Rawlings: A Constitutional President
The Establishment of Independent Institutions of the Constitution
The author of Working with Rawlings claims credit for the ability of the first Government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) under the Fourth Republican Constitution to meet the deadline provided under Articles 166, 216 and 231 of the Constitution, and subsequently reinforced in Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions (TP) to the Constitution for the establishment of the independent Constitutional institutions by Act of Parliament within six months after the assumption of office of the President.
The above provisions of the Constitution mandated the establishment of the National Media Commission, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and the National Commission for Civic Education. The provision of each of them required the establishment by Act of Parliament and the appointment of their membership within six months of Parliament first meeting after the coming into force of the Constitution.
The framers of the Constitution also provided for the establishment of the Electoral Commission under Article 43, and the District Assemblies Common Fund and its Administrator under Article 252(1) and (4) as independent constitutional bodies without providing for the period within which they were to be established by Act of Parliament. The omission was detected after the Consultative Assembly had approved and adopted the Draft 1992 Constitution for printing by the Assembly Press but before the Consultative Assembly negotiated within itself for the content of the Transitional Provisions to the 1992 Constitution.
Consequently, the issue of ensuring that the first Parliament established and provided for the appointment of the members of the Electoral Commission and the District Assemblies Common Fund by Act of Parliament within six months of the coming into force of the Constitution was hammered out by the Sub-Committee of the Consultative Assembly set up to settle the terms of the Transitional Provisions. It was during the negotiation process of settling the terms of the Transitional Provisions that the issue of ensuring the establishment and appointment of a chairman and other members to “the National Tertiary Education Council howsoever described” was advocated and eventually accepted for incorporation into the Transitional Provisions.
This is how Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions of the 1992 Constitution approved at the Referendum held on 28th April 1992 came about and to place upon the first President under the Fourth Republican Constitution who was to assume office on 7 January 1993 the obligations stated in that provision of the Transitional Provisions. Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions of the Constitution was, therefore, primarily to cure omissions in the Constitution.
The Chairman of the PNDC, Jerry John Rawlings won the 3 November 1992 presidential elections on his own steam. After the Presidential elections, the PNDC was busy canvassing for votes for the parliamentary elections on 6 December 1992. The question is when did the PNDC commission the Political Committee of the PNDC, chaired by Justice D. F. Annan including the author to prepare the necessary six draft Bills to be laid before Parliament as soon as it commenced business?
The Fourth Republic came into being on 7 January 1993 with the assumption of office of Jerry John Rawlings as the First President of the Fourth Republic of Ghana. Earlier in the day Mr. Justice D. F. Annan had been elected the first Speaker of the first Parliament of the Fourth Republic before the President could be sworn into office. The PNDC ceased to exist at the close of 6 January 1993.
How then does the author explain his assertion that in anticipation of the setting up of the six independent constitutional institutions within six months upon the coming into force of the constitution:
“…the Political Committee of the PNDC as part of the transitional arrangements, had set up a Legal Sub-Committee chaired by Justice Annan and including myself to prepare the necessary draft Bills to be laid before Parliament as soon as it commenced business.
The Legal Sub-Committee was able, to working day to day, to finalise all the six draft Bills and for them to be laid, debated and passed by the House before the expiry of the six months’ deadline….”?
What does one make of an author who does not realize the incoherence and inconsistency in his narratives? Was it the PNDC’s Political Committee and its Legal Sub-Committee that finalized the draft Bills for them to be laid, debated, and passed by Parliament at a time when the PNDC had ceased to exist and the first Government of the Fourth Republic had assumed the reins of government?
The foregoing demonstrates that in trying to expropriate the collective efforts of the first Government of the Fourth Republic under President Rawlings to meet its constitutional obligations under Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions, the author fabricated his involvement with Mr. Justice D. F. Annan and the Political Committee of the PNDC forgetting that the PNDC had ceased to exist when the First President assumed office. The author, unfortunately, did not advert his mind to the fact that Mr. Justice D. F. Annan, who assumed office as the first Speaker of the First Parliament of the Fourth Republic, could not at the same time be chairing a Legal Sub-Committee of a PNDC Political Committee let alone supervise a Legal Sub-Committee even of the Cabinet of the NDC Government for the purposes the author states in his book. In any case, the Legal Sub-Committee of the Political Committee of the PNDC that ceased to exist on 7 January 1993 was made up of several qualified legal practitioners in the art of legislative drafting and one wonders about the motive and the necessity of including the author alone as a member without naming the other more qualified members.
The Attorney-General was under both the PNDC Establishment Proclamation, and Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution the principal legal adviser to the Government. The Attorney-General has always had under his office the Legislative Drafting Division headed by a Director (enrolled on the Roll of Lawyer in Ghana) with the conditions of service of a Justice of the Court of Appeal. The Legislative Drafting Division of the Attorney- General’s Department puts together draft legislation upon drafting instructions received from the appropriate Ministry or the Government through the Attorney-General. The Attorney- General on his own or upon advice from the Director of the Legislative Division may recommend to the Government or Ministry the consideration of legislation to fill a perceived vacuum. This is a summation of a function that has always been exercised by the Attorney- General’s Office in all commonwealth jurisdictions.
Any responsible Attorney-General’s Office and its Director of Legislative Drafting always look ahead to fulfill their obligations to the governments they serve. In the case of the Consultative Assembly and the transition to democracy under the 1992 Constitution, the Director of Legislative Drafting and the Deputy Attorney-General were an integral part of the Consultative Assembly that drafted the 1992 Constitution. As direct participants and contributors to the framing of the draft 1992 Constitution they knew of the mandatory provisions of Articles 166, 216, and 231 which required the establishment by Act of Parliament and the appointment of members to, the National Media Commission, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and the National Commission for Civic Education within six months of the coming into force of the Constitution and what necessitated the filling of the gap by the provisions of Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions.
The Director of Legislative Drafting of the Office of the Attorney-General and her staff who assisted in the making of the Constitution were instructed by the Attorney-General to start the preparation of draft Bills for the mandatory constitutional bodies expected to be established within six months after Parliament’s first meeting after the coming into force of the Constitution, soon after the approval of the 1992 Constitution at the referendum. They reported through the Deputy-Attorney General to the Attorney-General.
The 1992 Constitution which had been approved at the referendum to come into force on 7 January 1993 contained sufficient drafting instructions as to the substantive content of the proposed Bills. There were also precedents under the existing laws that dealt with some of those institutions established under previous Constitutions to guide the initial drafting processes. The various PNDC Secretaries under which the subject matter fell were also available for consultation and discussion in the initial drafting process. These preparations by the Attorney-General’s office were to expedite and lessen the work of the in-coming government and potential subject matter Ministers under which each of the proposed mandatory legislations fell for the finalization of each Bill for the consideration of Cabinet and submission to Parliament. No appointee under the PNDC was guaranteed continuation of political office after 6 January 1993.
There were several other laws which the Attorney-General’s Office had to prepare and finalize for the signature of the Chairman of the PNDC to come into force before 7 January 1993 to bring some of the existing laws to be consistent with the provisions of the in-coming Constitution.
Consequently, between the referendum on 28 April 1992 and 6 January 1993, these processes went on and were discussed between the Attorney-General’s Office, the sector PNDC Secretaries, and Mr. Justice D. F. Annan who apart from being the Chairman of the National Commission for Democracy, was also the PNDC Member who acted as the liaison between the Ministry of Justice and the PNDC. Draft Bills from the Attorney-General’s Office which had gone through the Legal Sub-Committee of the Committee of Secretaries of the PNDC had to be eventually approved by the Committee of Secretaries and the PNDC before they became law.
However, in the case of the transition to Constitutional rule, the Cabinet of the first Government under the 1992 Constitution was the body responsible for the final approval of the six Bills dealing with the mandatory requirements under the Constitution and Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions. After Mr. Justice D. F. Annan was elected the Speaker of the First Parliament under the Fourth Republic on 7 January 1993 he ceased to be an active player in the executive branch of government.
The author, however, claims that in anticipation of meeting the mandatory provisions of
Section 9 of the Transitional Provisions of the Constitution:
“…. the Political Committee of the PNDC as part of the transitional arrangement, had set up
a Legal Sub-Committee chaired by Justice D. F. Annan and including myself to prepare the necessary draft Bills to be laid before Parliament as soon as it commenced business…. The
Legal Sub-Committee was able, working day to day, to finalize all the six draft Bills and for them to be laid, debated, and passed by the House before the expiry of the six months’ deadline.”
The foregoing narrative of the author leaves so many provocative questions unanswered: When was the Political Committee of the PNDC set-up to deal with transitional matters? What was its composition? When did it cease to exist? Did Mr. Justice Annan continue as Chairman of the Legal Sub-Committee of the PNDC’s Political Committee after assuming office as the Speaker of Parliament? If not, then how could that Legal Sub-Committee have finalized all six draft Bills for them to be laid, debated, and passed by the House under the 1992 Constitution before the expiry of the six months deadline as claimed by the author?
I was the Deputy Attorney-General throughout the two governments of President Rawlings under the Fourth Republic and know, as a matter of fact, that the six draft Bills were approved by the Cabinet after the nomination, approval, and appointment of the Ministers of State in the first Government. The sector Minister responsible for each draft Bill presented the Bill to Cabinet for approval and submission to Parliament. The Hansard of Parliament will confirm that each of the six Bills was signed by, tabled, and taken through Parliament by each newly appointed Minister for the appropriate sector responsible for the subject matter dealt in each Bill. The narrative by the author do not, therefore, correspond with the facts on how the National Media Commission Act, 1993 (Act 449); the Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451; the National Commission for Civil Education Act, 1993 (Act 452); the National Council for Tertiary Education Act, 1993 (Act 454); the District Assemblies Common Fund Act, 1993 (Act 455); and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice Act, 1993 (Act 456) were enacted within six months after the first President assumed office under the 1992 Constitution.
Composition of the membership of the Electoral Commission
The author also seeks to take credit with Captain Kojo Tsikata for the composition of the membership of the Electoral Commission after the enactment of Electoral Commission Act, 1993 (Act 451). Mr. Justice Josiah Ofori-Boateng who became the Chairman of the Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC) was the spouse of the Director of the Legislative Drafting Division of the Attorney-General’s Department whose precondition for agreeing to his appointment to the Interim Electoral Commission was an undertaking to allow him to return to the bench after the 1992 elections. His return to the Court of Appeal was, therefore, expected after President Rawlings won the 1992 presidential election.
Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was the Deputy Electoral Commissioner (Operations) and the most active member of the Commission during the 1992 elections. Coming out of the conflicted presidential and parliamentary elections of November and December 1992 it was only prudent that one of the Deputy Electoral Commissioners be elevated to the Chairmanship of the Commission. Mr. Dixon Kwame Afreh who was a replacement appointee to the INEC had been appointed subject to a precondition to appoint him to the bench. Consequently, out of the existing two Deputy Commissioners at the time Act 451 was enacted, Dr. Afari-Gyan was the only longest serving Deputy Commissioner of INEC available for consideration to chair the Commission.
The decision to elevate Dr. Afari-Gyan to the position of Chairman of the Electoral Commission was based solely upon the assessment of his competence and capabilities during the previous elections and to avoid the contested political issue of finding someone entirely new to election administration for the job. One cannot state the persons privy to the decision to elevate Dr. Afari-Gyan without breaching the trust and confidentiality expected of public appointees in the discharge of their duties. Suffice it to say that the ultimate decision rested with President Rawlings in appointing Dr. Afari-Gyan as the Chairman of the Electoral Commission. The appointment was not based on the patronage of Captain Tsikata and the author, Kwamena Ahwoi.
The author’s modus operandi, as shown in the narrative of his book, is to associate himself with any important decision made by President Rawlings as though he was the alter ego of the President without whom the President could not have succeeded in administering the country.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Obed Asamoah had taught at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana with Mr. D. K. Afreh (as he then was). Mr. Afreh had also taught almost all the qualified lawyers in the PNDC government who obtained their Qualifying Certificate under the Legal Professions Act, 1960, (Act 32) from the University of Ghana. The University of Ghana at one stage conducted both the LL. B degree for the University of Ghana, and the Qualifying Certificate in Law (Q.C.L) on behalf of the General Legal Council. Mr. D. K. Afreh taught criminal law at the undergraduate level and criminal procedure and practice, and/or company law at the postgraduate qualifying certificate level.
Chairman Rawlings knew Mr. D. K. Afreh personally as he served under the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council before he assumed the appointment as the Director-General of the Pan-African News Agency (PANA). Most of us, PNDC appointees, who were once Mr. D. K. Afreh’s students both at the undergraduate LL. B degree programme and the Qualifying Certificate under the Legal Professions Act had the honour of interacting with him when he returned from The Gambia to Ghana. Mr. Ato Dadzie, then PNDC Secretary to the Office of the Chairman of the PNDC and Nii Okaija Adamafio, the PNDC Secretary for the Interior both enrolled on the Roll of Lawyers in Ghana knew Mr. D. K. Afreh. In the case of Nana Ato Dadzie, Mr. Kwamena Ahwoi and me, he was also our Hall Master in Commonwealth Hall.
