General Election Trial In Ghana Should Be Televised

Feature Article of Thursday, 11 April 2013

Columnist: Edusei, Eric Kwabena

The 2012 General Election Trial In Ghana Should Be Televised (Public)

It is only a dreamer in Ghana today who can speculate that our nation is a peaceful country. How can we talk about peace or seek for it when our politics glaringly divide us and denigrate certain tribes of certain facilities in the country? We can conjure lies and use the airways to perpetuate our dirty politics but the fact still remains that this nation is seriously polarized and the earlier our authorities evolve ways to resolve this impasse, the better for our dear nation. Who in Ghana does not know about the job discrimination menace going on that favors only certain tribal groups; who is alive in our nation today that does not understand the tribal machinations in our society?
People are hurting seriously because they belong to certain tribes; carry certain names or are perceived to belong to certain Political Parties. This nation is sitting on thorns and requires patriotic leaders to call for an end to this “James Bond” attitude by the ruling Party in actively perpetuating discrimination and tribalism and to come to terms with the realities on the ground. It is imperative for Ghanaians to be objective with our conscience for once and publicize the General Election Trial by the Supreme Court, through televised broadcast, to protect our peace. Our Constitution guarantees it and the nation demands it as a right. This will ensure civility, justice and protect the cherished harmony that we have enjoyed for so long. Let us not plunge this nation into the unthinkable as a result of our own idiosyncrasies because posterity will not forgive us and our families. The right thing must be done now because if you do the right thing at the wrong time, it is still wrong.
I was in Ghana to vote at the cost of over GC6,000.00 (sixty million old cedis) and I sincerely believe that I have earned the right to know the true value of my vote and also to understand better the real nature of Ghanaians, their thinking capabilities, their values and the nation as a whole. I saw people wake up as early as 4.00 a.m. in the morning of the start of the 2012 General Election, to go to the polling stations to vote, for reasons that I still do not know. Similarly, in a small town on Obuasi road, I saw a very able guy with eagle eyes holding a big stick, ostensibly aimed at securing the ballot box. I questioned his enthusiasm. In response, he told me that he does not want anybody to steal his “brain” (i.e. vote). His answer was a riddle to me and I kept questioning myself why certain people were so angry and determined to vote. It is true that there cannot be peace, when there is injustice and where democracy cannot thrive in the absence of respect for the decisions of the masses. I speak for the helpless, the deprived and the voiceless who woke up early that morning to vote for change in their lives and consequently entreat the leadership of our Judiciary to ensure that the General Election dispute trial at the Supreme Court is televised. It is important for us to realize that it will be prudent to guarantee this facility so that the masses will understand the dynamics of the issues under review; the ability to discern the truth for themselves and to accept the decision thereof. Let us do the right thing to protect our peace.
Only a few days ago, the Spectator newspaper on Page 32 of its edition for April 6, 2013, was commenting on the entrenched positions and expectations of the two main political antagonists, as regard the outcome of the forthcoming Supreme Court Trial. The commentary revealed that the proposed televised screening of the Court’s proceedings, will certainly help to ensure that the Judges’ would be seen to be absolved from any partisan or external influences and considerations, in their final decision on the Case.
The current Administration is yet to win the trust of Ghanaians in its reckless handling of state finds. We are yet to be satisfied for example, in the manner by which gargantuan Judgment Debts have been unjustly paid out or legal attempts to recover same written off, due to Prosecutors absenting themselves from Court! The question remains as to why offending Prosecutors should be still at post on Government’s payroll, when they’ve made the country lose ridiculously huge sums of monies from these legal gymnastics?
Sole sourcing practices (in contradiction to the principles of the Procurement Act) were used to obtain questionable Biometric equipments at exaggerated prices that failed to meet expectations during the 2012 General Elections. We are where we are at the Supreme Court today, because of these inexplicable attitudes and behaviours.
Which individual or institution can at this life and death stage in our nation’s evolution, denigrate the need to grant approval to have an audio-visual presentation of the Supreme Court Trial on the 2012 Elections, as a matter of the Court not being, “equipped for such a Presentation”. How long should the country’s destiny be placed on a knife’s edge as its political leaders choose their priorities on When,Where and How Much? They are prepared to spend (of the national funds in their custody), on maintaining peace in the country?
