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By Kwesi Atta Sakyi 1st September 2013
The much-awaited Supreme Court verdict of 29th August 2013, on the petition filed by the opposition party, NPP, against the incumbent NDC, has come and gone and we are all winners, with nobody a loser. This is the acme and pinnacle of civility in Ghana. I doff off my hat to former President John Kufuor, who has assumed the stance of an elder statesman, and does a lot of behind the scenes moves. We are all blessed as Ghanaians to have this towering political colossus around.
. The Akans say, ‘S3 opanin wo fie a 3y3’, meaning, it is good to have an elder around the house. Kufuor does not fail to dazzle me with his high sense of fairness and objectivity. He is indeed a savant. Likewise, I also salute Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, for his sagacious and democratic credentials of meekly and boldly agreeing to take the peaceful and democratic path of going to court for arbitration, instead of throwing the whole country into a pandemonium and political stalemate. Nana deserves a Nobel Peace Award or The Order of the Volta.
Longfellow once wrote, on quote, ‘Lives of great men, all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.’ Nana has indeed left indelible footprints on Ghana’s history which cannot easily be defaced, erased or altered. I salute Nana Akufo Addo for first accepting to go to court, and secondly for accepting the court verdict in a good spirit of sportsmanship. You win some, you lose some. The bottomline is you did your part. You may seem the loser standing small, but in another sense, you are the winner waxing great.
There is also victory in losing, because winning now may be short term and temporary, while losing now fortifies you for long term resounding victory for your successors. Some winners live with a winner’s curse, when their win is a pyrrhic victory. Accepting defeat is not an act of cowardice, but rather a heroic bravado. I think Nana Akufo Addo will go down ironically and paradoxically as the greatest president Ghana never had. The Supreme Court proceedings were protracted, wearisome, convoluted and full of legal nuances, idiosyncrasies, semantics and theatricals, some of which were beyond the comprehension of many a lay man.
I was not in Ghana to watch the proceedings, though I could have watched in Zambia, yet I do not have that luxury of time or the means, as I get my information via radio or internet. Many a layman drew their own inferences and jumped the gun by jumping to some hasty conclusions. But as they say, the law is an ass. Legal proof is not mathematics, because it is based on technicalities of onus of proof, with the least error vitiating and disabling a mountain of evidence.
It is not about quantity, as it is about quality of proof, and the manner of presentation. The Judiciary in Ghana have acquitted themselves very well by their excellent handling of the case, by putting it to the litmus test, and subjecting it to the balance of probabilities, to swing the pendulum in favour of the incumbent political party, NDC. It is said that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Besides, the complainant has the onus of giving proof beyond all reasonable doubt, beyond pink sheets and non-signed forms. Let us put the saga of the pnk sheets behind us and forge ahead together as one great indivisible nation towards our collective objectives.
The 8 months of trial was a national torture and time and effort wasted could have taken us ahead. All the same, lessons have been learnt by both parties and our Electoral Commission has been found wanting, so we need reform of our electoral law and the electoral institutions, for, if these were in top form, many of the aberrations and incompetence which were unveiled during the famous trial would not have surfaced, and the judges’ duty would have been easier and straightforward. Succinctly put, all our institutions of governance in Ghana, including the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary need reform for efficacious and effective delivery of their bounden duties.
The legislators need to be educated on decorum and self-comportment, as well as how to effectively engage their constituents and serve their needs. Our Executive need to brush up on negotiation skills, time management skills, strategic planning skills, and project implementation skills, among others. Our Judiciary and those on the bench need to be given more incentives to make them free from corruption, using the Singapore model of fighting bribery and corruption.
The symbol of the law is a blind woman holding a sword in one hand, and a pair of scales in the other, showing that the lawgiver or dispenser is no respecter of persons, as she is fair, objective and unbiased. The scales symbolise the rigorous proof of weighing all evidence before justice is dispensed. Being a woman also symbolises the humanity of the law, based on passion, emotions and feelings or circumstantial evidence.
In law, they say caveat emptor and caveat vendor. Both buyer and seller should beware or circumspect. Truth is said to be relative but not absolute because human beings and their institutions are all not perfect. The scientist looks for empirical validity or proof through a long and rigorous process of the scientific method, where the premise, its process and its resultant outcome must all be valid in both time and space through repeated trials and verifications. Even there, Einstein's relativity theory stood many scientific theories extant on their head, and they were found wanting.
Perhaps, the Collider experiment in Switzerland will once again turn science laws upside down again. In law and in accounts, we look for materiality or substantiveness of the evidence. In religion, we rely on faith for proof, hence the dichotomy between fact and fiction. Subjectivity and objectivity in law may seem poles apart but in reality they are coexistent, coterminous and conjoined. Therefore, we should never expect a perfect judgement, even in the International Court of Justice, where once we had our own late Nigerian legal luminary, Taslim Oluwale Elias presiding.
In conclusion, I say well done all Ghanaians at home and abroad for your achievement in the petition judgement outcome. Our detractors were not wishing us well, but God has been on our side to understand that we have no other country but Ghana. We cherish our motherland, the place we call home. We can have other second homes, but we do not forget where our umbilical cord was buried. Let us stop media vilification of our country and of our leaders, so that we can be respected wherever we are. Foreigners who visit Ghana fall in love with our country, but we ourselves denigrate and run down our God-given country. Oh why, Ghanobi, why? Adodompolee, minifio bo oooo!
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