Mr. D. K. Afreh was more than qualified to be appointed the Deputy Chairman of the Interim National Electoral Commission in his own right without his nativity. Mr. D. K. Afreh’s preference was to be appointed to the bench. There was no vacancy at that time and he was persuaded to accept to serve on the Interim National Electoral Commission pending the availability of vacancy on the bench. Consequently, he accepted that appointment at the INEC subject to the precondition he made. The author wrote about him devising a formula which got the salary arrears and other emoluments owed Mr. Afreh by PANA paid by the organization without stating what the formula was. The author knows just as some of us do that without the approval of Chairman Rawlings the exchequer could not have been accessed to meet those obligations.
In view of the surrounding circumstances of the return of Mr. D. K. Afreh and his eventual acceptance to temporarily be the Deputy Chairman of INEC it looks cheap and unethical for the author to abuse the confidentiality of the discussion he was privy to in his capacity as a public officer on an ego raising spree in his Working with Rawlings.
President Rawlings kept his promise of appointing Mr. D. K. Afreh to the bench which he did in 1994 upon recommendation of the Judicial Council. Mr. D. K. Afreh was at that time more than qualified to have been appointed to the Supreme Court where students he had taught in the University of Ghana and the Ghana School of Law were already Justices of the Supreme Court. It is interesting that the author refuses or fails to write about the circumstances that informed the appointment of Mr. Afreh to the Court of Appeal or why the promise that he was soon to be recommended for promotion to the Supreme Court never materialized under the NDC Government over which he claims so much control for the decisions and actions of President Rawlings. The consequences of the failure to honour the promise to promote Mr. Justice Afreh to the Supreme Court from the Court of Appeal played out after the NDC loss the 2000 presidential election leading to his elevation to the Supreme Court by the NPP Government in 2001.
Between 1988 and 1993 Mr. David Adenze Kanga was a member of the National Commission for Democracy and later of the Interim Electoral Commission. It was the competence and capability of Mr. Kanga on the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) that earned him a place as a member of the Interim National Electoral Commission. Mr. Kanga chaired the session of the regional fora on ‘Evolving a True Democracy’ organized by the NCD in his capacity as a member of the NCD. His elevation from a member of the INEC to a Deputy Chairman (Operations) of the Electoral Commission was earned in his own right by virtue of his sterling services on the INEC. These are verifiable facts available to any researcher and scholar competent enough to undertake social research in the writing of a book intended to teach future leaders the art of governance. The author, Kwamena Ahwoi has made references to NCD’s “Evolving a True Democracy” in his book. He was one of the signatories to the preface to that NDC document and had no reason, except incompetence in the art of research, and/or mischief making, not to have known that Mr. D. A. Kanga was also a signatory to the same document in his then capacity as a member of the NCD at the time he chaired a session of the regional fora on “Evolving a True Democracy” organized by the NCD referred to by the author at page 101 thereof.
Coming to terms with Constitutional Governance
The author who claims to own everything Rawlings achieved as Chairman of the PNDC and the first President of the Fourth Republic stated that President Rawlings appointed a Cabinet of seventeen Ministers made up of named persons: The author places Dr. Obed Asamoah at number 2 as Minister for Foreign Affairs and again at number 3 as Minister for Justice and Attorney-General. No rational person could have fathomed such a concurrent appointment of Dr. Obed Asamoah under the first Government under the 1992 Constitution.
First and foremost, the Constitution mandated the appointment by the President of Ministers of State with the prior approval of Parliament and Dr. Asamoah was nominated, approved, and appointed to the position of Minister for Foreign Affairs by the first Parliament and not Minister of Justice and Attorney-General or both. President Rawlings nominated and later appointed Mr. Anthony Forson from Captain Kojo Tsikata’s National Convention Party (NCP) as the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General. Commonsense and a good memory which are supposed to be attributes of erudite professors of law should have guided the author from misrepresenting facts which are available from the Hansard of Parliament for the relevant periods. Dr. Obed Asamoah was given additional responsibility for the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General when Mr. Anthony Forson resigned as Attorney-General in September or October 1993, which did not need further Parliamentary approval.
It is a shame that the author would so demean the intellect of the Chairman of the PNDC, and the first President of the Fourth Republic who gave him the opportunity to serve this nation and to be known by the public to the extent of questioning his understanding of limited constitutional governance. All Armed Forces the world over are creatures of and limited by their national Constitutions and laws. One cannot be commissioned as an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces without having internalized the Constitutional law and history of Ghana, otherwise the obligations placed on officers and men to defend the Constitution would have been hollow. This is why even the enlisted men of every armed force are taught the structures and limits of their national constitutions and other international law requirements of their vocation.
Captain Tsikata whom the author appears to so revere and the Chairman of the PNDC, Flt. Lt Jerry John Rawlings were both products of the Ghana Military Academy. But for inexplicable personal reasons Flt Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, who had twice been Head of State of Ghana before he founded the 1992 Constitution is insultingly portrayed by Kwamena Ahwoi as a person who was incapable of appreciating an executive presidency limited by constitutional structures.
How, except for malicious motives, could the new government be confronted with a serious reality of how to get President Rawlings to appreciate the facts of an executive president limited by constitutional structures when the author himself admits that: “It appeared, however that Rawlings himself had anticipated this problem and prepared himself for it.” Having failed to paint President Rawlings as ignorant about constitutionalism and constitutional governance, the author resorts to conjectures to justify President Rawlings’ ability to appreciate that the Constitution placed limits on his exercise of executive power.
The author refused or failed to recognize that President Rawlings was an accomplished statesman and had developed management and governance skills more than any academic in the art of governance. Consequently, he attributes President Rawlings’ respect for and abidance with the limits placed on the exercise of his constitutional authority to the speculation that: “It is possible, and most likely that the strategy to get President Rawlings to appreciate the connotational limitations on his presidential powers was worked out between Justice D. F. Annan and Captain Kojo Tsikata.”
Admittedly, Justice D. F. Annan was a person properly called to the United Kingdom Bar and subsequently enrolled on the Roll of Lawyers in Ghana and became a retired Justice of the Court of Appeal when Chairman Jerry John Rawling gave him the privilege to serve his nation. Mr. Justice Annan would not have claimed the credit the author sought to bestow upon him, since it would have been unethical for him to do so. Captain Kojo Tsikata owed his position and popularity within the PNDC structure to Chairman Rawlings who gave him the privilege to serve his nation and would not as a disciplined retired military officer have looked down on his Commander-in-Chief.
VAT, “Kumi Preko’ and all that!
The author, Kwamena Ahwoi, wrote Working with Rawlings as a professor of law. This was a person who presented himself moments previously as trying to get President Rawlings to appreciate the limitations of the constitutional structure of governance. One would suppose that an author who presents himself to his readers as knowledgeable in constitutional law and governance would respect one of the core principles and conventions of constitutional limits and good governance – the principle of collective responsibility of the Cabinet and Government.
