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Opinions Sun, 16 Jun 2013

An Amissah-Arthur v. Akoto-Bamfo Mating Game?

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

The widely reported visit of Ghana's Vice-President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur to the home of one of the nine Supreme Court justices hearing the 2012 presidential election petition, ought to raise the eyebrows of any constitutional-democracy loving citizen of our beloved country (See "Amissah-Arthur Must Back Off Supreme Court Judges" Spyghana.com 6/11/13).

We are told of the foregoing by a group calling itself The Coalition of Ghanaians Against Electoral Fraud, that Mr. Amissah-Arthur's patently flagrant attempt to influence Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo took place at the Labone, Accra, residence of the latter on Saturday, May 25, 2013, between the hours of 2 and 4 O'clock in the afternoon.

We need to also quickly point out that Justice Akoto-Bamfo is a widow who has in recent times been romantically linked with the late President John Evans Atta-Mills, according to a reliable source of this writer's who once worked with the deceased Mr. Akoto-Bamfo in Ghana's real-estate business.

Anyway, as of this writing (6/11/13), yours truly had been unable to confirm the romantic angle linking Justice Akoto-Bamfo to the late president and former leader of the National Democratic Congress (NDC). What has, however, been clearly and firmly established is that among the nine members of the judicial panel hearing the Akufo-Addo/New Patriotic Party presidential election petition, Justices Akoto-Bamfo and William Atuguba, the presiding judge, have tended to decide on controversial issues brought up during the course of judicial proceedings in favor of the respondents, namely, Messrs. John Dramani Mahama, the president of Ghana; Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Ghana's electoral commissioner; and the ruling National Democratic Congress.

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Needless to say, this observation is in no way to rudely impugn the integrity of either the personality or judgment of these two fine Supreme Court jurists. What is rather disturbing here, though, of course, is the fact that as Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Ghana, Mr. Amissah-Arthur, a former governor of the Bank of Ghana, is also the ex-officio head of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) and, by both logical and functional extension, the head of the entire coercive apparatus of the Republic of Ghana.

Consequently, his widely reported presence at the residence of Justice Akoto-Bamfo, ought to be promptly and independently investigated by Chief Justice Georgina T. Wood and explained to the Ghanaian electorate and the citizenry at large. And while we would rather not jump to any conclusions at this early stage of the game, as it were, nevertheless, we firmly believe that the allegation levelled by the Coalition of Ghanaians Against Electoral Fraud, vis-a-vis the above-referenced subject, warrants a full-scale and thorough investigation.

For, should it turn out to contain any iota of validity, the visit of Vice-President Amissah-Arthur to the residence of Justice Akoto-Bamfo clearly points to a conflict of interest and a flagrant and illegal attempt to both corrupt and intimidate the recipient of such highly unlikely visitational solicitation. And the most honorable thing for Vice-President Amissah-Arthur to do is to promptly resign his post and render an unreserved and unqualified apology to a nation wracked with a leadership crisis and still smarting under the specter of flagrant political usurpation and summary abrogation of an otherwise robust, albeit fledgling, democratic culture.

We also have absolutely no qualms, whatsoever, about the allegation by the Coalition of Ghanaians Against Electoral Fraud that the primary mission and/or objective of the visiting Vice-President Amissah-Arthur had been to brazenly pressure Justice Akoto-Bamfo into persuading those members of the Atuguba judicial panel known not to be ideologically partial to the National Democratic Congress to toe the line, as it were, or implicitly find themselves drifting the way of the P/NDC-slain three Ghanaian high court judges.

Indeed, the latter observation may very well explain the apparently bold desperation with which President Mahama has publicly been attempting to criminally preempt ongoing judicial deliberations of the Atuguba Court (See "'Our Victory Was Won Clearly and Fairly' - Mahama" Ghanaweb.com 6/10/13). We shall studiously take up the point and motive of the president's rather lurid and bizarre attempt at judicial nullification very shortly.

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

Department of English

Nassau Community College of SUNY

Garden City, New York

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June 11, 2013

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

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Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame