Friday, August 30, 2013

Isn't Sir John Guilty Of Another Contempt?

Feature Article, by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

In fact, if the NPP were to properly learn the lessons of their electoral defeat, Ghana's elections will never be the same again. The “campaign” for votes through “trokosi” and “cow herd” insults, as well as the “we Akans” and “all die be die” would all disappear! Elections would be festive, entertaining, and there would be less tension. It is about time that things change for the better. Peace-loving Ghanaians are sick and tired of the fact that each time Ghana is going into elections, one feels as though our nation is preparing for a civil war. That is why it is very important to help them to learn their lessons. One way of doing so ought to be a zero tolerance for the irresponsible utterances from their elected officers. We need, as a people, to make such reckless comments a thing of the past. If we want peace to reign in Ghana, these are the little things we must pay attention to.

I was indeed very surprised to read today, Friday, 30th August, 2013, just a day after the Supreme Court had delivered their verdict dismissing the Akufo-Addo-led petition, the irresponsible utterances are beginning to show their ugly heads, once more. Newspaper reports indicate that the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, "has insinuated that President John Mahama and the vice president may have known the election petition verdict ahead of the pronouncement by the Supreme Court on Thursday." See: Sir John: Why did Mahama wear white on judgment day? | General News 2013-08-30 Source:,

Sir John needs to be reminded that he could be hauled again before the court to give "further and better particulars" regarding the insinuation "that President John Mahama and the vice president may have known the election petition verdict ahead of the pronouncement by the Supreme Court on Thursday," simply because they were both dressed in white clothes before the verdict was announced! Sir John told XYZ Breakfast Show host Moro Awudu on Friday August 30, 2013 that: “He knows best what went into all this. Indeed it amazes me that he and his vice president and all the people around him wore white even in the morning before the verdict came”. Sir John, therefore, wondered if the president and the governing National Democratic Congress were privy to some information about the verdict which the rest of the country did not know.

This is not just nonsensical. This is bad behaviour especially coming from someone who has been made to sign a bond of good behaviour! Since "you and I were not there" when the Justices of the Supreme Court arrived at their judgements, there is a strong inference that the insinuation of Sir John is a direct attack on the integrity of the Justices of the Supreme Court who are the only people supposed to keep custody of their judgement. The best way to maintain the peace and stability of Ghana does not include tolerating bad behaviour from someone who is already under judicial bond to behave himself! The statement is particularly unfortunate, since the only people who could have supposedly divulged such information to the Presidency would have to be the Justices of the Supreme Court! Since such an act would clearly be deemed wrong by any right thinking Ghanaian, is Sir John not by this assertion, directly or indirectly impugning the integrity of the Justices of the Supreme Court?

Is he not frontally attempting to bring the integrity of the Justices of Supreme Court into disrepute? Sir John is no ordinary citizen of the Ghana. Even ordinary voters are supposed to be at least, eighteen years old and of a sound mind! Sir John is not only an elderly person, he is also the General Secretary of the main Opposition party. He is also a lawyer who ought to know better! Of all the troubles our nation is facing, must this be the focus of the General Secretary of the main Opposition party? What is even most surprising about these utterances is that he has just been convicted of contempt and was supposed to have signed a bond of good behaviour or risk a jail sentence of six months! During his contempt hearing, the President of the panel of Judges expressed some uncertainty about the contrite nature of Sir John when he appeared before them. It was a gesture to peace and tranquillity that Sir John was given the benefit of the doubt and a chance to be of good behaviour.

I was not sure myself if such an apparently incorrigible hard-core adult delinquent of that nature could rise to the occasion, but I understood the wisdom of the court decision. After reading Sir John's latest outbursts, I think otherwise. The whip must crack. That seems to be the only language people like this understand. It looks as though Sir John will never change for the better. My greatest fear is that if he gets off the hook, he would quickly revert to his bad old ways. As one commentator put it, "He has said all manner of things including saying that the President had a hand in the accident that the running mate had up north. Indeed his wise running make came out boldly debunking this claim of this demented and schizophrenic wreck." What makes this particularly annoying is the fact that Sir John asked NPP supporters to wear white even before the Electoral Commission had finished tallying the 2012 electoral results!

