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Opinions Sat, 11 Sep 2010

Ghana’s judiciary & Joseph’s crucifixion

In more ways than one, the past week could quite easily win an award for un-strategic talk; first by a high profile self-confessed NPP man of God who would subsequently thankfully be bailed by the cat meat-loving NDC party chair.

Subsequently, thanks to the law professor’s reassurance of a non-existent intent to undertake a political purge of the judiciary (whatever that means), perhaps now may be a good time to take just a little step back and laugh at ourselves a little bit as Ghanaians over the events of the past week. The political temperature is down, after all.

It is okay to be a Reverend Asante-Antwi, to love the NPP and to hate the NDC in as much as it is legitimate to harbor strong opinions on judicial reforms. However, if criticism (legitimate or otherwise) is delivered through a mouth largely previously perceived as politically spiritual, undiscriminating and neutral, then the message at once becomes asynchronous with the messenger and an uproar results.

Further, if previously uncontested legitimate concerns about judicial reforms, corruption and political bias issue from the mouth of ruling party chair Kwabena Agyei reeling from pressure from a string of high profile losses of legal battles, an uproar will result. It is worse if his complaints are replete with murderous feline analogies for the simple reason that there tends to be multiple realities and different people hear different things, influenced no less by the level at which listening takes place.

Who ill advised the NDC party chair to say that “if the Chief Justice doesn’t clean the judiciary, we will and let anyone accuse us of interfering in the judiciary” and to add that “there are many ways of killing the cat?” If you make such a strong but open statement subject to multiple interpretations, surely, you can hardly accuse stakeholders of mischief. After all, who knows the true intent of the party chair? All the predictable uproar notwithstanding, I have come to the conclusion that a close study of the relationship if any between Dr Kwabena Agyei and cats will lead to a better understanding of why the man, under real political pressure and experiencing profound frustration at the crumbling court aspects of the ‘Better Ghana agenda’ had no option but to resort to the concept of killing cats.

I will explain.

Word on the street has it that Dr Kwabena Agyei hails from Nkonya in the Volta region where cats constitute a gastronomic delight and delicacy. What would be of utmost immediate relevance would therefore be to do a critical one week recall and examine how many cats Dr Kwabena Agyei killed and ate in the week immediately preceding his feline analogy. Further to this, which technique/s was employed by him to dispatch the cats and what was going to influence the method to be used by Dr Kwabena Agyei in killing …I mean cleaning the judiciary? I have thought long and hard over these questions over the past week. Hard answers seem to be in short supply thus calling for some high profile espionage.

My findings are as follows.

If the myths discovered are credible, then while plotting his judicial cleansing, Dr Agyei would probably have adopted operation kill Joseph. Never mention the word ‘cat.’ If you mention the cat’s name while plotting its death, the cat will hear and run away which is why patrons have been so kind to christen all cats worthy of human consumption, Joseph. Remember, cats have nine lives! Other folklore has it that the name Joseph draws a lot of biblical inspiration. To eat the cat, you must acquire it. To acquire it, you must buy it and in the bible, it was only Joseph who was similarly sold in a high profile transaction. And so you would encounter some able bodied young men roaming the neighborhood. Because they are barred from mentioning the c-word, they ask “Charlie, do you have some Joseph to sell?” Prior to this, they would have resolved early that dawn that “today, we are going to have a Jo feast”.

Barter has not always accounted for the availability of Joseph. Rumors abound of how some of my own kith and kin have become famous for terrorizing poor neighborhood cats who have subsequently never been sighted again with sumptuous pervasive olfactory stimulation being the only pointers to their fate.

Research also shows that having cornered the judicial system, Dr Kwabena Agyei would have used one of two main methods in killing Judge Joseph; the hard methods aka overt crucifix or the soft methods aka covert crucifix.

Under the hard method, two strategies are outlined, namely the drowning strategy and the wickedness/stick strategy. Here, Judge Joseph would be trapped in a sac and either drowned or brutally struck with a weighty stick. Alternately, Joseph so entrapped would be ruthlessly struck on the ground especially if he was proving stubborn and refusing his inevitable fate.

The soft method requires more cunning, better planning, greater level of skill and dexterity. One strategy only is outlined. This is the stroking strategy. Under this strategy, Dr Kwabena Agyei would have developed a strong bond of friendship with Judge Joseph such that on seeing him, Joseph would immediately have made its home on his laps. Joseph’s neck will then be stroked most lovingly as in a soft massage. Just at the point of drifting off into sleep in gracious relaxation, the Nkonya executioner would draw a sharp knife and wheaa! Joseph would be no more! You have got to be fast here!

As part of the research, a case study was also conducted using an elderly man in a village in Southern Volta who has been consuming cats religiously every week since 1964. Needless to say, the man has seriously dented the cat population in the firm unshaken belief that eating a cat’s head will ensure that one never dies away from home! Cumulatively therefore, the old man over a 46 year period, has consumed 2392 cat heads! With this brutal world record plus travelling and staying away from home non-stop, it is fairly safe to say that this old man like Nkrumah will never die.

In the end though, it would appear from the unanimity in opinion from Her ladyship Chief Justice Georgina Wood, the resurrected Association of Magistrates and Judges, the US State Department report on judicial corruption in Ghana, the committee of regional chairmen of NDC and Dr Kwabena Agyei himself that the need for judicial cleansing is not in dispute. What we certainly abhor is a resort to any of the killing methods outlined above no matter how luscious cat meat is. For if my friend Efo Kodzo is to be trusted, cat meat, well ginger-ized, well pepper-ized with a good dose of the local herb whintea is an unforgettable taste to behold.

To my mind, it should be possible to ensure speedy trials, rid the judiciary of any real or perceived corruption, and rigorously interpret constitutional provisions with rulings that do not add further to the confusion of mere mortals not imbued with the niceties of legal conundrums. We actually do have a responsibility to free advocacy journalist Kwasi Pratt and any like minded individuals who suspect that we have the kind of judicial system that deals with society’s marginalized with a sledge hammer while caressing the sweet bottoms of the rich and famous when their crimes are in essence no different.

Surely, we can do this without crucifying Joseph!

Sodzi Sodzi-Tettey

26-08-2010

Columnist: Sodzi-Tettey, Sodzi