He is one the admirable legal minds in civil and human rights advocacy in Ghana’s media and political culture.
But his Facebook post’s reaction to the recent conviction and sentencing of the Montie Three gang who threatened to summarily execute at least five Supreme Court judges who presided over the Ramadan-Nimako cause célèbre, for returning a verdict that did not synch with the interests of the Mahama-led regime of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), leaves much to be desired (See “Invoke Article 72 to Free Montie 3 – Law Professor” Daily Post/Ghanaweb.com 7/28/16).
It leaves much to be desired because Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare disturbingly failed to explain precisely why the members of our august Supreme Court would take it upon themselves to play the unorthodox roles of prosecutor, jury and judge in the case that saw the sentencing of Messrs. Mugabe Salifu Maase, Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn to 4 months’ imprisonment at the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison, for publicly threatening the lives and safety of the judges who had ordered the deletion of the names of Ghanaian voters who had registered to vote by the use of the recently proscribed NHIS Cards in the 2012 general election, as a means of decontaminating our National Voters’ Register of foreign nationals, both resident within the country and without.
We must also quickly point out that the Apex Court did not end its pronouncement on the preceding note. Instead, the Court went further to order the prompt reregistration of all eligible voters who had used their National Health Insurance Scheme-issued cards to register to vote in Election 2012 by the use of a more authentic, or reliable, documentary proof of their Ghanaian identity and citizenship. In other words, this is not a court which is either composed of or inordinately packed with “barbarians,” as Prof. Asare would have his Facebook audience believe. If, indeed, the justices of the Supreme Court acted arbitrarily in the case of the Montie Three, as it well appears to have been the case, this is primarily because the executive, or ministerial, agent constitutionally charged with bringing such patent acts of criminality of the first order to book, to wit, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, had either willfully or inadvertently failed to do so.
This is precisely what prompted the presiding judge in the Montie Three case, Justice Sophia Akuffo, to bitterly complain that Attorney-General Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong had flagrantly failed to move in on the criminally loaded speech of the Montie Three, knowing clearly, as a trained and practicing lawyer, that the threats issued against the lives and safety of the five Supreme Court justices contained unmistakable elements of criminality. We also need to promptly underscore the fact that there are other media-monitoring organizations and institutions in the country, such as the National Media Commission (NMC) and the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), that could have promptly flagged the unabashedly pro-NDC operatives of Montie-Fm and brought the attention of the relevant coercive apparatuses or establishments to this act of irredeemable criminality on the part of Messrs. Maase, Nelson and Gunn.
Would Prof. Asare argue, for example, that in the egregious absence of the Attorney-General’s promptly stepping in to cause the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Montie Three, the justices of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, ought to have sat duck and waited for their savage abduction and summary execution, Mafia-style, as was done to the three Accra High Court judges by minions and assigns of some key operatives of the NDC’s antecedent, the Rawlings-led Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC), on June 30, 1982? Needless to say, if the convicted Montie Gang was bereft of due legal process, including the right of appeal and to be prosecuted by the legitimately designated portfolios or executive institutions, the blame must be squarely put on the doorstep of the Flagstaff House, and not our august Supreme Court.
Maybe rather than call on President John Dramani Mahama to invoke peremptory powers conferred on him by Article 72 of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, Prof. Asare ought to be calling on the Chief Resident of the Flagstaff House to demand the immediate resignation of Attorney-General Appiah-Oppong.
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 28, 2016
E-mail: [email protected]