For somebody who sought to usurp the power of the Electoral Commissioner by pre-emptively announcing to the supporters of NPP to wear white to church on Sunday even before all the results were for the 2012 election were in”, commented Che on Ghanaweb, “Sir John must be living in a fool's paradise for reading all sorts of imports into the President and his vice wearing white while waiting for the results of the NPP court petition. There is nothing wrong with one having a positive anticipatory result of an awaited pronouncement. In this case the President and his vice were right while sir John's forecast with respect to the 2012 elections were foolishly wrong. Go figure who should be judging the other. Some kind of jealous posture by a misguided mind like that of Sir John.” (Comment: LISTEN TO THE IDIOT, Author: CHE, Date: 2013-08-30 10:03:25, Comment to: Sir John: Why did Mahama wear white on judgment day).

The Gas wear white to mourn; how about that?” Nana Ansah also wrote as a comment, “Waving a white flag means accepting defeat world wide. So for this illiterate Kokoase champion to make such a fallacious statement is no wonder because he is a Kokoase Krakye.” (Nana Ansah, Date: 2013-08-30 08:59:10, Comment to: WHY DID NPP WEAR BLACK?) Another commentator wrote: “But NPP supporters were also dressed in white waiting at the party headquarters. did they know something we did not also know?” (Comment: Nonsense, Author: Sally, UK, Date: 2013-08-30 08:27:51, Comment to: Why did Mahama wear white on judgment day).

It must be instructive that a Law lecturer at the GIMPA Law School, Ernest Kofi Abotsi says one can still fall into the trap of contempt of court even after the judgement on the election petition has been delivered. He said “the fact that the court’s judgement has ended with the slamming of the gavel does not imply that the jurisdiction of the court” to bring contempt proceedings is ousted. Any person who makes comments on the judgment which the court considers scandalous and injurious to its reputation can be cited for contempt and punished, he said. “When the court speaks and you say things about the court that can be deemed to be scandalizing of the court, or deemed intentional of bringing the administration of justice into disrepute, actually this is the time, in my opinion, when contempt of court may be looming large,” Mr. Abotsi stated. He was a panelist on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show discussing the verdict of the Supreme Court on the election petition. (See: Watch! You can still be in contempt after judgment – Law lecturer | Local News,|Malik Abass Daabu, August 29, 2013, 12:50 GMT)

Perhaps the best and the most prophetic comment on this was: “You wait they will catch him again.” - Author: SIMPLY RUTHLESS, Date: 2013-08-30 09:23:47, Comment to: WHY DID NPP WEAR BLACK?
Comment: “He thinks Atuguba is gone!”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NPP Must Learn To Say “Sorry”!


Feature Article, by Nana Akyea Mensah, The Odikro.

The NPP cannot eat their cakes and have them at the same time. In raising an issue that they considered fundamental, to which lawyers for the respondents and the court agreed were very important, as they impugn the credibility of the court. After going to town attacking the credibility of the court, they are seeking to leave a potentially explosive matter legally untested and leaving a room for the much talked-about insurgency against the people of Ghana. Even though the NPP does not seem to have the stomach to carry through their objections to the composition of the panel, they are still publicly claiming that they stand by their concerns, and that they “have not changed”.
Some of us thought that the NPP was going to make sure that the right things are done, from the very beginning of this trial to the very end. At least, that was the impression some of us got when the NPP failed presidential candidate, Nana Akufo-Addo announced at a Press Conference, among other things, that:
“We have now put our case before the court, and are also putting the case before you, the people of Ghana. We leave it for the court to judge the merits. But once again, the NPP, through the petitioners in this case, is seeking to deepen our democracy by strengthening the institutions that are mandated by our Constitution to superintend the electoral process: (1) by ensuring that the Electoral Commission is accountable to the people of Ghana, and (2) the Supreme Court is seen by all as the ultimate arbiter of electoral grievances and disputes.” [1]
How can the Supreme Court be “seen by all as the ultimate arbiter of electoral grievances and disputes”, when this same NPP is making serious allegations against its integrity, and at the same time insisting that even though those concerns “have not changed”, they have not got the time to address them, as they are more concerned with the court concentrating on their task of declaring Nana Akufo-Addo as the President of Ghana in an “expeditious” manner? Is it possible to make wild accusations and refuse to substantiate simply because one has not got the time? Even thought the petitioners have expressed the intention not to pursue the objection to the composition of the court, a member of the NPP legal team, Madam Gloria Akuffo maintains publicly that the concerns expressed by the NPP respective to a particular judge “have not changed”. [2]
So, if those concerns “have not changed”, what are those concerns? According to Ms Gloria Akuffo, it was for the purpose of maintaining the sanctity of the judiciary that the NPP requested an in-camera hearing of its objections to the panel of judges hearing the NDC's joinder application. "It is for the purpose of strengthening our democracy that we thought we should adopt the be heard in-camera; it is for the stability of this country; it is for the security of this country; it s to maintain the integrity and respect for the judiciary. But if the court - they are the final arbiters - ...think that having disclosed the nature of our objection we should still bring it formally we will respect the court's decision,” she said. [3]