Countrymen and women, the struggles for our economic and political emancipation have reached a decisive moment that requires the participation of all and sundry. Our democracy cannot thrive when we are not certain about our voting power, our choices and our sovereignty. We need to know the truth in this trial so that we can understand ourselves better, whether we guarantee corruption or otherwise; whether we are economic entities as made to understand; our understanding of issues, etc, etc. The framers of our Constitution’s insistence for a mandate to make such trials public must be respected and demonstrated as such. If Public Account Committee is televised live, why can’t we do the same for such a delicate trial which has the potential to destroy our nation, if handled wrongly? It would be fatal if not disastrous for our authorities to underestimate the magnitude of the problems confronting the nation vis-à-vis the issues that are likely to arise, if the right things are not done.
There is so much propaganda in this nation that feeds wrongly into the minds of many. It is noteworthy that whether we like it or not, there is going to be a verdict that in varying degrees, will affect us all. Consequently, I wish to strongly advise that we ensure an open-televised trial that would prepare people better and also help to silence both the victor and the vanquished. This will be the right decision to ensure that our children and the new generation live in harmony with one another in peace. The prospects and vision of our nation has no room for a wishy-washy democratic dispensation that is characterized with half truths. This scenario is too luxurious for our emerging democracy and we cannot afford that. It is time we avoid the temptation for complacency and respond appropriately to the hard facts. We are at a serious cross-road and we need serious-minded people to salvage this nation from the precipice of a fatalistic ending into oblivion.
If the average Lawyer typically goes through a lot of books and other texts in the course of his or her training and professional life, a Judge of the Supreme Court of the country would certainly have had and will continue to do much more. It is thus fair to let His Lordships concentrate on picking out the hidden truths in the huge submissions that have been laid before them for the 2012 General Election trial, whilst some of us dig into the Information Archives to share a lesson or two, on why the right judgment must be made in this Case.
I cannot say that all those that conspired to get the nation on its knees, as happened after the 2012 General Election, have been having sleepless nights. However, I have had the good fortune of having watched on TV the late Sadaam Hussein being spat at after his arrest from the dungeon where he had been hiding; Gbabo sprung out of his hotel hideaway wearing only his singlet and pants and the late Gaddafi coming out of his hideaway tunnel to talk to the arresting troops.
The question that kept bugging me as I watched these power drunk gentlemen following their capture and humiliation was, ”Were these not the same characters that in their days of glory, had cast a spell on some of their beneficiaries and fanatical followers to vow to die or do whatever for them?
I will therefore appeal to the custodians of the law at the Supreme Court to answer their most important call to uphold justice before God and man. I pray to God to equip and fortify them with the power of bravery and the wisdom of the law to adjudicate faithfully during this ‘Trial of The Century’ in truth without fear or favor. The decisions by the Court will define the careers of its members as competent, true and credible judges as well as rendering a massive boost to their image and persona for life. Consequently their performance ought to be faultless, realistic and demonstrable in their focused desire to pursue the truth by discerning facts from fiction, without being hindered by any external influences. The resultant outcome should make them proud as Ghanaians for having secured the political stability of their nation at a most challenging period in its evolution. They will even in their after-life, be posthumously remembered in the annals of our history and honoured for their patriotic and learned credentials as true professionals.
This issue is of immense importance to me because of the enormity of my love for this nation and the unborn. Our current leaders need to remember that our forefathers fought hard to redeem this nation from colonial dominance while others sacrificed to ensure participatory democracy. Countrymen and women, democracy is about having the right to express your sovereignty in deciding who represents you and it becomes a farce when your power is subverted. There cannot be peace without justice and fairness. Let the truth set us free and save us all, Amen.