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Ibrahim vrs Wontumi: Matter of law or emotions?

Sun, 11 May 2014 Source: Yawose, John

In a widely circulated report captioned, --‘’Ibrahim Mahama sues chairman Wontumi’—Ibrahim Mahama, brother of President John Mahama, has sued the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bernard Antwi-Boasiako, for defamation. He is demanding amongst other things, two million cedis damages for the NPP regional chairman who is popularly known Chairman Wontumi.

In a writ filed at an Accra Fast Track High Court, Mr. Ibrahim Mahama said Chairman Wontumi made defamatory statements against him at a public gathering in Obuasi on March 30 this year. According to him statement of claim, the offending statement claimed that, --“President Mahama and his brother Ibrahim have loaded all the money into their pockets. Each and every day they increase petrol prices and then you and I, the downtrodden, suffer to pay for the increases – they keep the monies in their pockets, and use it to buy planes – aeroplanes – in which they fly. Each week, President Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim, travel to South Africa. You, my brother, the monies President Mahama has given to his brother, - have you got any? Does someone pay for your children’s school fees?”

My uncle called me from the village and drew my attention to the news item and told me to read it and come back to him. On my return, he asked me my views on the suit. I replied that I had no ideas yet apart from the fact that Ibrahim Mahama was presently a giant In Ghana by virtue of the fact that he was a brother to President John Mahama and his stature could intimidate the judge on the case.

My uncle laughed and laughed on the line and told me to take it easy since he was ready to calm me down. He started:-‘’’NDC and their sympathizers are now well versed in the infamous Jihadist Baba Jamal doctrine, whereby they see a goat and they call it an elephant and they see ant and they call it a cockroach or they see a rat and they say it is an antelope. I am not a lawyer but I see it clearly and I predict straightaway that the judge will strike this suit off as unmeritorious and borne out of vindictiveness and capricious use of power.

You see the offending statement claimed is that, --“President Mahama and his brother Ibrahim have loaded all the money into their pockets …………. Each week, President Mahama and his brother, Ibrahim, travel to South Africa----------‘’

So the question is: Who is Ibrahim? President Mahama has a lot of brothers called Ibrahim. Which of the Ibrahims was Wontumi referring to? Was the Ibrahim, referred to in Wontumi’s alleged offending utterance specifically Ibrahim Mahama of Engineers and Planners? It could be any brother of Mahama called Ibrahim who is the subject. In all senses the plaintiff Ibrahim Mahama of Engineers and Planners wants to wear the hat because the cap seems to fit him. Ibrahim Mahama of Engineers and Planners will have to prove beyond all reasonable doubts that he is the Ibrahim referred to in the utterance. Get ready to r-u-m-b-l-e.

If you will remember very well, Hon ET Mensah the Member of Parliament for Prampram at one time felt he was the ‘goat’ referred to in a newspaper cartoon and he brought a case of defamation against the cartoonist. That matter did not travel 1 kilometer in the law court and the presiding judge told ET Mensah, the plaintiff -YOU ARE NOT THE GOAT- and struck the matter off.

Are we going to see a repeat that this matter will not travel 1 kilometer and the presiding Judge will tell Ibrahim Mahama of Engineers and Planners -YOU ARE NOT THE IBRAHIM REFERRED TO AS BROTHER OF PRESIDENT MAHAMA- in the disputed utterance and strike the case off. This is a matter of law. It is not a matter of emotions.’’ I thanked my uncle for the education.

Columnist: Yawose, John