Is it not simply amazing that the NPP insists that their concerns which involve serious issues such as “the security of this country”, “maintaining the sanctity of the Judiciary”, “strengthening our democracy”, “to maintain the integrity and respect for the judiciary.”, no longer matter? And that what matters is simply “an expeditious determination of the petition” in order to make Mr. Akufo-Addo, the President of Ghana, as quickly as possible? Is the NPP trying to tell Ghanaians and the rest of the world that our Judiciary has nothing else to address, even where its own integrity is at stake, other than declaring Nana Akufo-Addo as the President of Ghana? Apparently, the President-at-all-costs, Nana Akufo-Addo can close his eyes to any principle of fairness, and moral scruple, rule of law, any arithmetic, any judge, any democratically elected President, who seems to stand in the way!

What the NPP is telling us is that they care less about their much vaunted “the security of the state”, “the stability of this country”, “the sanctity of the Judiciary”, etc., so far as Nana Akufo-Addo is declared President by the Supreme Court! Otherwise, they would have taken the time to address those issues, especially as they claim publicly that those concerns have not changed. I fully agree with the views of Mr Kofi Abotsi, who observed on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile Saturday, that the practice of raising objection to a panel member is a regular exercise in the law courts. And that the main problem however is that the party could have exercised some sober reflection on the matter, before raising an objection:

“What might have changed?” he questioned: “Because you have created a scenario that has been discussed and suddenly there has been a withdrawal, assuming the relationship involved that is being discussed, the relationship hasn’t changed; assuming that there are some serious evidences that have been gotten in respect of that judge, which fundamentally prejudices him as a judge sitting in respect of this matter, has that fundamental scenario changed? I think if the status quo remains then it means that there are even more questions why in the light of status quo you would want to proceed while you feel very uncomfortable with that Judge, and what the effect might be if that judge rise to judgement you find fundamentally problematic in the light of facts that have not been disposed? So clearly there are serious perceptual issues that might have been created, and I think that is what may affect the issue of withdrawal.” [4]

I find it very alarming that the NPP claims it insists on their objections raised, even though they have no wish to contest the case, no matter how important this might be. Is this case going to proceed with the NPP hinting at unsubstantiated objections to the composition of the court, even though their concerns “have not changed”? It makes me wonder how a case that was specifically adjourned with a court order to file a motion, issued after the lawyers for the New Patriotic Party protested the composition of the court, can now go ahead on the grounds of “an expeditious determination of the petition”, despite the seriousness of their objections, most especially considering fact that they claim to be still standing by those concerns?

They argued that the composition of the court, presided over by Justice Atuguba, is skewed against them. Nothing has changed. They still insist they are right to impugn the credibility and integrity of the Supreme Court. There are nine Supreme Court judges sitting on the case. NPP was expected to file a motion to state their case. After storming out of court screaming furiously that they were going to work on their motion, all that came out was a letter declaring an intent “not to pursue the matter”. What does that mean? This is even worse than a simple inability to substantiate a case of defamation. Is the NPP trying to tell the court, they are incapable of executing their order to file a petition, even though they still believe that the composition of the court, presided over by Justice Atuguba, is skewed against them?

