By Manasseh Azure Awuni
“How can they imprison Tsatsu Tsikata?” he asked boastfully. “Which judge can do that and under which law? The man knows law like something. If you pass down, he will pass up and if you pass up, he will pass down.”
This young man was boasting at the time Tsatsu Tsikata was dribbling judges and challenging the constitutionality of certain courts to try him. But when his day finally came, he was caged. By a woman. Yes, a woman. Though thousand and one questions were raised about the fairness of the trial, he had to take his practical human rights lessons in Nsawam. Tsatsu did not end there. He is out and still fighting relentlessly for his rights. He is also now fighting for those languishing behind bars (or rather walls), who should not have been there in the first place.
His imprisonment thought me one lesson. Every bird can be caged. Be it the eagle, the ostrich, or our own apatupre.
I cannot but agree with Ato Kwamena Dadzie that the invasion of the BNI headquarters by some NPP party members including the so called big wigs is a very irresponsible behaviour. In a previous article titled The Untouchable Kojo Mpiani and the Malevolent Witch Doctors, I predicted that Kojo Mpiani was not going to be the last person to be called to account for his stewardship. I was right. It recently came to the turn of former information minister, Mr. Stephen Asamoah Boateng and the end is nowhere in sight.
This man has made two desperate attempts to leave this country. And he was stopped by the BNI on each occasion without saying exactly what the man, who was one of the most powerful men only yesterday (ask Uncle Hodari Okine) has done. “If you think he has committed any crime, why don’t you arrest him and prosecute him instead of molesting him this way?” was what some said. BNI now connotes something related to the proud angel God demoted thousands of years before we miserable creatures were formed in our mothers’ wombs.
When have the BNI officials become demonic monsters? They are the legitimate authorities who should do the job. National Investigation! Invading their headquarters and throwing stones is not only irresponsible but also a very senselessly criminal act reserved for only the foolhardy. Mahatma Gandhi admonishes us that “democracy does not mean we should behave like sheep.” Is this the first time they are doing their work? Yesterday, it was the NDC who said the BNI were cohorts of the NPP but the NPP praised their professionalism. Today it is the other way round. What does this teach us? A losing party will always blame the referee no matter how fair he handles the match. If we/they the NPP believe in the rule of law, then we/they should be the last to do this. Even Tagor and Abass who we condemned before they had their first court appearance are now free men. This means you and I can face whatever trial in this country and come out freely if only our hands are clean. Those who invade the BNI to chant impotent war songs can only justify their actions if only they believe that the process through which the Abodakpuis and the Tsikatas and the Serlormeys and Peprahs among others were thrown into jail was not fair. That again would be interesting.
As for probing public office holders it will not stop now and will never stop no matter which political party is in power. “If you say my men are corrupt, provide evidence.” This used to be one of JAK’s popular sayings and he loved it. But we all know why some people are pushing for the passage of the freedom to information bill, which the politicians are very reluctant to pass. Some of those who go to the BNI to make noise do not know where their next meal will come from but they still insist that holding public office holders accountable is witch hunting. The latest boom doctor in town tells the BBC that it is like a coup d’état. Listening to the Ghana @ 50 probes currently ongoing, I cannot but come to a conclusion that our politicians have taken us for granted. There are physical projects which were built on papers, no records of some transactions were kept, some spent over twice the amount they were asked to spend while some lied that they distributed the Chinese-made cloths and polo shirts for free. To whom? Should we allow them to go scot free because touching them will amount to political vindictiveness?
The interesting or rather unfortunate aspect of what is going on is that when the NDC leaves office, we will have more Muntakas. I mean the Mubaraks. I mean delving deep into the kyinkyinga and the tea party scandals will reveal more rots with stench worse than the pleasant aroma from the Korle Lagoon. I can bet my manhood on that. The NDC will say exactly what the NPP are saying and even louder. When that time comes, should we allow them to go scot free because touching them will amount to political witch-hunting?
Credit: Manasseh Azure Awuni [email@example.com]
The writer is the SRC President of the Ghana Institute of Journalism.
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