlets is a circulation of another petition begging for people to append their signatures. This one is about one Ma’am Rose Gakpo, reported to have been a “kayayoo” working at the Ghana’s Aflao border, sentenced to 10 years of imprisonment for carrying contraband without legal representation. This petition seeks to ask to pardon the said lady like in the case of the “montie 3” since most believe her case is more sympathetic hence deserves most “compassion”. Now, I won’t speak of the stench of this scenario but will instead ask questions I have been asking since it came up;
1) Do the “sympathizers” really know the facts of the case if it is indeed a genuine one?
2) Do the “sympathizers” believe the judge who handed out the sentence did so upon only reading 4-5 lines of the case?
3) Do the “sympathizers” stopped once to consider the laws enshrined in the constitution, how sympathy is not an ingredient of its make-up?
Justice is not something written in code but a decision which can be considered fair by all involved. But to decide if it is indeed fair and just, one must first strive to know and understand all sides of the cube. Once, after posing those questions to him, a friend asked me, “Assuming she was your sister, what would have been your reaction?”
My answer to him was, “first off, I would absolutely hate it for my sister to be paraded in such a manner in a thoughtless propaganda.” If people are really concerned and want to help the said woman, prudence would be to first petition the prisons council and if were factual that she had no legal representation, the attorney general’s office would be more than welcome to see into the matter.
Some would say the earlier petition was premature and could have taken other routes without the president needing to act but I will tell them that it is now done and dusted. Let’s now focus on the future but not forgetting to learn the lessons of the past.
Please, let us wake up as Ghanaians. We are the best God gave the world. Our slumber is enough, our tomorrow started yesterday.
As written Robert by Wogbe Dogoe