But here we have the acclaimed professor of law at page 104 of Working with Rawlings disclosing contributions of his fellow cabinet ministers at Cabinet meetings when he writes that:
“In Cabinet, Dr. Obed Asamoah and a few others who argued for the postponement of the implementation of the VAT lost out in the debate. Finance Minister Dr. Kwesi Botchwey was confident that the VAT could be successfully implemented. He therefore pushed the VAT Bill through the de facto one-party Parliament where it was passed without opposition. President Rawlings duly assented to the Bill which became the Value Added Tax Act, 1994, Act 486.”
Everybody who lived through that period knew that the Dr. E. A. (Kwesi) Botchwey submitted the Value added Tax Bill, 1994 to Parliament in the name and on behalf of President Rawlings after it had been approved by the Cabinet. The deliberations of every cabinet under the 1992 Constitution are secret to afford Ministers of State the opportunity to speak freely on matters contained in the agenda. The Cabinet oath binds every Minister to keep what transpires in Cabinet secret.
The author, Kwamena Ahwoi, took the Cabinet oath before President Rawlings and swore, inter alia,: “…that I will not directly or indirectly reveal such matters as shall be debated in Cabinet and Committed to my secrecy…” . He also took the Oath of Minister of State and the Oath of Secrecy provided for in the Second Schedule to the 1992 Constitution. But here we have a professor of law who purports to reveal what took place in Cabinet selectively for his own undisclosed purposes. Could Dr. Kwesi Botchwey (aka Dr. Edward Andrew Botchwey) have sent the Bill to Parliament without the approval of the Cabinet? Was Cabinet not collectively responsible with the President for the Bill submitted to Parliament and passed into law? What then was the necessity for the author to breach his Cabinet oath in alleging without proof who supported and who opposed what when the Bill was debated in the Cabinet?
Upon what constitutional authority did Kwamena Ahwoi have to state at page 105 of his
Working with Rawlings that:
“…At a sober and somber Cabinet meeting at which I was present. The Cabinet decided and President Rawlings approved that the VAT should be suspended and the sales tax reintroduced at 15 per cent. This was on 15th June 1995.”
This is a Cabinet Minister who is distancing himself from the collective decision of the Cabinet of which he was part. How can such an author be trusted to make a narration which is objective when his life is guided by self-interest and self-importance in taking credit only where things turn out well and good?
Rawlings’ Ministers are investigated
What is the authority upon which the author, Kwamena Ahwoi, a Minister of Local Government appointed at the pleasure of President Rawlings disclosed in his Working with Rawlings, a meeting and decision arising therefrom that President Rawlings held “with some of his trusted comrades over the issue” of private newspaper stories “of alleged corruption and illegal acquisition of properties by his Ministers and other appointees.”? The author narrates his unconstitutional and unlawful disclosure as follows:
“Nana Ato Dadzie and I were among the comrades. After exhaustive discussions, it was decided to refer the matter to the newly-established CHRAJ. But there was a snag. The CHRAJ Commissioner, Mr. Emile Short, was new, and even though he had been appointed by President Rawlings, he was not really known to the President and his politics were also unknown. Some rumours had it that he was even anti-NDC and could use the opportunity of the investigations to damage Jerry Rawlings and the NDC Government.
Nana Ato Dadzie and I were sent to go and ‘source’ him out. We visited him at his residence, had a very long chat with him and left convinced that he would do a fair job. President Rawlings therefore referred the four of his political appointees who had been the subject of adverse publications in the Chronicle to the CHRAJ for investigations. …”
Nana Ato Dadzie is mentioned in the preface to the book to have been amongst the persons that reviewed the book. He is not known to have disassociated himself from the above narrative of events by the author. Nana Ato Dadzie is enrolled on the Roll of Lawyers. The author, try as he did both in the United Kingdom and in Ghana could not attain that honour even though by his conduct and deeds he passed himself in the public eye as having done so. Be that as it may, President Rawlings knew and told some of us, comrades of the revolution, at whose behest he appointed Mr. Emile Short. The author and Nana Ato Dadzie know that as a fact.
I interviewed former President Rawlings in the presence of Group Captain Richard Forjoe, on the author’s narrative after the publication of Working with Rawlings. President Rawlings did not remember any decision that delegated Nana Ato Dadzie and the author to ‘source’ Mr.
Emile Short out before the referral to the CHRAJ would be made. President Rawlings did not think that that was a moral and decent thing to do as that would have amounted to fishing for an arbitrator who is supposed to be independent. In view of President Rawlings disclaimer in his lifetime, the narration by the author compromises the integrity of the work so ably undertaken by Mr. Emile Short.
The lawyers of the suspected Ministers who were referred to the CHRAJ were entitled to a full disclosure that the Commissioner had been “sourced” by Nana Ato Dadzie and Kwamena Ahwoi before the referral was made to the CHRAJ to have enabled them to ask Mr. Emile Short to have recused himself from the hearing of the referral. As things stand by the author’s belated disclosure, what is the guarantee that the content of the report of the CHRAJ was not “sourced” with Nana Ato Dadzie and the author before it was issued? I do not doubt Mr. Short’s integrity but the proper thing for him to have done if he was ‘sourced’ by Nana Ato Dadzie and the author before the referral was made to the CHRAJ was to have either refused the referral or recused himself from the hearing. After “sourcing” the Commissioner of the CHRAJ before the referral the author is able to conclude with a straight face in his book that: “The CHRAJ findings after an 11-month investigation were fairly fair.” without any remorse that he had interfered with the independence of the CHRAJ in the conduct of its constitutional mandate.
The responsibility for reading the report of the CHRAJ and writing the manuscript of the White Paper on it was delegated to me as the Deputy-Attorney General. The manuscript which was in my own handwriting before it was typed out is still somewhere in the cloud. I discussed the findings and recommendations with the Acting Attorney-General, Dr. Obed Asamoah and I called his attention to slips and omissions in the findings and recommendations. We took professional legal decisions on the findings and recommendations, including the omission by the CHRAJ in referring to the monetary worth of a reversion in a lease which was the subject matter of one of the suspects under investigation. The Government statement on the CHRAJ report was purposefully called a “White Paper” with constitutional and legal justifications for doing so.
It should be naïve to think that the Director of Legislative Drafting had the White Paper on the CHRAJ report printed in error or without legal authority. We waited for anybody who disagreed with the implications of making a White Paper on the CHRAJ report to take the Attorney-General to court and nobody did so.
There are ethical reasons why the author should have been more circumspect in writing about the referral of this matter to the CHRAJ for investigation. I am unable to discuss them for ethical and professional reasons.
