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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Feature: Kwabena “Amedeka” Adjei threatens open season on Ghanaian judges

The widely alleged death threat issued by the chairman of Ghana’s ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to Chief Justice Georgina Wood and members of the judiciary at large, that failure by the latter to fall lock-step with the prosecutorial agenda of the Atta-Mills government, would be merely deemed as the cranky remark of a frustrated party hack, were such criminal threat without precedent in recent Ghanaian history (See “Is NDC’s National Chairman ‘In His Right Senses…?’ Okudzeto” Peacefmonline.com 8/17/10).

And on the preceding score, we must promptly recall for our readers the fact that on June 30, 1982, three Ghanaian High Court judges – namely, Justices Koranteng-Addow, Agyepong and Sarkodie and a retired Ghana Army major – were eerily abducted on the orders of at least two cabinet members of the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) and summarily executed and their corpses badly burnt and dumped on the Accra Plains. Evidently, charring the bodies by the assassins was in a bid to escaping forensic detection.

Back then, Chairman Jeremiah John Rawlings, in a melodramatic and badly rehearsed hysterical simulcast, vehemently denied that any key members of his PNDC junta had been involved. By the end of 1983, however, a Special Investigations Board (SIB), composed of judicial giants and some leading legal lights in the country, had authoritatively concluded that yes, indeed, not only had key cabinet members of the Rawlings government actively participated in both the plot to assassinate the judges and the latter’s Mafia-style execution itself but, also that, in fact, the very keys to the vehicle used in carrying out the assassination of the aforementioned judges had been collected from the kitchen table of the Rawlingses’ residence.

At any rate, the crime for which the judges were summarily executed has never been clearly and publicly articulated, though it is widely known that Justices Koranteng-Addow (then the nursing mother of a three-month-old baby), Sarkodie and Agyepong had judicially facilitated the reversal of Mr. Rawlings’ arbitrary and downright invidious expropriation of legitimately acquired private property during the three-month tenure of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). In agreeing to cede power to a constitutionally elected government in September 1979, the AFRC posse had done the most unconstitutional thing – in the dubious name of restorative justice – by mischievously inserting into Ghana’s Third-Republican Constitution a clause which expressly, albeit unjustifiably and unconstitutionally, precluded victims of AFRC expropriations from ever having their legitimately acquired property and earned wealth returned to them.

It was thus for conscientiously and courageously returning our country to a credible level of judicial respectability that cost the three high court judges their lives!

The NDC chairman’s issuance of his death threat against members of the Ghanaian judiciary deemed to be hostile to the vindictive prosecutorial agenda of the Atta-Mills government, comes in the wake of the acquittal of two prominent members of the Kufuor-led erstwhile government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). Messrs. Kwadwo Mpiani, the former chief-of-staff of President John Agyekum-Kufuor, and Dr. Wereko Brobby, the CEO of the Ghana@50 festivities had been arraigned before a high court judge on charges of causing financial loss to the state. The charges largely stemmed from alleged extra-parliamentary expenditure (or unauthorized budgetary overspending) during the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana’s independence from Britain. Justice Marfo-/Marful-Sau would wisely and justifiably dismiss the charges on grounds that the Attorney-General and her staff had elected the primrose path of professional lassitude by cavalierly and prejudicially presenting the findings of an inquiry commission as the airtight verdict to the presiding judge, all in a dastardly attempt at railroading Messrs. Mpiani and Wereko-Brobby. In other words, Attorney-General Betty-Mould Iddrissu and her staff had brazenly belittled the intelligence of Justice Marfo-/Marful-Sau. There, of course, have also been other relatively minor instances of gubernatorial judicial loss recently, which some jaundiced government insiders appear to have personally interpreted as unwarranted attempts by ideologically anti-NDC government judges to humiliate the Rawlings Gang.

What makes the NDC chairman’s death threat politically dire is the fact that Dr. Kwabena “Amedeka” Adjei appears to be both gloating over and quizzically justifying the 1982 summary execution of the three Ghanaian high court judges. The NDC chairman also seems to be thumbing his nose at the 1992 Fourth-Republican Constitution which, rather undemocratically as well as unconstitutionally, grants unconditional amnesty/indemnity for crimes committed by former PNDC operatives against Ghanaian citizens between December 31, 1981 and January 1992 when the Fourth-Republican Constitution went into effect. The good news, however, is that Dr. “Amedeka” Adjei’s criminal threat comes about the same time that a presidential commission has been reviewing the 1992 Republican Constitution, with “re-visionary” terms of reference. In sum, it would be quite pertinent, if not outright imperative, for the commission to envisage progressive ways and means of making criminal government operatives like the NDC chairman answer for past misdeeds, both actual and complicit.

It is also rather strange that Dr. Kwabena “Amedeka” Adjei, who is not a bona fide member of the Atta-Mills government, and/or cabinet, should be issuing death threats from the headquarters of the National Democratic Congress. This well highlights the fact that among the NDC constabulary, there is absolutely no functional distinction between party and government. If so, then either President Atta-Mills or Vice-President Dramani Mahama ought to come out within the next several days to clearly articulate such functional symmetry to the Ghanaian public. Even more significantly, the Speaker of Ghana’s parliament, Mrs. Bamford-Addo, herself a retired high court judge, ought to invite Dr. “Amedeka” Adjei to explain himself.

Ordinarily, the honorable thing for the NDC chairman to, presently, do, would be to profusely apologize for his incendiary rhetorical barbarism and resign. Unfortunately, knowing the reprobate cast of characters of which the NDC is largely composed, I am not banking on it.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is a Governing Board Member of the Accra-based Danquah Institute (DI) and the author of 21 books, including “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2005). E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net.

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