Is it a way of saying, “My Lords, you are biased, we insist on that, but carry on judging because we are in a hurry, and we have no time to substantiate our wild allegations!”? Where did they acquire their sense of decency and this type of arrogance? It is very alarming that instead of pursuing their motion in court, the NPP has resorted to media propaganda aimed at undermining the credibility of the Panel of Judges, especially Justice William Atuguba. Only today, Tuesday, 15 January 2013, a group calling itself Militant Patriots of Ghana (MPs) issued a statement which stated among others:

“We, of the Militant Patriots of Ghana (MPs) have been watching with unease the recent turn of events at the Supreme Court where a judge, Justice William Atuguba made comments which can only be described as highly reckless and prejudicial. By these comments, the said judge has left himself no other alternative than to recuse himself from the case involving Nana Akufo-Addo and others v John Mahama and EC. We are confident that, with the benefit of hindsight, Justice William Atuguba himself will have come to the conclusion that his extra-ordinary outburst was ill-conceived, misleading and a serious error of judgement. In that vein he therefore cannot continue to serve as a judge on this matter. If he has any iota of conscience left, then he should recuse himself. The statement that “this country is solid but is breaking down because principles are being chopped down… This is not good” is in bad taste. Such definitive, conclusive and judgmental statements are normally reserved for end of trials and not at the beginning of trials. How can Justice Atuguba serve as a judge in the light of such definitive statements? We find this as a rather highly extra-ordinary turn of events.” [5]

These are not light accusations to be made at the highest court in the land, and to recklessly raise them in court, and claim a lot of interest in its pursuit, whilst insisting on it is the most perfidious thing any plaintiff can do to the stability, and peace of this country, as well as to our Supreme Court. It is not like the sharing of state lands among NPP functionaries and leading members, where one can withdraw without any repercussions. The arguments they advanced cited grave issues and concerns which, according to them, have not even changed, yet they want to brush these fundamental issues aside, and proceed with a judgement! Is it a way of engineering a window of escape into mayhem, death and destruction, should the judgement go against the NPP? They must be made to formerly withdraw and apologize for the attempt to smear the court, or ordered to proceed with that motion!

Withdrawing the allegations and rendering unqualified apologies is something the NPP ought to have done on its own without even being told to do so by others. The reason is simple. It even has a name. It is called “good manners”. You can not accuse someone of murder and then turn around to arrogantly say you have no time to present the evidence when ordered by a competent court to do so! What makes this even worse is that far from an apology, they still insist their concerns have not changed, so they are even unable to render sincere apologies! As Nana Ato Dadzie recently pointed out, an apology is required, most especially after the General Secretary of the NPP, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, had threatened to expose the judge they objected to, which the NDC have speculated to be Mr William Atuguba, with ‘more challenging things’. According to him, the “horrendous” statements made by Mr Owusu Afriyie, moment after the objection was raised in court, should as well be condemned.

Nana Ato Dadzie's observation that the procedures used by the NPP to raise the objection and rescinding it were wrong, makes perfect sense. “You will have to ask the registrar, by way of a letter, to have the court sit and then you bring a formal application withdrawing your objection... what happens to the written order? There must be record that the written order itself has been revoked” How does the court revoke the order when the NPP maintains it still stands by those accusations? I hope they receive a good dressing by the Supreme Court for such an unacceptable behaviour, which contributes more as a threat to the sanctity and the integrity of the Judiciary than their perceived concerns!

I just learned that Nana Ato Dadzie, a counsel member of the NDC that is seeking to join the petition, speaking on Joy FM’s news analysis programme Newsfile contended: “You accused a panel of likelihood of bias and you don’t name the person, you put all nine judges in a problematic position…into disrepute”, and so following the order of the court asking the NPP to file a motion, the proper thing to do, if they seek to withdraw their motion, is to go back to the Lords to to render unqualified apologies to judges at the Supreme Court, especially Justice William Atuguba, for embarking on an action that sought to injure the integrity of the panel to hear the NPP’s petition against the 2012 election results.