Rawlings, Foreign Policy and I
The author was given the privilege by the Chairman of the PNDC and later President of Ghana, Flt. Lt. J. J. Rawlings, to act in place of the Minister of Foreign Affairs anytime the substantive minister was out of the country. As acting Minister for Foreign Affairs the author was bound by the oath of a Minister of State and the Oath of Secrecy unless excused to make public matters that came to his notice or attention when he acted in that capacity. The author, whose book is to teach future leaders the art of governance, throws caution to the wind and tells his readers to ignore the principles and convention of state secrecy governing international relations and discourse by narrating his observations in the execution of state responsibilities as an acting Foreign Minister in relation to what he calls the Liberia Project; the Sierra Leone Project; and The Gambia Project.
The salutation and first paragraph of the late Professor J. C. De Graft-Johnson, then the Head of the Department of Economics, University of Ghana’s opening address to the “Workshop On the ACP-EEC Convention of Lome” organized by the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana in January 1976 contains a summation of the agony and self-restraint every dedicated public servant must exercise in the disclosure of information that comes into his or her possession in the execution of his official duties as a public officer. The Workshop was organized by the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana which teaches undergraduate law students the importance of client-lawyer confidentiality and privilege when they eventually qualify to practice the profession of the law in Ghana. At the time of the Workshop the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana also conducted the Qualifying Certificate in Law (Q.C.L) examinations under the Legal Profession Act, 1960 (Act 32) on behalf of the General Legal Council for enrollment of lawyers on the Roll of Lawyers.
The author of Working with Rawlings uses materials and information which came into his possession in relationship of trust with the PNDC and NDC Governments without clearance from the appropriate governance apparatus. This contrasts sharply with the admonitions contained in the first paragraph of Professor J. C. de Graft-Johnson after his salutation to the workshop attendees to deserve being quoted as part of the critique of Kwamena Ahwoi’s Working with Rawlings.
Professor J. C. de Graft-Johnson stated as follows:
“Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen,
When I was invited by Mr. S. O. Gyandoh, Jnr., to deliver the Opening address in this Workshop on the ACP-EEC Relations, I found myself in some difficulty about what material I could or could not use. Even though my confidential dispatches from Brussels had been published on the orders of the former Prime Minister for limited circulation, as someone who received my Civil Service training in White Hall between 1946 and 1948, I still felt that I could not make use of any part of the published dispatches in this lecture. Second, I was not sure whether I could make use of any of the reports submitted to the N. R. C. as the Chairman of the Technical Team on Ghana and the Enlarged European Economic Community. I was however sure that I could make use of any part of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, November, 1969 anniversary address which had been vetted by the Foreign Office.”
Mr. S. O. Gyandor, Jnr., acknowledges the typical public service attitude exhibited by Professor J. C. de Graft-Johnson when he stated, inter alia, in his introduction to the Special Volume: Workshop on ACP-EEC Convention of Lome that: “From the largely non-committal opening remarks of Prof. J. C. de Graft-Johnson, …., we get a kaleidoscopic
spectrum of the essential perspectives from which the Lome Convention may be intelligently and usefully be viewed.”
The manner the late Professor J. C. de Graft-John refused to be baited by the temptation put in his path to disclose confidential state matters in which he participated or came to his attention in the discharge of his duties as a public officer is the moral standard required of all public officers unless they are expressly permitted by law to do so. The philosophy of research, and research methods also teaches that an ethical researcher or scholar must not use materials that are privileged without obtaining the necessary permission to do so. The insistence that researchers and scholars must obtain the informed consent of subjects if they intend to use conversations or interactions with them for purposes of publications are intended to protect the confidentiality of academic discourse. The author, Kwamena Ahwoi, leaves one with the impression that he has serious deficiencies in his understanding of the ethical standards required of academics and scholars with whom he pretends to form a part.
Be that as it may, the author had no right to make the derogatory comments he made at page 110 of his Working with Rawlings about the age and mannerism of Captain Valentine Esegragbo Melvine Strasser, the Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) of Sierra Leone. Is it the business of an acting Foreign Minister of Ghana to tell Sierra Leoneans who is qualified by age and mannerism to be their Head of State? Were there not more elderly citizens of Sierra Leone who served under Captain Strasser as Head of State of Sierra Leone? The author should have known that his insults were directed at all Sierra Leoneans.
The author at page 112 of his books seeks to create the erroneous impression that he was personally instrumental in Ghana seconding judges and prosecutors to The Gambia. I was Deputy-Attorney General and know, in fact, that the request for assistance with judges and prosecutors was made through the normal diplomatic channels. The Justices of the Superior Court who were seconded to The Gambia could not have done so without the knowledge and consent of the Chief Justice, and the Judicial Council of Ghana over which the Chief Justice chairs. The Attorney-General has always been a member of the Judicial Council in Ghana.
The Attorney-General’s office dealt with the secondment of Mr. Bright Akwetey from the Attorney-General’s Department. The other person the author refers to as an Assistant Special Prosecutor with the Public Tribunals was not a qualified legal practitioner to be sent to The Gambia as prosecutor in 1994. He had been held out by the author when he had oversight over the Public Tribunal system and held himself out as having been enrolled on the Roll of Lawyers in Ghana. The Ghana School of Law confirmed in writing to me that he had been unsuccessful in his bar exams a number of times and had not been enrolled as a lawyer. I threatened to prosecute him for impersonation. Like the author, he held a University of Ghana
LL. B degree but could not make the grade at the Q. C. L examinations for enrolment at the time he worked under the author with the Public Tribunal system. He purged his sins and I will not for ethical reasons name him.
Mr. Justice J. B. Akamba was a Justice of the High Court, (and not of the Attorney General’s Department as claimed by the author), at the time he was released by the Judicial Council on secondment to assist the Government of The Gambia as Director of Public Prosecutions. He later became the Attorney-General of The Gambia, and a Justice of the Court of Appeal of The Gambia before he returned to Ghana. During his sojourn in The Gambia he was elevated by the Government of Ghana to the Court of Appeal in 1995. Somehow, he remained in The Gambia and was not sworn into office as a Justice of Appeal in Ghana. Consequently, upon his return from The Gambia after the change in regime in 2001, instead of being sworn into the Court of Appeal he was punitively posted to the Northern Region as a Justice of the High Court. It took some time for the injustice to be ratified for him to be sworn into the Court of Appeal.
