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Supreme court judges’ date with destiny

Mon, 5 Aug 2013 Source: Bomfeh Jnr, Kwabena

*SUPREME COURT JUDGES’ DATE WITH DESTINY; **HOW WILL IT BE REMEMBERED?*

We are in the eighth month of the year after the December 2012 general elections whose true outcome remains uncertain. A challenge has been mounted at the Supreme Court questioning the validity of the declaration made by the chairman of the Electoral Commission, EC Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan in line with Article 64 of the national Constitution that John Dramani Mahama was the winner of the presidential election. The Petitioners namely Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, Dr Mahamud Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey all in the individual, private capacities as required by Law have kept a discreet silence notwithstanding their wishes and expectation in the end over what the possible outcome would be in the matter. Of the respondents as required by Law, the EC and John Dramani Mahama (the beneficiary of the declaration) as well as the NDC who applied for joinder to the suit on the basis that they sponsored John Mahama, only the EC has kept silent just like the petitioners over what the outcome should or would be. John Dramani Mahama, JDM, as he is affectionately referred to has on countless occasions said that the Supreme Court is merely going to uphold the challenged declaration by the EC. The NDC, infact have gone beyond predicting the outcome to give the petition names; abuse of judicial process, sour grapes, jealous, and non conformist et al.

This Seminal case, landmark as some have often referred to it is close to closure. At this stage, what one can confidently say is that whatever the outcome would be Ghana’s Elections would never remain the same. Already, the happenings in the on-going MMDCE elections and rejections of the polls for irregularities and mal-practices as well as violations only attest to the fact that never again are we as a people ever going accept error as the will and aspiration of the people. Already, calls are being made and admonishing offered that we should all endeavour to respect the decision of the Supreme Court. Prayers are being offered across the religious beliefs we have in Ghana for peace and tranquillity to prevail in the Land after the judgement. I subscribe to all that. I however am of the opinion that no matter the amount of prayer, admonishing, counsel and media showism, the ONE SINGULAR GUARANTEE to peace, has been and will always remain the establishment of the TRUTH in disputes. If the truth is said, Justice is not only done, but will also be seen to have been done. It requires COURAGE, WISDOM and FEAR OF GOD to speak the truth in all matters. That is what we should be praying for our revered Judges adjudicating on this matter.

Some have often asked ‘what is the truth?’ as if the TRUTH is divisible or should be interpreted for different people to have differing accounts of the SAME. I beg to differ. We have all the troubles and difficulties in our world today because of our charity with the truth. The Spade must be called a spade than to be referred to as a building tool to allow for the possibility of it being called a hammer which would be a total misrepresentation. This case actually offers us the opportunity to refer to happenings in Bible time which in my view should guide how our judges handling this matter.

First is the one classical story of King Solomon sitting in judgement over a controversial child dispute as to who the true mother was. The story would have been different if the child could speak. But because of the nature of the case, King Solomon who was already endowed with wisdom still sought the face of God from whom Justice cometh and God directed him as to what ruling to give. He decided and gave judgement. His judgement was premised on the TRUTH for no true mother would wish the child to be split as the King ordered. So Solomon declared who the true mother of the child was. In 1Kings 3:28, we are told: “And all Israel heard of the judgement which the king had rendered; and they feared the king for they saw that the WISDOM of GOD was in him to administer justice.” Let all the prayers be directed at just one thing, wisdom from God for our judges, courage from God for our judges to discern the truth and speak accordingly. Let us remember that Solomon reigned for forty (40) years as king and gave several judgements but he is remembered for just this one ruling. One Seminal case, and that is it. Our Judges adjudicating on this matter will be remembered NOT for any of the cases they have decided on before or yet to decide on BUT this one Presidential Petition following the 2012 elections. They will be remembered for the good or bad reason. I pray they are remembered for the former.

Human as we are, often run away from the truth for fear of the flesh. Again, in Bible times it happened. I can recall two accounts. The three times denial of Peter of Jesus his master. Peter had been a witness to all that had been happening to Christ from the garden of arrest to the Chief Priest’s Office. He had seen the physical abuse, insults and spitting. Peter was not prepared for that kind of abuse so conveniently he denied the truth that was placed before him only to weep in some corner after realising how weak and disappointing he had been. It was too late. The three different pointer of the true identity of Peter knew surely what they were talking about. We must pray that our judges would look and reason beyond the flesh and momentarily relief and give to Ghanaians lasting justice for which they shall be remembered forever like the martyred colleagues whose busts are glaring before the Supreme Court building.

The other account has to do with Pontius Pilate in the trial of Jesus Christ. The wife of the governor had seen in a vision the innocence of Jesus of all the charges against Him and told same to the husband. Even in the trial, the truth of Christ’s innocence was more than clear and Pilate attested to this to the accusers. Yet, he lacked the courage to judge as such and therefore gave judgement regardless of the truth and merely washed his hands to claim innocence of the blood of Jesus. Pontius Pilate never had peace with himself over that miscarriage of Justice.

Justice, it is said must not only be done, but it must be seen to be done. We have all followed the proceedings in open court and are well aware of what facts of the case are. In the face of all that have gone on it is indeed clear that all did not go well with our 2012 elections. We heard and saw our Lordships even raise issues with some questions and answers in that regard. I don’t want to believe that all that will amount to nothing. As a country, we must be striving towards faultlessness difficult as it may be. The only sure way we can move away from bad practices is when we expose them to correction. If we however condone them and rationalise citing all manner of reasons, it will in the end remain a part of us. In one way or the other, each of the elections we have held since 1992 have presented us with questions about the conduct of the Electoral Commission. If for nothing at all, this first ever petition before the Supreme Court has offered us the opportunity to rethink the EC and how the sovereign Will of the people is manifested. We cannot in anyway entertain adverse selection where the popular will or wish of the people is short changed or misrepresented and they cannot do anything about it. That will be dangerous and allow for all manner of people to hold positions of trust and responsibility without the mandate of the people. When that happens, it leads to nothing working and nothing moving. Insensitivity, Corruption, Greed and Wickedness, Retrogressive decisions and Recklessness become the order of the day.

So far, our Judges have dispensed themselves ably and we want to see that to the last. What was began and followed well must end well. Like Esther did, as we pray, let us gather the courage to say: “I will go to the king (Speak the truth in this matter) difficulty as it may be and if I perish, I perish! This is our judges’ date with destiny. We must pray for and with them. In life, we all get a date with destiny. It is the singular occasion that draws us into fame or infamy. It does not so much matter the length of time one spends on earth but what one does with the date with destiny. I am not too sure, but that date may come just but once. Should we let the opportunity slip by, it may never be recovered. Essau had his in Bible times and wasted it for a mere portion of stew. He never recovered it. Let history guide us than haunt us.

God bless Ghana.

Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr

Columnist: Bomfeh Jnr, Kwabena