“If you’ve changed your mind, the proper thing to do is to go before the nine judges and say, Lord we are on our kneels, we apologize… That is the more honourable thing to do... All the nine judges, particularly Justice Atuguba and the people of this country are entitled to an unqualified apology from the legal team that went to make some allegations of impropriety against the judges to frustrate and delay this trial,” he insisted. [6]

I also like the way a commentator on Ghanaweb, General de Gaule put it: “Their concerns have not been addressed so how can they be allowed to rescind their decision? The only legal basis for rescinding their decision is for them to accept that it was unfounded and not because they want an expeditious hearing. Justice cannot be sacrificed at the altar of expediency. They must come up with a formal objection or accept that it was unfounded.” [7]

This is a serious development and must be nipped in the bud before it germinates to cause trouble in the future. The fact that the NPP insists upon even not apologizing for what could probably amount to a contempt makes the call for apologies even more urgent. In sharp contrast to Nana Ato Dadzie's call on the NPP to apologize for the disgraceful performance, Mr. Faibille, stated that looking at the case the NPP has presented before the Supreme Court, it would totally be wrong for them to make a fuss about Mr. Dadzie’s “red herrings”. Lawyer Egbert Faibille proceeded to counsel Nana Ato Dadzie to remain “focused” instead of trying to offer moral tutorials to his political opponents:
“Nana Ato Dadzie must focus on his work for the NDC’s legal team and leave the NPP to prosecute their case. I think that when a case is before court, it is beneficial to focus on it rather than the mere shenanigans. There is no use and if the NPP doesn’t apologize, what can he do,what can Nana Ato Dadzie do?” he inquired." [8]

“More worrying is the concerns by a section of the public that the intended public education by IDEG and GBA would in lieu of enhancing public knowledge on electoral adjudication, be pouring more fire in the already polarised public discussion of the matter which has already been laid before the Supreme Court, and thereby raising fears of prejudicing the court’s proceedings.

Coming at the heels of last Thursday’s drama at the Supreme Court where the NPP had requested an In-camera hearing after questioning the credibility of a panel member only to turn down an order to state the protestation, it is suspected that the intervention by IDEG and GBA is a ploy, calculated to undermine the eventual verdict of the Court and as a way of preparing the minds of the Public to reject the outcome of the court’s decision.

Even before the dust settles on his quick u-turn from citing reasons they opposed the membership of the panel assembled by Her Lord Chief Justice, Georgina Theodora Wood to hear their election petition, the Ghana BAR Association and the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) have offered themselves to be used as their grey-knight. The two groups heavily perceived to be politically aligned to the NPP has announced their intention to embark on a series of public education under the disguise of sensitizing the public on the mandate of the Supreme Court.” [9]

The painful aspect of it all is that, they all claim to be legal luminaries! As to what they are taking Ghanaians for, only God knows! They must be made to feel so dizzy that they will think twice or more, before they present another vexatious petition and begin to abuse the Judiciary the next time around! They must either substantiate or be made to categorically withdraw, apologize to God and country, and to commit themselves to for ever hold their peace!

Forward Ever! Backwards Never!

For Life, the Environment, and Social Justice!

Nana Akyea Mensah, Ghana Steering Committee, P-AI, Social Media Campaigns | January 12, 2013 - Pan-Africanist International - a grammar of Pan-Africanism and its manners of articulation!

[1] Statement: Nana Akufo-Addo on the filing of the Supreme Court petition, From:, Published On: December 28, 2012, 12:22 GMT | Politics
[2] NPP’s U-turn raises more questions – Kofi Abotsi | Politics
[3] It is for the integrity of judiciary we wanted in-camera hearing - Gloria Akuffo, By Ghana l, General News | 10 January 2013,
[4] NPP’s U-turn raises more questions – Kofi Abotsi | Politics
[5] NPP group calls on Justice Atuguba to recuse himself, General News of Tuesday, 15 January 2013, Source: Joy Online:
[6] NPP legal team must apologise to Atuguba et al – Nana Ato Dadzie, General News of Saturday, 12 January 2013, Source: Joy Online:
[7] Comment: NO WHERE TO HIDE, Author: GENERAL DeGAULE Date: 2013-01-14 04:02:18, Comment to: Akufo-Addo’s legal weakness exposed again, General News of Monday, 14 January 2013, Source: The Herald Newspaper:
[8] NPP Won’t Take Lessons In Morality From Nana Ato Dadzie - Egbert Faibille, General News of Tuesday, 15 January 2013, Source: peacefmonline:
[9] Akufo Addo Election Fraud Intrigues, General News of Tuesday, 15 January 2013, Source: The Republic,