The highest court in The Gambia, at the time it requested for judicial assistance from Ghana, was The Gambian Court of Appeal. Mr. Justice G. R. M. Francois was a Justice of the Supreme Court of Ghana at the time he went to The Gambia and not a Justice of the Court of Appeal of Ghana as stated by the author. He retired from the Supreme Court of Ghana on 4 August 1994. Mrs. Justice Akoto Bamfo was released in 1994 to The Gambia on secondment for two years as Chairperson of the Assets Commission. She returned and was appointed a Justice of the Court of Appeal in 1999, where she remained until she was elevated to the Supreme Court in 2009. The narrative contained in the author’s Working with Rawlings is, therefore, either misleading or fabricated as usual, and unbecoming of any person professing to be a professor of law.
It is in the public interest that the foregoing misrepresentations and/or fabrications of the factual data upon which the author, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, wrote his book are demonstrated to be deficient in standards of scholarly research and content analysis of the materials upon which he wrote Working with Rawlings.
Rawlings and Vice President Arkaah: An Uneasy Presidential Relationship
The author is either lying as to the genesis of the Rawlings and Vice President Kow Nkensen Arkaah relationship and the eventual open disagreement and conflict or he is as usual bent on fabricating his research data or twisting his memory to achieve a predetermined conclusion. I stated in my immediate past critique of the author’s Working with Rawlings that:
“The danger the PNDC faced by January 1991 was not whether to have a non-partisan or a partisan democratic constitutional order. The hidden controversy and danger was whether or not Chairman Rawlings should just hand over power to a chosen political party and walk away.”
I also stated that the author chose to forget the fact that the first steps to form or back a political party was initiated by Captain Kojo Tsikata which was the genesis of the inter-group conflict between the Captain Tsikata faction and the 31 December Revolution Rawlings’ faction which will manifest in the NDC Government after the demise of the PNDC on 7 January1993. I concluded the analysis with the statement that:
“After the National Democratic Congress was born it became clear that Chairman Rawlings was going to be its candidate for the 1992 Presidential elections. The National Convention Party (NCP) of Captain Kojo Tsikata was to nominate a Vice Presidential candidate. Hon. Kwaku Boateng who had expected the PNDC to handover to the National Convention Party of Captain Kojo Tsikata refused to be Chairman Rawlings’ running mate from the NCP. In his place the NCP substituted Mr. Kow Nkensen Arkaah as Chairman Rawlings’ running mate.”
Kow Nkensen Arkaah’s emergence as the leader of Captain Kojo Tsikata’s NCP and running mate to President Rawlings under the banner of the NDC was an alliance of convenience which was bound to implode sooner than later. The author strains the facts when he states that: “…. Arkaah’s Party, the National Convention Party (NCP), had earlier merged with the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) to form the Peoples Convention Party (PCP).” What happened was that having failed to hand over the reins of government from the PNDC to the NCP as was covertly planned, the NCP which was formed at the Bluegate under the supervision of Captain Kojo Tsikata eventually went back home by merging with the People’s Convention Party (PCP) in 1996 and became the reformed Convention People’s Party. Kwamena Ahwoi does not even know the verifiable fact that it was the NCP and the PCP that merged in 1996 to become the CPP.
The “Discovery” of Professor Mills
The question that comes to mind when one reads the author’s narration of the processes leading to his discovery of Professor Mills is whether he had the informed consent of Professor George Benneh and Professor Samuel Kwasi Agyepong to use the confidential interaction between them and the Government for his book?
What stands out from the author’s narration of his discovery of Professor Mills is that the author’s brother, Ato Ahwoi and him were the architects of finding a running mate for President Rawlings for the 1996 elections. Harry Sawyerr, who first lamented about the inability of Professor Mills to be the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana at a Cabinet meeting, Dr. Obed Asamoah who bought into the author’s suggestion of Professor Mills as a possible candidate and convinced President Rawlings of the suitability of Professor Mills, and President Rawlings’ decision to accept Professor Mills to be his running mate were relegated to the central role of the Ahwoi brothers in the process.
When one examines and analyzes the author’s Working with Rawlings as a whole one does not escape the conclusion that the author perceived himself and his elder brother as owning the nomination of Professor Mills as the running mate of President Rawlings for the NDC’s 1996 elections and its success. From the point where President Rawlings accepted Professor Mills as his running mate for the 1996 elections the Ahwoi brothers from the author’s narrative became the puppet masters of Professor Mills.
Professor Mills was a humble and self-effacing gentlemen who worked with the Government as the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Department and was known to President Rawlings prior to being proposed for nomination as his running mate. He scarcely would hurt a fly and was, therefore, a perfect fit to be President Rawlings running mate. He trusted friends to a fault. As the author writes in relation to Professor Mills reaction to a sea of people who had been mobilized to welcome him at the Tamale airport:
‘This was Professor Mills’ political baptism of fire and in his politically naivete he asked me: “Is something happening in Tamale today? Why are there so many people at the Airport?’ When I told him that they were there to welcome him, he slowly muttered: “Oh my God! What have I let myself into?’’’.
President Rawlings had only one term left if he won the 1996 election which the NDC was confident he was going to win whosoever became his running mate. The transition to an NDC Government in the future without Rawlings begun with the nomination of the Professor Mills as Rawlings’ running mate. The Ahwois hedged their bets as the main pillars behind Professor Mills’ Vice Presidency and his future. Rawlings’ trust for his comrades blinded him from seeing the double agency in the behaviour of the Ahwois. The “Ahwoi Capture” of Professor Mills that will affect and influence the future relationship between President Rawlings and Professor Mills had begun.
Campaigning with Professor Mills and a Second Rawlings Victory
The victory of the Progressive Alliance of NDC, Egle Party and the Democratic People’s Party at the 1996 elections was indeed “won on the back of very hard work” by the collective efforts of the Progressive Alliance. Every incumbent government always carries baggage from the moral and unlawful conduct of its political appointees and operatives. The author had himself referred to the referral of the Government’s appointees to the CHRAJ for investigations and the outcome. And indeed: “The campaign was particularly gruesome” because having lost the previous presidential elections to the Progressive Alliance, the revived opposition was determined to win the election by hook or crook. But at all times the integrity and forthrightness of President Rawlings in the management of the affairs of the nation endeared him to the vast majority of Ghanaians such that he could easily win any elections on his own steam.
The author fails, as the academic and scholar he claims to be, to assign any qualitative or quantitative research evidence to support his sweeping assertion that: “….The publication of The Stolen Verdict by the NPP in 1993, as well as their other extra-parliamentary activities such as the 1995 Ku Me Preko demonstration, and the several Supreme Court cases they had won, including New Patriotic Party v. Inspector General of Police [1993-1994] 2 GLR 459 (the Public Demonstrations case), New Patriotic Party v. Attorney General [1993-1994] 2 GLR 35 (the 31st December Holiday case) and New Patriotic Party v. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation [1993-1994] 2 GLR 354 (the Fair Opportunity for All Political Parties case), had convinced their supporters that they did not lose the 1992 presidential elections.” (see page 125 of Working with Rawlings).
