Opinions Fri, 19 Jul 2013

What kind of hero is Ken Kurankye?

If in deed he is any.

When the likes of Kweku Baako, Fredy Blay and Kwasi A. Agble were imprisoned during the PNDC era, they were fighting for a good cause which included democracy and press freedom. Their heroic return from prison was therefore worthy of celebrating and so did Ghanaians who understood what they fought for. Thursday 12 July, 2013 when Editor-in-chief of the Daily Searchlight returned home after serving his 10 days jail term for expressing his opinion in writing which the Supreme deemed Contemptuous, a section of the media and the public welcomed him as a hero. What kind of hero is he?

On the 24th day of June, 2013, just about 9 days prior to his appearance before the court and subsequent prison sentence, the 9 Member Supreme Court Judges led by Justice Atuguba ruled a line no one had to cross after swallowing countless contemptuous statements without acting on them.

Realising implication of tolerating such states, a final warning was issue without retrospective effect.

Sammy Awuku was the first to be tested but his visible regret in his action and apologetic approach to his defence touched the heart of the judges who gave him what many thought was light punishment by barring him from attending the court proceedings.

Sammy Awuku accepted his punishment in good faith and even went on air to apologize for his actions but not Ken Kurankye. Enraged by the decision, attitude and posture of Judges, he made his pen do the talking.

Hitting the judges hard and describing their action as full of hypocrisy with reference to many contemptuous comments that hard gone unpunished, the judges would have the final and hardest bite.

Led by Lawyer Atta Achea, they mounted a defence that a legal greenhorn could identify it’s weakness. Together, they failed to thwart opinions on the import of the publication and in the most embarrassing and disgraceful manner, advised by his team of lawyers led by Atta Achea, he offered an apology full of ifs. The Judges did not by that and after over 3 hours in-camera meeting, slapped him with ten days sentence. Stephen Atugiba who offence was to any right thinking person graver than Ken’s was given 3 days for showing remorse. It should be noted that the 10 days sentence slapped on Ken Kurankye is below the least jail term mostly awarded if found guilty of criminal contempt. I have no problem with his quest to seek redress; he has the right to do so if he feels he has been unjustly treated.

However, I want to caution him to be mindful of his words because the fact that he has been punished for contempt does not immune or exonerate him from being punished for another.

The landmark Election Petition is the biggest this nation has ever been confronted with and without preparing the grounds for the shock it outcome would present (Whichever way it goes), this nation can be totally destabilized. It is the fore knowledge of this that has forced the hand of the Supreme Court to implore every means to conscientise Ghanaians to accept any decision they make since they have the know-how to make the right call.

Our country’s destiny is at stake and whoever tempers with that is at best a villain. What kind of hero is Ken Kurankye?

If he should stand for Primaries for Parliament on the ticket of the NPP, I bet he is going to win hands down. Put his name on any ballot sheet and I bet you he is going to win the said elections hands down. This is the extent of his popularity. My question is, what kind of hero is he?

Does it mean that no matter how ‘silly’ a person behaves, so long us it was done in a political party colours, any punishment qualifies as ‘political persecution?’

Why have we allowed mediocrity and pettiness take over our sense of judgement? Has the truth no value any longer?

Until we uphold the truth at all times, this nation would never develop. Unless anybody has a better view than this, I in particular see no hero in ken Kurankye.

Columnist: Andoh, Isaac Kyei