Anytime he opens his mouth to make a statement pertaining to a landmark national issue, I have to pop a Tylenol or an Aleve or some such analgesic. The fact of the matter is that the Minority Leader in Parliament is an unbearable pain in the back. And the butts and the neck and the brain, too, of course, if the dear reader knows what I am talking about.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling finding former President John Dramani Mahama to have been in flagrant violation of Article 75 of the country’s 1992 Constitution, in the matter of the two Guantanamo Bay terror suspects, namely, Messrs. Muhammed Al-Dhuby and Muhammed Bin-Atef, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu was widely reported by the media to have said that the 6-to-1 majority decision faulting the former President for having been in reckless breach of the highest legal document of the land, was a splendid display of “Ghana’s Separation of Powers at work” (See “Gitmo 2 Ruling: We Respect Ghana’s Judicial Process – US Gov’t” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 6/23/17).
The man who had his Master of Social Science Degree withdrawn by the Academic Council of the country’s flagship academy, the University of Ghana, for plagiarizing a sizable chunk of his thesis, may need to explain precisely what he means by “a display of Ghana’s Separation of Powers at work,” because we did not see this “display” exemplified in the case of the Montie Three/Trio pro-National Democratic Congress’ media propagandists, who publicly threatened to sexually violate recently retired Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, and were jointly and severally sentenced to 4 months’ imprisonment to be served at the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison, only for then-President Mahama to step in and use a rubber-stamp Council-of-State to summarily quash the verdict by the highest court of the land, barely halfway through the Montie Three’s serving of their sentences.
In a healthily and refreshingly functional democracy, Mr. Mahama would not have intervened or presumed to impugn the integrity of the decision by the Supreme Court without creating a constitutional crisis or, worse yet, bringing himself to the brink of impeachment. Indeed, by the end of his tenure, President Mahama had effectively become what may be aptly termed as a “Constitutional Dictator.” He had earlier on ridden roughshod over a very weak parliamentary establishment that had also become functionally too divisive and pathologically partisan for its own good. And so it is not clear just what the Tamale NDC-MP – one of the three MPs for the Tamale municipality, that is – means when Mr. Iddrisu talks about “a display of Ghana’s Separation of Powers at work.”
For, clearly, whatever passes for the Separation of Powers in Ghana these days, is purely so in name only. I am interested in this question because ever since his Master’s Degree was withdrawn by the University of Ghana, Mr. Iddrisu has managed to secure a law degree from one of the law-certificate manufacturing private academies in the nation’s capital. One can almost be certain, from the abjectly poor quality of his reasoning, that the Parliamentary Minority Leader may very well have used his power and influence as Labor and Employment Minister, at the time, to literally intimidate his way through the issuance of a law degree to him. Of course, he is not a lone ranger in this. We know, for instance, that at least 80-percent of the Mahama deputy cabinet appointees spent sizable chunks of their salaried time foraging for graduate degrees at the various advanced-degree awarding institutions in the nation’s capital, in much the same way that the late President Saddam Hussein, of Iraq, was once said to have done to the dean of a Cairo law school.
Well, legend has it that having flunked out of law school in Egypt and been expelled, the former Iraqi strongman would push his way into becoming the de facto military tyrant of his oil-rich country. He would then fully dress in his general’s uniform and sport a garishly visible high-caliber pistol slung to his waist’s belt. We are told that the newly self-proclaimed Iraqi strongman would then storm his former Cairo law school dean’s office. He would not have to say a word in order to have the law-degree certificate that he never earned handed to him with a diamond-gilt edge. Gen. Hussein’s striking visual message had been all too loud and clear for his former dean to ignore.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York