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Wake Up, Paa Kwesi!

Fri, 30 Dec 2016 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

December 29, 2016

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

Contrary to what the owner-presidential candidate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, would have all genuinely progressive Ghanaian citizens believe, the “decoupling” of the portfolio of Attorney-General and Minister of Justice would be an exercise in futility and an unpardonably wasteful one at that. For, it would simply end up splitting the current portfolio into two overlapping executive positions, thereby needlessly increasing the size of an already oversized and increasingly unwieldy cabinet (See “Nana Addo’s Special Prosecutor’s Office Needless – Nduom” Citifmonline.com / Modernghana.com 12/29/16).

We must also quickly point out the fact that President-Elect Akufo-Addo’s call for the creation of the office of an Independent Special/Public Prosecutor is soundly based on both practical experience and intimate professional knowledge of the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. Nana Akufo-Addo, as we all know, served in the latter portfolio under the Kufuor Administration. Dr. Nduom, on the other hand, is merely talking non-expert theory and at best second-hand information that he may have garnered from some legal experts who may not necessarily be endowed with the depth of experience and the sort of practical and professional knowledge possessed by the former Foreign Minister.

It has also been quite a while now, but some of us are old enough to vividly recall the existence of the office of the Independent Special Prosecutor in the postcolonial era of Ghana’s political history. The most prominent and distinguished personality to hold this position in recent memory was the late Mr. Gyeke-Darko. I may be wrong, but I believe Mr. Gyeke-Darko was Special Prosecutor during the Acheampong regime. We need to research how the office of the Special Prosecutor functioned then – I am quite sure that Nana Akufo-Addo is very familiar with this; and also, how effective that office was at the time. I make the latter observation because it is widely known and unreservedly acknowledged that the waning days of the Acheampong regime was characterized by gross and rank corruption of unprecedented proportions by the known and acceptable standards of the time.

It is also very likely that Mr. Gyeke-Darko was not the country’s very first Independent Special Prosecutor. We need to go back to the beginnings of the creation of this office in the modern era, meaning the critical era of the transitional period between 1951 and 1957. We could actually go back a decade or two earlier. But what I really want to highlight here more than any other aspect of this debate is the fact that Dr. Nduom has lived right here in the United States long enough to fully appreciate the fact that the U.S. Attorney-General is also the Head of the Justice Department. And so what is all this funny and vacuous talk about the separation of the portfolio of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice into “Presidential Minister of Justice” and the “People’s Attorney-General”?

It goes without saying that there are far more pressing problems and issues in which Dr. Nduom has the professional expertise to effectively and genuinely contribute to than running pointless circles or rings around the question of whether the legal sphere of our national existence and our general quality of life would be better managed if the office of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice were split into the scarcely distinguishable portfolios of Justice Minister and Attorney-General.

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame