Opinions Sun, 24 Mar 2013
By Dr. Michael J.K. BokorFriday, March 22, 2013
Of course, those NPP officials who have risen to Akufo-Addo’s defence may claim that because he is their flagbearer (and leader?) of the party, they have every right to defend him. But are their public pronouncements and insults against Justice Kpegah the defence?
They are wasting their breath, I daresay, because the suit will not be determined at the bar of public opinion. It is the High Court that will do so and all these people making this noise in Akufo-Addo’s stead will probably not be invited to testify. So, what is the real motivation for their jumping on Justice Kpegah?
One may quickly peg all down to INTIMIDATION and public humiliation or calumny of Justice Kpegah to make him look bad. That is why some have even quickly clothed him in the NDC garb and begun seeing his action through their blinkers and politically tinted lenses to suggest that he is being used by the NDC as a diversionary measure. They have begun claiming that Justice Kpegah is a surrogate of the NDC to be used to deflect public attention and interest in the NPP’s lawsuit at the Supreme Court challenging the outcome of Election 2012.
One clear example of this ascription of the NDC’s motives to Justice Kpegah is captured in the article (“‘Justice’ Kpegah, NDC’s Prince of Darkness,’ by one PaaNii Saka). The author claims, among others that “The NDC is battling on every side to remain in power; power they themselves know they do not deserve. There is a lot of chatter on frequencies being used by the National Security apparatus.”
Then, he emerges with his major claim: “The Ex-Judge knows what he is doing. He’s been deployed to slow down the process. It has the purpose of taking Nana’s focus from the case…. Kpegah has been gunning for a role in this government since its first term. Now is the time to show he can really be a member of the gang by ‘shedding blood’. To belong, he must ‘kill’ a big prize. He can only do this by attacking the principal of the case, i.e. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo. Kpegah knows he will lose the case, but he would have proven to his paymasters that he can be as ruthless as they are, and that he should be admitted into the gang.”
Those NPP members who have attacked Justice Kpegah may have their own reasons for doing so. Their outright insults won’t end the matter, though.
Of all these harsh words, none piques my interest more than this one from Kwaku Baako: “Nana Akufo-Addo is indestructible.”
I want Kwaku Baako to know that attempts by people to question Akufo-Addo’s integrity don’t necessarily amount to anybody’s wanting to destroy him. It suggests to me that those people have some hunches that they want confirmed or disproved. That’s why they can’t be dismissed as irritants or people with a misplaced vengeance.
Even it were so, the question would be: Why Akufo-Addo particularly? Why is Akufo-Addo the one whose integrity is always brought into question or disrepute?
And we quickly note that it is not only about his integrity as a lawyer that is at issue. Many have raised questions about his (im)moral lifestyle too.
We recall the negative propaganda before the 2008 elections that put him in public discourse regarding allegations of his drug abuse, licentiousness, and other streaks of character that were being used to undermine his quest to ascend to the highest office of the land. Those very issues cropped again when he contested the 2012 elections.
And I bet you, if he stands again at Election 2016, those very damning issues will be raised again to tarnish his image. The conclusion is that not until a closure is found to those issues, they will continue to poison public opinion against him. Is that what he wants?
The publication of those leaked wires to the US Embassy (courtesy Wikileaks) also featured him (thanks to Kwasi Pratt’s utterances).
Indeed, some of the allegations have hinged on outright criminality, where Akufo-Addo was alleged to have killed somebody with his car but was not punished because of his father’s influence.
In all these instances, especially the damning allegations concerning his drug abuse, he never stepped forward to clear the air. Instead, several people played the frontline role of doing damage control for him. And they failed to clean the mud from him.
The only occasion on which he came out to say anything in connection with the issue was when he issued a stern warning to take legal action against anybody peddling any allegation of that sort against him. He worsened his case.
That was even after his so-called legal team, led by Nana Bediatuo, had already set the stage on legal action against anybody imputing drug abuse to him. That threat didn’t achieve anything positive for him. I can say with a fair degree of certainty that the harm done to Akufo-Addo’s image by such allegations is irreparable. Only he can save himself from further calumny.
He can do so only if he tackles the bull by the horn and not by its tail, as he seems to be doing now, taking the back seat and allowing all manner of people to speak for him.
The matter is simple. Produce incontrovertible evidence to silence all these people troubling him. I will take myself to explain this problem. If someone accuses me of not being a trained journalist, for instance—which I am—and that allegation is damning enough for me to care about, all I have to do to prove that person wrong is to produce the evidence.
In this case, it is the certificate that will confirm my academic or professional standing. I have my Diploma in Journalism, signed by Kojo Yankah (then Director of the Ghana Institute of Journalism), and dated, June 1984, to confirm that I attended the GIJ for two years to qualify for what I claim to be. Those bothering Akufo-Addo are the “seeing is believing type”; so, he has only one solution for them: prove them wrong with evidence!
You see, unlike journalism, where no one really needs professional training in journalism to practice journalism and be known as such, law is a different profession with its own regimen and rigours. That is why anything that can prove Akufo-Addo right should be welcomed, not condemned.
What Justice Kpegah has set in motion isn’t strange to warrant all this verbal attack on him. His approach is different from all others, including that of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings who in 2008 accused Akufo-Addo of not being a lawyer and was equally condemned by all Akufo-Addo’s defenders, including the Ghana Bar Association. The dust might have appeared to have settled, but the negative fallouts harmed Akufo-Addo’s reputation and political fortunes.
In this case, Justice Kpegah has gone to court with the matter. The case cannot be wished away by those who don’t like it or swept under the rug as has been the approach all along. This time, it is in court and will be heard. No amount of defence by the Ghana Bar Association or insults by those angered by the resurrection of this matter will settle it.
Justice Kpegah is seeking reliefs that will bring about very serious work by the court. Even if the court dismisses his suit, its reasons should help Akufo-Addo breathe a sigh of relief.
Instead of seeking to intimidate or calumniate Justice Kpegah in his quest to reveal who exactly Akufo-Addo is, those reacting to his suit should approach it in a more level-headed manner. After all, this is not the first time that anybody is questioning that aspect of Akufo-Addo’s life. Not until the matter is laid to rest properly, it will keep recurring, and probably follow Akufo-Addo to his grave.
So, for how long must Akufo-Addo expose himself to such public scrutiny without this matter ever being exhaustively and conclusively dealt with? I think that it is in his own interest that Justice Kpegah (with all the legal weight behind him) has come out with this suit. If the Court deals with the matter, we will all know the truth of it, and that should put to rest forever this albatross hanging around his neck.
I am certain that this suit will bring a closure to this controversy so no one can gleefully point accusing fingers at him again and use it to tear his reputation into shreds. We wait for further developments.
I shall return…
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Columnist: Bokor, Michael J. K.