The only anecdotal opinion the author purports to produce to support his assertion is that:
“Because all these cases were defended by the Attorney-General, an NDC appointee, the NPP rank and file appeared to have formed the view that the NDC Government has lost the cases. NPP supporters therefore believed that with a little more effort they could win the 1996 presidential election. Thus they entered the 1996 campaign with equal, if not more, determination and vigour.”
The 1992 presidential election was not lost by the New Patriotic Party by a decision of the Supreme Court to have any correlation with winning the cases referred to by the author in Court. But the axiom underpinning the author’s bald contention is that between the assumption of office of the President on 7 January 1993 and the presidential election on 6 December 1996 the Attorney-General lost several cases giving rise to the NPP rank and file appearing to form the view that the NDC Government lost those cases and therefore they could win the 1996 elections with little efforts. The contention by Kwamena Ahwoi, the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development in the NDC government is, simply not borne out by the facts and decided cases. The three cases the author, Kwamena Ahwoi, referred to were decided between 23 July 1993 and 29 December 1993.
A fourth case was decided by the Supreme Court against the Government around this period on 16 September 1993 in New Patriotic Party v The Electoral Commission and Another
[1993-94] 1 GLR 124. This case involved a government decision taken upon the advice of the author as the Minister for Local Government for the election of district chief executives provided by Article 242 of the Constitution under the provisions of the Local Government Law, 1988 (PNDCL 207) as amended by the Local Government (Amendment) (No 3) Law, 1992 (PNDCL 272) and the Local Government (Amendment) Law, 1993 (PNDCL 306). The Supreme Court decided that the Assemblies provided for under Article 242 of the Constitution were different entities in character, composition, and terms from those under PNDCL 207 and upheld the Plaintiff’s claim. There were no other cases in the Supreme Court in which the New Patriotic Party won judgment against the Republic between January 1993 and the 6 December 1996 presidential election to constitute “the several Supreme Court cases they won” as stated by Kwamena Ahwoi and quoted hereinbefore.
Lawyers advocating Constitutional cases before the Supreme Court are primarily officers of the Court to assist the Supreme Court to arrive at a fair and impartial interpretation of the Constitution and the law. The Attorney General does not advocate cases in the Court as a politician but as a lawyer bound by the ethics of the legal profession in which he has been enrolled to practice law. The same obligation is placed on other lawyers advocating cases before any court. The ordinary person in the street understands that it is the Court rather than the lawyers appearing in a suit who decide the outcome of the case. It is therefore strange that the author will assert without proof that because the Republic lost constitutional cases in the Supreme Court, NPP supporters believed that with little more effort they could win the 1996 presidential election against the NDC.
An examination of the four cases decided by the Supreme Court in favour of the NPP as the plaintiff in 1993 will assist an understanding of their impact on the fortunes of the NDC in the 1996 presidential election. The New Patriotic Party v. Inspector General of Police [1993-1994] 2 GLR 459 (the Public Demonstrations case), decided on 30 November 1993, involved a declaration that Sections 7, 8, 12(a) and 13 of the Public Order Decree, 1972 (NRCD 68) which gave the Minister for the Interior certain powers in relation to public order are inconsistent with and a contravention of the 1992 Constitution, especially Article 21(1((d) and therefore null, void, and unenforceable. The law that was challenged was not a PNDC Law. It had survived the 1979 Third Republican Constitution into the Fourth Republic as an existing law under Article 11 of the 1992 Constitution. Section 30 of the Transitional Provisions of the 1992 Constitution empowered the first President within twelve months after assuming office as President, by constitutional instrument, to make such provision as may appear necessary for repealing, modifying, adding to, or adapting any law to bring it into accord with the provisions of the Constitution or otherwise give effect to the Constitution. The disagreements giving rise to the commencement of this action in the court took place in February 1993, barely two months after the coming into force of the Constitution.
The exercise of discretion by the police under Section 8 of NRCD 68 which gave rise to the application to the Supreme Court to interpret and enforce the provisions of Article 21(1)(d) of the 1992 Constitution took place in Sekondi in the Western Region and Kyebi in the Eastern Region in February 1993, less than two months after the assumption of office of the President. The Supreme Court of seven justices unanimously struck down the provisions of Sections 7, 8, 12(a) and 13(a) of NRCD 68 as being unconstitutional. The Chief Justice, Mr. Justice Archer, whose appointment the opponents of the PNDC had opposed concurred with the lead judgment of Mr. Justice Charles Hayfron-Benjamin and recommended that: “Finally, I would urge the whole of NRDC 68 should be reviewed and modernized in its entirety to enable the Police Service to carry out its duties effectively without contravening any provision in our current Constitution, 1992.” President Rawlings oversaw the enactment of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491) which he assented to on 30 December 1994 that governs the subject matter to date.
I was the Deputy Attorney-General who represented the Republic in the Supreme Court and I have no regrets for performing my duties as an officer of the Court in putting forward the strenuous arguments made to the Court that assisted in the outcome of the decision. I was also responsible for supervising the Legislative Drafting Division in the preparation and finalization of the Public Order Bill, 1994 submitted by the Minister for the Interior which was eventually enacted as the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 491) long before the 1996 elections took place. It is difficult to understand how the outcome of this case and the passage of the Public Order Act, 1994 could give the perception to supporters of the NPP that with little effort they could win the 1996 presidential election.
New Patriotic Party v. Attorney General [1993-1994] 2 GLR 35 (the 31st December Holiday case) decided on 29 December 1993 (with reasons reserved and delivered on 8 March 1994) decided that the anniversary of the 31 December Revolution could not be celebrated as a public holiday and with public funds. The judgment did not abolish the celebration of 31 December Revolution. It was a narrow decision of five justices against four justices. I represented the Republic in this case as the Deputy Attorney-General. A memorandum submitted to President Rawlings by the Attorney-General’s Office under my signature advised against applying for a review of the decision. The President endorsed the advice. The anniversary of the 31 December Revolution continues to be celebrated by supporters of that revolution.
At the time this case was decided the case of Bilson v Attorney General which was challenging the constitutionality of the 4 June Revolution was also pending. In my memorandum on the 31 December Holiday case to the President which I naively and regrettably copied to Mr. P. V. Obeng, the Presidential Adviser, I stated reasons for the expectation that the Republic could prevail in the 4 June Revolution Holiday case to negate the effect of the 31 December Holiday case. The memorandum was leaked to the other side who promptly applied and withdrew the case from the Supreme Court in spite of protestations from the Republic to have the case decided on the merits because the pleadings had closed and the case was ripe for judgment. This explains why the NPP and its surrogates never contested the constitutionality of June 4 as a public holiday again during the tenure of the President Rawlings. The NPP had to enact the Public Holidays Act, 2001 (Act 601) to remove the celebration of June 4 as a public holiday. It received presidential assent and was gazette the same day, on 1 June 2001.
