Amanda Clinton lists five reasons why NDC must tread cautiously
Although the appointment of 11 Supreme Court judges by Mr Nana Akufo-Addo in the last 2 years would be enough to make any political party think twice about seeking redress from the Supreme Court in Ghana; it appears that Mr John Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have no other option but to go to COURT!!!!!.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr Asiedu Nketia, recently stated emphatically that: “So why do you want to go to court when the person who knows that when you go to court, you will need A, B, C [pink sheets] and they are blocking your means of getting there so that you cannot go to court. And then sycophants will be sitting outside, and shouting go to court.” Arguably however the only way to force the Electoral Commission to produce pink sheets the NDC claims the Electoral Commission is withholding is to seek a swift injunction compelling Mrs Jean Mensah’s Office to produce the pink sheets. Especially since obtaining the sheets will supposedly pave the way for a Supreme Court bid.
As an international lawyer who has been involved in two recent public interest cases in Ghana -Menzgold and Ghana Football Association (GFA); to some extent, I understand (but do not fully agree) with the NDC’s current overall strategy.
2. PUBLIC AWARENESS SENSITIZATION CAMPAIGNS
I agree with the public awareness sensitization campaign the NDC is mounting. This is because in the GFA case a few years ago; my clients, the former Executive Committee members of GFA, were swiftly injuncted by this current government from even holding themselves out as Ex-Co members and prevented from speaking to the press with half of Ghana believing (through a sophisticated government propaganda campaign) that the GFA was already liquidated.
Furthermore, as I have all too readily appreciated in the last 4 years, a government full of sophisticated lawyers from top to bottom infiltrating and dominating this current government; has the stamina and ingenuity to paint a believable but flawed picture publically when it came to the GFA especially after the embarrassing Anas expose against the current President. The GFA being an organization which would have been liquidated and replaced by a more government-centric entity; had advocacy on our part not lead to FIFA intervening with the threat that they would ban Ghana from international football if the government did not withdraw their petition in court to liquidate over 20 million dollars’ worth of de facto FIFA property in Ghana. International sensitization of the dilemma we were facing in Ghana in part lead to the survival of the GFA as an entity with the government withdrawing their case in court and the concession being that the former Ex-Co would have to disband.
International public sensitization, therefore, goes a long way in public interest matters, particularly the NDC’s high profile claim that the recent presidential elections were woefully flawed.
After all, this is a current government that picks and chooses when it is in the ‘public interest.’ With GFA, the current government sought and secured a swift early morning ex parte injunction freezing ALL GFA bank accounts ahead of the matter being heard in court to prevent the alleged dissipation of assets in the ‘public interest,’ the public interest, in this case, being football. When it came to Nana Appiah Mensah of Menzgold however, a seasoned criminal with over 20 current charges against him, causing mass financial loss to countless Ghanaians well into millions of dollars; this government waited at least FOUR months to seek an ex parte injunction to freeze bank accounts, four months after S.E.C’s letter that no new customers could deposit in Menzgold. NAM1 of course currently being allowed to live in his property in Trasacco by the government; without a pesewa of his monies collected by a government who goes to court and adjourns his case for over a year. Nam1 who is also, as of last month, offering the general public his new venture, Zylophone properties ( a large estate in Ghana) which was offered to all of Ghana with of course his congratulatory message to Akufo-Addo on Ghanaweb following NPP’s alleged presidential win.
Yes, this is a government that picks and chooses what is a public interest, when to apply it and to what extent to apply it.
3. THE RULE OF LAW STILL PREVAILS IN GHANA
As such, although the appointment of 11 Supreme Court judges by Mr Nana Akufo-Addo in the last 2 years would be enough to make any political party think twice about seeking redress from the Supreme Court; the NDC has got to believe in the judiciary to save face publically. Afterall, Malawi recently overturned their 2019 presidential elections with their Supreme Court agreeing that the elections were seriously flawed.
4. NDC MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Furthermore, as entertaining as it may be to watch the latest daily antics from different members of the NDC; they have got to remember that they are a serious political party in Ghana who was recently in power with some credibility remaining and a former President of Ghana leading their cause. Mr Mahama must, therefore DEMONSTRATE his reliance and a fundamental belief in the rule of law. For the international spotlight is now firmly on Ghana further to high profile international meetings being held by the NDC team. Furthermore, our esteemed judges both in the High Court and the Supreme Court got to where they are professional because of their undeniable and unshakable belief in truth and justice.
As the public, therefore, we may all have to put our belief in the fact that come what may, the higher road might be taken by our judiciary, should they find considerable flaws in the way this 2020 presidential election was declared by the Electoral Commission and call for a new election.
5. LESSONS TO BE LEARNT-FAMILY AND FRIENDS GOVERNMENT
If we as Ghanaians have learnt anything in the last 4 years, it must rest on this one thing. No newly formed government in this country can remain credible and objective if they pack family and friends throughout the government. It is unheard of in most the world that the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission would be the niece of the wife of the sitting President; with more of a Non-government organisation profile albeit a lawyer by training. It is further unheard of to allegedly have the recently retired Chief Justice as a cousin to the current serving President and the current Attorney General as another cousin, and friends and family throughout the government. So much so that it may well have caused the NPP such a historical loss in terms of recent NPP MPs that will not be returning to parliament next year.
If we have to write it in our laws; set up better committees to ensure that a family and friends government is a thing of the past in Ghana, there is no better time than now.
Ultimately because a family and friends government does not infer corruption. It, however, leads to a presumption of being morally prevented from carrying out the highest form of checks and balances since in our part of the world; you cannot arrest; fire or question your family-or as the last four years have shown- making an enemy of your family is not a good bedfellow.