President Mills to name Tsatsu Tsikata Minister of Justice

In the lead-up to the 2008 presidential run-off, when then-NDC flag-bearer Prof. John Evans Atta Mills promised to make a drastic reduction in fuel prices the topmost priority of his first 100 days in office, we promptly knew, intuitively, that such campaign promise, like coital sweet-nothings, had to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt.

Now, true to our suspicions, Mr. Johnson Asiedu-Nketia – alias General Mosquito – the NDC general secretary, is telling the Ghanaian electorate that, in fact, the topmost priority of the Atta-Mills presidency, or administration, will be to speedily bump Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata out of the Nsawam Medium-Security Prison, where the former CEO of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) has been serving a 5-year prison term for unduly using his official and public position to benefit himself, his cronies and private business associates (See “NDC Dedicates Electoral Victory to Tsatsu” Ghanaweb.com 1/3/09).

And here must be readily recalled the fact that during his presidential campaign, Prof. Atta-Mills, chaperoned by NDC founding-proprietor ex-President Jeremiah John Rawlings, besieged the Accra High Court premises loudly denouncing Justice Henrietta Abban’s sentencing of the man who has been widely credited with playing a key role in the establishment of the at once infamous and odious travesty that was the kangaroo People’s Court under the highly unpopular tenure of the so-called Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC).

Back then, as we vividly recall, President-Elect Atta-Mills also knighted Mr. Tsikata as the man singularly instrumental in Ghana’s discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities about a year or two ago.

The patently fictive historical narrative account regarding the discovery of crude oil in Ghana, as maintained by Prof. Atta-Mills and his NDC associates notwithstanding, one thing is unmistakably clear: Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata is apt to shortly become the protagonist of the legal and judicial policy of the Atta-Mills administration. Some observers have even pointed to the dire likelihood of Mr. Tsikata being named either Justice Minister and Attorney-General, or even Chief Justice of the Ghanaian Supreme Court. Either way, this does not come as any glad tiding to the Ghanaian nation, or polity, at large, particularly to the members, supporters and sympathizers of the in-coming opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

And here also, it bears recalling that in his victory speech as Ghana’s President-Elect, the former Legon law school professor sanguinely indicated that his administration would have absolutely no room for vendetta. Still, it equally bears recalling the sullen promise of Mr. Rawlings, several months ago, to cause a massive expansion of the nation’s prison facilities, particularly those at Nsawam, in order to guarantee that as many as desired of the top-brass of the outgoing Kufuor administration find themselves under lock and key in these facilities.

Already, a cursory glance at the list of names of the people comprising the Atta-Mills transitional team fearfully indicates that, indeed, it is Mr. Rawlings who will, once again, be running our dear and longsuffering country’s affairs for the next four years, and perhaps even longer!

In all likelihood, therefore, the next four years are wont to be heavily marked, or accented, by rampant and routine judicial nullification, with the very first being, of course, the Tsikata case. What this simply implies is that henceforth the interpretation and enforcement of the rule of law and order in Ghanaian society are more likely to be summarily parceled out to Jubilee House (or Flagstaff House) and the Tsikata cabal. And if and when this happens, members and staunch supporters of the now-opposition New Patriotic Party had better be prepared to either fiercely countervail, or neutralize, justice NDC style, or have themselves to blame for a long time to come.

Going by the pathetically tentative manner in which the NPP tackled the entire presidential run-off impasse, there do not appear to be enough personalities among the topmost ranks of the NPP with an adequate endowment of what Americans casually call “balls” and “guts.” For, it is almost certain that had the NDC found itself in the same political dilemma in which the NPP now finds itself, the play-out of events would have been quite different. For instance, while the NDC entered the Election 2008 boxing arena with a healthy sense of it being a “do-or-die” affair, one routinely heard top NPP cabinet members and party officials cavalierly claiming that Election 2008 was, after all, a “no do-or-die” affair but, rather, merely a seasonal pageant at the polls.

And so in quite a tough-love sense, perhaps, those members and supporters of the NPP who, reportedly, got severely trounced in several constituency polling stations of the Volta Region deserved a little bit of what they got. For, as the Akan maxim goes: “The one receiving a haircut ought to be wisely able to instruct the barber precisely what style of haircut is most desired, or s/he would soon end up with a bad haircut.”

From the outcome of Election 2008, it heart-wrenchingly appears that, indeed, it was the members and supporters of the in-coming opposition New Patriotic Party that conducted the least level and amount of political soul-searching.

A Tsikata justice system? You better buy a surface-to-air missile, a bazooka and a shotgun or two! For it is a new day in Ghana, indeed, as one quite prolific pro-NDC scribe put it, in the wake of President-Elect Atta-Mills’ victory speech.

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

*Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D., is Associate Professor of English, Journalism and Creative Writing at Nassau Community College of the State University of New York, Garden City. He is the author of “Dr. J. B. Danquah: Architect of Modern Ghana” (iUniverse.com, 2008). E-mail: [email protected]