Don’t Take Kufour, Baako & Others Serious – Dr. Apak Charges

Tue, 20 Sep 2011 Source: Arthur, Gifty

By Gifty Arthur

Speakers at a forum organized by Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP), a youth group within the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), on the US diplomatic cables have rubbished calls by some individuals that the cables, be discarded as they only seek to retard development.

Instead, in one accord, the speakers are entreating civil societies groups and organizations who claim to have the nation at heart, to express interest in the cables and speak about the report which discusses several spheres of the society.

They contend that the deafening silence of the civil society groups since the news broke out, is worrying and are, therefore, calling on them not to keep quiet, but come out and make their opinions known whilst offering relevant solution to the leaked report.

In a presentation, the leader and convener of Forum for Governance and Justice, Dr. Clement Apak, said that the calls by personalities like former President Kufour, the Vice-President, John Mahama; Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako, and the likes of the President of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Ransford Tetteh, are very insulting.

“I totally disagree with those who have made calls for us to abandon or ignore or, for that matter, throw the cables into the dust bin.

“Sadly, most of the leaders that we select, hoping and believing that they will be able to have the guts to stand up and speak in our interest, and defend our interest, as the cables have revealed, are the very same people who have not only sold us too cheap but have embarrassed themselves”, he said, adding:

“It is my opinion that calls made by the likes of the former President and even our own Vice President and, particularly one of the most eminent Ghanaian journalists, Kweku Baako, saying that we should ignore the content of the cables because the cables are making us behave like though we are madly consuming in formation, I think is very insulting and unfortunate”.

He wondered why the very people who have hailed and idealize the US and what they stand for and whatever they do, are now calling for the closure of this important document.

“These are the very people who have idealized the United States and what they stand for. These are the same people who are very quick to go to events with bags of documents to demonstrate and illustrate what is wrong in our society.

“And today, simply because they have been caught in the web of deceit, and double-standards, they are telling us to ignore the content of the US cable which we all know did not drop from the sky.

“The calls are very insulting. President of GJA is telling me to forget the cables? Tell them to come again. Tell them to wake up and smell the coffee”, he said.

Drawing inspiration from his experiences abroad, Dr. Apak said that there is no justification for anyone to advise anybody to discard the information because he is convinced that whatever that is contained in the wiki leaks is very authentic, and needs serious attention.

“The American system of collecting and collating information, based on which they draw conclusion, is usually very authentic, crossed checked, verified and updated overtime. On that basis alone we will be naïve, as a people, should we discount the content of the cable,” he said.

Dr. Apak whose organization was formed after some four lawyers, namely Dr Raymond Atuguba, David Annan, Abraham Amaliba and Larry Bimi, were denied access to court because they had said that a section of the judiciary was corrupt, cited portions of the cables where it stated that former Attorney-General Joe Ghartey had disclosed to the Americans that he knew of some two judges who were corrupt, and promised to make sure they are thrown into jail.

He quoted the portion that read: “Ghartey said narcotics and corruption are precisely twins. He had recently arrested a judge caught on tape accepting bribe and would try the case personally. Two other similar cases are before the court”.

He concluded: “We need to put some judges in jail”. Mr. Apak questioned why Mr. Ghartey knew he had earlier admitted that he knew that some judges were corrupt, but went about criticizing the four lawyers who expressed similar concern?

He urged the current Attorney-General and the Judicial Council to look into the admission by the Member of Parliament (MP) for Essikadou, especially so, when the issues are connected to the narcotic trade.

“The very same courage that he had to stand up and speak against the four lawyers, he should come out with the same courage to defend why he had not tried that judge, the two other cases had not been tried, and the judge; did not go to jail under his watch”, he said.

He promised that his association would continue the crusade against judicial corruption and follow the issue to parliament to investigate, so that where people need to be punished, they would do so to serve as a deterrent.

Dr. Apak questioned the legal basis for which the Association of Magistrates and Justice acted since he alleged that they are not properly registered.

“The Association of Magistrates and Justice did not have the capacity to operate in this country. As you all know, when you register an organization, you get two documents from the Registrar General’s Department.

“The first you get is registration of incorporation, followed by certificate to commerce business. As I speak to you today, we have no knowledge or information indicating that that association claiming it represents all the magistrates and judges in this country ever picked up the certificate to commence business.

“Now, if you don’t have certificate to operate, what is your business filing complaint at the General Legal Council against lawyers who have only exercised a free speech? So, technically, we are condoning an illegality,” he said.

A lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon Dr. Michael Kpessah Whyte also disagreed with the call to discard the cables, and urged every Ghanaian to take active interest to read it. He called on civil society groups to take the various parts of the cables up, since the two main political parties have been caught in a web.

“This is one moment that, as Ghanaians, we should expect civil society groups to rise up and show their importance in this country. The silence of civil society groups on what has been going on so far, with respect to Wiki leaks, is very deafening, and I think that we should be questioning why civil society groups have been so quit”, he said

Dr Kpessah urged Ghanaians to be wary of what they say when they are invited to programs by these diplomats. Other speakers were a member of the Socialist Forum, Dr. David Percy and Mr. Fortunate Fio, an International Relations Researcher.

Columnist: Arthur, Gifty