As expected, the legal team of chairman JJR has dismissed Mattew Adebugah’s chilling testimony, to the NRC, as "baseless and scurrilous." In addition, the legal team has decried the procedures used by the NRC, in an attempt to draw attention away from the matters raised by the testimony. In the ensuing weeks, we should expect the NDC propaganda machinery to be revved up to attack the credibility of Adebugah, the NRC and anyone willing to seriously examine Adebugah’s testimony.
According to the results of a Ghanaweb Poll as at 5/27/200, majority (52.3%) of the people believe or partially believe Adebugah’s testimony. Still, about 44.8% of the respondents (roughly the same proportion that voted for Mills in 2000) do not believe the testimony. Thus, it becomes important to put some historical facts on the table, which should put Adebugah’s testimony and chairman JJR’s denial in perspective.
First, it must be remembered that the SIB, appointed by the PNDC in 1982, named Kojo Tsikata as the mastermind of the abduction and murder of the jurists and Major Sam Acquah. Kojo Tsikata was saved from prosecution because the then Attorney General, probably instructed by chairman JJR and Kojo, refused to prosecute him. So when Adebugah implicates Kojo Tsikata, he is merely confirming what an independent investigative body has already reported.
Second, it is public record that chairman JJR knew that the judges had been killed long before he went on air and various places to accuse the enemies of the revolution, and imperialists, as the perpetrators of the sordid affair. In most jurisdictions, in the civilized world, knowingly and intentionally pointing the law in the wrong direction is a crime, so called accessory after the fact. But it is worse in the case of chairman JJR, because it is also known, albeit anecdotally, that he knew or ought to have known about this operation for at least four reasons.
a) The murders took place at Bundase military range, an exclusive range used only for strategic military activities and accessible only after approval by the commander in chief. Chairman JJR was the commander in chief and he must tell us how ordinary and retired corporals would have access to this range, especially in the early days of the “revolution,” when security was at its zenith?
b) The country was under curfew and the abductions and murders took place during the curfew hours. How could one abduct 4 distinguished Ghanaians from the Ridge residential area and drive to and back from Bundase without intervention by the security forces at one of the numerous checkpoints? To evade these checkpoints required both tactical and strategic cooperation at the highest levels.
c) The curfew and pass commander, Major Wallace Gbedemah, who could provide vital information disappeared from the country to undertake an unknown course in an unknown destination just when he was needed most to provide testimony by the SIB. Who was behind the disappearance of Major Gbedemah?
d) The chief investigator Yidana was put under surveillance by Kojo Tsikata during the investigations and was the target of many attempted murders. In the end, he was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment, under some foolish charge of harboring Lieutenant Korah. Even after serving his sentence, Kojo Tsikata refused to release him. Why?
Third, you must know that many members of the then PNDC resigned from the PNDC in utter disgust and dissatisfaction with the way chairman JJR and Kojo Tsikata acted before, during and after the murders. These include Nunoo Mensah, Damuah, Akata Pore. Thus, Adebugah is reechoing whatever was troubling these PNDC members, some of whom obviously communicated to the other ranks!
Fourth, long before Adebugah's testimony, Gyiwah had publicly announced that Kojo Tsikata and chairman JJR were the planners of the murders. Gyiwah then, like Adebugah now, was not merely repeating what Amartey Kwei, Amedeka, Senyah, Tekpor (i.e, the actual killers) had said to the SIB. As an insider of the PNDC, he was very familiar with operations and had gathered his own independent evidence to arrive at that conclusion. Indeed, the June 18th prison break can be attributed to the unsatisfactory resolution of the judges' murder! It is public record that Mattew Adebugah was a PNDC insider and was very familiar with PNDC operations. Thus, what he says is first hand evidence.
Fifth, the military camp was split, for a considerable period, into two camps: the camp calling for the heads of chairman JJR and Kojo for their complicity in this despicable act and the camp intent on saving the evil twins. It is an open secret in the military that many soldiers were summarily executed for daring to raise questions about the murdered jurist? Aliu, Awaah, Gyiwa, many soldier with the wrong names, etc. (in the hundreds). That Kojo and JJR were the murderers was an open secret in the military camp and later on the university campuses.
Sixth, it is well known that chairman JJR, Kojo and their PNDC killed many more people than these 4 distinguished Ghanaians. Indeed, Adjei Buadi just testified at the NRC that he killed 6 people as part of a “search and destroy mission.” Such dastardly and unpardonable events were ordered and approved by chairman JJR and his security apparatus headed by Kojo Tsikata. The killing of the judges gained notoriety and continues to be headline because of the social status of the victims. But there are many precious and innocent Ghanaian lives that were prematurely truncated by the actions of chairman JJR and his PNDC. So why we should continue to determine the brains behind the judges’ murders, we should not stop there but also seek the brains behind all the innocent lives lost during the so called revolutionary era.
Some are wondering why Amartey Kwei was killed so quickly when the role of JJR and Kojo was still a matter of grave concern? The answer is simple. He had dared tied the evil twins, of JJR and his uncle Kojo, to the crime, contrary to the bond of loyalty and falsehood that was to exist amongst them! And, as long as he was alive, he was a material witness. He was considered evidence that must be destroyed!
What Ghana needs for true healing, reconciliation and progress is for chairman JJR to appear before a judicial body where he can provide testimony, under oath, and be cross examined by skilled lawyers. Thus far, he has refused, choosing instead to hide behind some immunity clauses, inserted “nicodemously” into the constitution.
This yoo-ke gari debtor, whose revolution has transformed him into an S-class mercedez benz driving aristocrat with kids educated in some of the most expensive universities in the world, should show some minimal courage, and get behind from those immunity walls and answer the questions on the lips of many Ghanaians.
A cowardly bully who is always seeking protection either in the Legon bushes, from Adebugah when the going got tough, or from immunity clauses. Tweaaaaa, even grasscutters have more courage!
What some of JJR’s apologist and fanatics must understand is that not all of us have caught the social amnesia virus! Da Yie!