New Patriotic Party v. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation [1993-1994] 2 GLR 354. The Court gave its ruling with accompanying orders in this case on 22 July 1993 and reserved its reasons to a later date. The Court gave its reasons on 30 November 1993. The defendant having refused the plaintiff’s application to be given time on the radio and television to also express its views on the 1993 budget brought an action against the defendant for (a) a declaration that under Articles 55(1) and 163 of the Constitution, 1992, the defendant, a state-owned media, had a duty to allow the plaintiff fair opportunity and facilities to present its views on the budget especially as those views diverged from those of the government or of the National Democratic Congress, the party forming the government and which sponsored the appearance of the Finance Minister; and (b) an order directing the defendant to afford the plaintiff equal time on television to present its views on the 1993 budget. The Supreme Court granted the reliefs sought by the plaintiff. The defendant obeyed the order of the Court and the judgment has since inured to the benefit of all political parties under the 1992 Constitution.
The fourth case decided by the Supreme Court on 16 September 1993 was New Patriotic Party v The Electoral Commission and Another [1993-94] 1 GLR 124 invalidating the proposed election of district chief executives of district assemblies under PNDCL 207 after the coming into force of Article 242 of the Constitution – already referred to and examined above. As a result of that judgment, the government announced the next day, 17 September 1993, that the same nominees had been appointed District Secretaries under Section 21(1) of PNDCL 207. The Plaintiff commenced action in New Patriotic Party v Rawlings and Another [1993-94] 2 GLR 193 against the President and the Attorney General for a declaration of inconsistency and contravention of specified provisions of the Constitution. The Court dismissed the plaintiff’s action.
I have carefully gone through the Ghana Law Reports, the Supreme Court of Ghana Law Reports and the unreported Supreme Court decisions for the period January 1993 and 6 December 1996. The facts do not bear out the sweeping allegation of “the several Supreme Court cases they [NPP] had won” in 1993 or between 1993 and 1996 and “convinced their supporters that they did not lose the 1992 presidential elections” and “…. therefore believed that with a little more effort they could win the 1996 presidential election.”
The other case the NPP brought as plaintiff directly against the Attorney General as representing the Republic of Ghana during the period was New Patriotic Party and Another v Electoral Commission: Tehn-Addy v Attorney-General and Another [1995-96] 1 GLR 187, decided by the Supreme Court on 16 July 1996. The NPP was an interested party with the Attorney General in Ekwam v Pianim (No 2) [1996-97] SCGLR 120, decided on 2 April 1996 and Ekwam v Pianim (No 3) [1996-97] SCGLR 431, (a review application by Mr. Pianim on his eligibility to contest the NPP presidential primaries as a presidential candidate for the NPP for the 1996 presidential election) decided on 10 July 1996. Ghana Bar Association v Attorney General, Supreme Court, 7 February 1995, unreported, the Republic v Mensa-Bonsu and Others: Ex Parte Attorney-General [1995-96] 1 GLR 377, decided on 21 February 1995, and Ghana Bar Association & Justice Abban v Attorney General, [1995-96] 1 GLR 598 also decided by Supreme Court, on 5 December 1995, were other cases the NPP had vested interest in and were conducted by the core of the usual NPP lawyers as part of the opposition’s lawfare against the Government within the period under review. The Supreme Court gave judgment for the Republic in all the above cases.
The results of these cases and the remedial actions taken by the Government of President Rawlings to cure the defects pointed out by the Court, rather than affecting the fortunes of President Rawlings in the 1996 elections demonstrated his understanding of democratic governance, the rule of law and constitutionalism. After President Rawlings’ tenure as President three legal practitioners became Presidents of Ghana, one of whom is the incumbent. History will, hopefully, absolve President Rawlings as having respected the Constitution, democracy, and the rule of law better than any of his successors, who were qualified legal practitioners in Ghana. President Jerry John Rawlings never packed the Supreme Court to obtain a favorable judgment in any review application to the Supreme Court as other Presidents who were qualified legal practitioners in Ghana have done under the Constitution.
Rawlings, Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman and the Radio Gold interview
But our dear author and scholar, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, was out to fabricate the data for his predetermined conclusions based on his role in the nomination of Professor Mills as running mate to President Rawlings and his contribution to the Rawlings/Mills victory in 1996 through ‘…. the “mother of all interviews” granted to Radio Gold by Rawlings, which
was conducted by one of the greatest interviewers of all time, Dr. (now Professor) Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman.’
The author unscrupulously reduces the “victory won on the back of very hard work” and a particularly gruesome campaign to his self-conceited involvement in orchestrating the “mother of all interviews” conducted by “one of the greatest interviewers of all time” by stating without an iota of proof that: “The next day, the media were full of praise for President Rawlings and his performance. His rating soared and we entered the 1996 presidential election confident that Rawlings and the NDC would win.”
The 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections were won on the back of the very hard work of President Rawlings himself and his dear wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, as always, the national, regional, constituency, branch and unit executives of the Progressive Alliance including Members of Parliament, Ministers of State, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives, the 31 December Women’s Movement, Cadres of the 31 December Revolution and other political operatives of the government. It is an insult to the gruesome and arduous work contributed by all these gallant people for their contributions towards the victory of the Progressive Alliance at the 1996 elections to be attributed to one single interview which could not have been heard by the vast majority of voters throughout the country – Radio Gold did not have nationwide coverage. Speaking for myself, I never listened to the “mother of all interviews” or heard about it until I read of it in Working with Rawlings.
One would fathom that if the author had any statistical data for his conclusions on the “mother of all interviews” he would not have failed to refer to them or quote them to support his thesis. In my interaction with former President Rawlings on “the mother of all interviews” after the publication of the author’s Working with Rawlings he felt deeply insulted that the success of the 1996 elections had been stolen by the author and attributed to one particular interview instead of the people of Ghana who placed their trust in his government and voted for the Progressive Alliance.
Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman reviewed and edited Working with Rawlings and also wrote the foreword to the book without a disclaimer. I have already written and published a critique of some aspects of this narrative of the author and need not repeat them. Suffice it to say that by the time Working with Rawlings was published in or about July 2020, Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, the Radio Gold surrogate for the “mother of all interviews” had been nominated the running mate to former President John Dramani Mahama for the 2020 presidential election. Ironically, Kwamena Ahwoi’s “one of the greatest interviewers of all time”, Professor Naana Jane Opoku-Agyeman, could not use her dexterity and skills for her side to win the 2020 presidential election.
Martin A. B. K. Amidu