Opinions Thu, 7 Oct 2010

Is the Indemnity Clause a "Peace pipe" or a Cowardly Patch?

Of all the justification for maintaining the Indemnity Clause, the most laughable and the most infantile of them all is the “Peace” angle. Many people are of the opinion that, if we expunge the Indemnity Clause from the Constitution , thus making it possible for the Chairman of the P-ndc to have his day in court, with only one possible out come- firing squad for the chairman-, the country WILL burst into flames; that the country WILL lose its “peaceful status”. I must say, this is the most cowardly excuse ever invented by man. Besides, who are these people promising violence on our beloved country if the Clause is expunged? Have these groups come out and vocally and bravely make their intentions known?

Before going into it, I would like to commend President Mills for establishing the Constitutional Review Commission. This would be the only time, I believe, I would commend the President for anything. He is that bad of a leader. But I offer my commendations with reservations because the President has his own selfish reasons for calling the review despite the numerous flaws in the Constitution. And it has to do with the Chairman of the P-ndc.

Mills has intentionally given the country the golden opportunity to rid itself of the Chairman of the P-ndc. How else do you explain his rational for ostensibly creating the Constitutional Commission; something that the NPP did not even think of? And it made some sense that the NPP did not broach this clause because it did not deem the Chairman as an immediate threat to their reign. (I find the NPP’s reluctance to touch the clause very myopic. This is the second time I have found something wrong with actions of my beloved Party when they were in power. The first had to do with their abysmal record on decentralization. And I’m referring to the Party as an entity and not individuals in the party)

But can we say the same thing about the Chairman’s presence vis a vis the Mills’ administration?

Mills and his advisors knew right away that the Chairman was going to be the number one threat to his presidency. And all indications and the actions of the Chairman so far have proved them right. Mills and his advisors also knew that they could indirectly get rid of the Chairman if they were to give citizens the opportunity by creating a constitutional review commission; knowing full well that citizens would clamor for expunction of the clause over everything else, thus paving the way for the day of reckoning for the Chairman of the P-ndc. But so far, citizens are balking at this opportunity. It seems citizens are scared to touch the Indemnity Clause because they have all bought into the fallacy of the “Peace angle”.

But let us ask ourselves these questions: Who are these groups who are so eager to burn the country because of one man? Who are these people who are so blind that they are ready to sacrifice a peaceful nation of 23 million people for the sake of one man? What are the personality make up of these groups? What kind of stake do they have or have they invested in our country that they are so ready to burn the country if a single Clause in our constitution is taken out? Who are these groups ready to sacrifice their children and their sisters, wives, grandmothers, mothers, aunties and nieces so that one man could go unpunished?

When I pose these questions, the reply I get among others are, the Veranda Boys, the Chairman’s Commandos –if they are still in existence- Youth For Leadership (YFL), Friends of Nana Konadu Agyemang –Rawlings (FONKAR), the 31st December Women’s Movement, June 4 cadets, the Ghana Armed Forces and now the first terrorist organization in Ghana, the Azorka Boys, etc.

They reply that all the aforementioned groups are ready to sow the seeds of discord and foment, by going on a murderous and bloody campaign and rampage across the country so that one man can go unpunished. Really…… are they all that mad, so as to turn our country into “a Rwanda” because of one man is my usual rejoinder to these replies. Then I would add that I don’t believe that they are that mad; and that the so called madness that would induce them to engage in this “holocaust” is a boogie man story, a “Hannibal is coming” kind of story. But time would tell if these groups are mad or not.

Constitutionally, we all know that it would take a nation-wide referendum before we can do anything about the Clause. And I also know that the nation would vote “NO” in any referendum in the immediate future not because they believe it is the right thing but because they are scared of the aforementioned “Boogiemen”. But the nation should be rest assured that a new crop of leaders are coming up and this Clause is going to be revisited. And I would like to serve notice to the so called “Boogiemen” that, if they have violence in mind when the clause is eventually overturned in the not too distance future, their violence would be regionally based, and they can be assured of that.

For while it would be too presumptuous on my part to speak for the rest of country, I can categorically say that no one, and I mean no one, from my part of the country would set aside his succulent fufu to go and sacrifice his life for the sake of one man. The road that leads to my part of the country would be blocked and the violence would stay without. The rest of the country can burn if they are mad enough to listen to one man’s call for violence. And if anybody from within my area of the country is thinking of heeding a call to arms from 300 miles away, he should be prepared to move his family out of the area first before he pick up his arms and…….otherwise….

Folks, the Indemnity Clause is the single most hateful, the single most un-democratic, the single most insulting, the single most dangerous and the single most enabling clause in our Constitution. The Indemnity Clause serves as a template for would be Coup makers. As long as it is in the Constitution, those who are itching to add more fat to their belly, like the Chairman- whose stomach looked like a refugee from Darfur before-…...would not hesitate to go down the same path as the Chairman.

It is therefore up to citizens to put aside our fear and to utilize this golden opportunity handed us on a silver platter by Mills “wittingly”, and rid the country of the Chairman. When the Clause is finally expunged, it would also serve as a deterrent to would be Coup makers and eliminate the number one threat to our democracy. We can not afford to postpone a remedy for “Cancer” and put the lives of our children and posterity in jeopardy.

But if citizens are afraid of the phantom threat of violence at this moment in our history, the time is going to come when we shall call on all those groups who are ready to sacrifice the peacefulness of our beloved country for the sake of one man to step up to the podium, show their faces, express their wishes vocally for the nation to know categorically where they stand. Once these groups show their cowardly faces, I promise you, the Nation would immediately realize that, they are but puppies.

Personally, I would recommend a modest prison term of 150 years for the Chairman of the P-ndc, when the Clause is eventually done away with; even posthumously.


A word of advice to those who are thinking of calling for violence when things do not go their way in the 2012 elections -as they did through Radio Gold in ’08-, I say to them, let that call remain in the vicinity of the our Capital. For I can assure you that, and I repeat, no one, and I mean no one, from my part of the country is going to set aside his succulent fufu to go and sacrifice his life for the sake of a few greedy mad politicians. The rest of the regions should also heed my advice. Let those in Accra follow the dictates of mad men and indulge in violent and other peace threatening acts- as they did when they were called to besiege the Electoral Commission's office. The road that leads to my part of the country would be blocked and the violence would stay without. And if anybody from within my area of the country is thinking of heeding the call to arms from 300 miles away, he should be prepared to move his family out of the area- as he reads this -first before he picks up arms and…….otherwise…..

Akwasi A. Afrifa. Akoto.
Columnist: Akoto, Akwasi A. Afrifa