I have had the misfortune of following, in the past fortnight, the unbridled exchange of words between Ms Otiko Afisa Djaba (Honourable Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, and ex-Women Organiser of the NPP) and Mr. Daniel Bugri Naabu (NPP's Northern Regional chairman).
I use misfortune here because to witness two adults (both holding responsible and sensitive positions in the nation) engage in such diatribes, without recourse to the slightest display of maturity, or show of respect to the positions they hold in society, can never deserve any other feeling.
Honestly hearing them, or listening to them, made me laugh at times (when mischief fleetingly took over my sense of judgement) and sick, when I put on the cloak of seriousness. But this is not a laughing matter. This should actually be "In the MATTER of the State vs. Otiko ," and "In the MATTER of the State vs. Naabu " in any of the courts of mother Ghana.
Unfortunately we are in Ghana, witnessing the beginning of an era described by His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, The President, as a new civilisation where the rule of law won't be a slogan. In this new civilisation:
Mr. Naabu hears of a meeting being held by the Honourable Minister in 'his' region. He organises some people and walks in to violently disrupt the meeting because he (as NPP Regional Chairman) had not been informed of the meeting. He further accuses the Minister of scheming to thwart his efforts at having some people appointed to responsible public offices, or having contracts awarded them.
The honourable Minister (Ms. Otiko Djaba) won't sit down for a regional Chairman to belittle her 'just like that.' She lashed back, accusing Naabu of taking bribes, in kind and cash, from position and contract seekers, with the promise of influencing (lobbying?) the President of the nation to nominate/appoint the people of his (Naabu's) choice.
In response to the Minister's reactions Mr. Naabu goes on to accuse the Minister of conniving with others (including a sitting Regional Minister) to murder and murdering the Upper East regional Chairman of the NPP (Alhaji Adams Mahama). These public exchanges went on for nearly a week.
During this period the nation watched as the accusations and counter accusations flew left and right, up and down. Some walked in to ask for calm. The main opposition party (NDC) called for the parties involved to be invited by the security agencies for questioning. The NPP finally decided it was time to call for order. To this end the National Council of the party met and decided to punish the two.
Their punishment? A reprimand, a bond to be of good behaviour, and a written apology.
A week after the disciplinary action of the ruling party's National Council no action has been taken by the security and legal institutions of the state to investigate the serious public allegations made by both personalities. The case, it seems, is closed, swept under the carpet by everybody, except the NDC, and the family of Mr. Gregory Afoko, the man standing trial for the murder of Alhaji Adams.
The shocking aspect of this story is that it is happening under the watch of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, as the President of Ghana. He wastes no opportunity to trumpet the Rule of Law. And to demonstrate his "commitment to the Rule of Law," he talked about the creation of a 'new civilisation' in Ghana, whilst presenting Sophia Akufo as the new Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.
It baffles me that:
* A person (The President) trained in Law, who wastes no time to adorn the accolade of a 'Champion of the Rule of Law,' will sit on the throne of the Republic of Ghana and fail to dismiss a Minister of state who publicly levels accusations of bribery (without reporting such malfeasance to the appropriates state institutions for action) against a fellow party executive.
* The same President, acting in his capacity as the leader of the governing party will be satisfied with a verbal reprimand of the two persons and a request for a formal apology.
* A regional chairman of his party will publicly accuse two Ministers of a conspiracy to murder and murdering a member of their own party (a crime for which another member is standing trial), and yet the champion of the rule of law will not take any serious punitive action against those involved, but rather accept a reprimand, a bond, and a written apology, as satisfactory measures to public allegations of involvement in criminal activities.
Is this the new civilisation the President is ushering in Ghana? If honour mattered in Ghana:
* Otiko would have resigned by now without anyone calling for her resignation. It is high time our politicians and public office holders learnt some lessons in humility, servitude and honour.
* Mr. Bugri Naabu would have resigned from his position as NPP Regional Chairman. And immediately after his resignation, rush to the nearest police station to furnish the police with all information he had regarding the death of Mr. Adams Mahama. The excuse and apology rendered cannot (and should not) free him from those serious allegations.
If the rule of law were NOT just a slogan even under Nana Addo's rule, the Attorney General would have prepared a case against Mr. Naabu, and the courts will by now be questioning him (Mr. Naabu) for further information concerning the death of Mr. Adams Mahama.
It is sad, very sad, that talk has become so cheap in Ghana, that people, especially public office holders and politicians can get up at any point in time, say anything, and go home scot-free.
Mother Ghana can however not continue in this direction. I therefore call on every well-meaning Ghanaian, especially the NDC as well as the family of Mr. Afoko (who are asking the police to invite Mr. Naabu for questioning) to pursue this case and make Mr. Naabu answer for his allegations.
May God Bless Our Homeland Ghana!!!