By Dr. Michael J.K. Bokor
Tuesday, August 23, 2016
Folks, even though I wanted to stay away from hardcore politics, I have found it difficult to do so, especially considering the kinds of material feeding what’s been going on all this while. As a Ghanaian, I am piqued by happenings in our political dispensation; but I won’t cringe because all that is happening seemed to have cast long shadows ahead of them long ago that some failed to see. Those of us who saw those shadows won’t lose any sleep over what has happened thus far.
Is it the pardoning of the Montie 3 Squad by President Mahama and the boring reaction by the NPP camp and its surrogates all over the place that will unsettle us? No!!
What is happening isn’t strange to me. Only ignorant people will jump about to complain and curse President Mahama for pardoning the Montie 3 so-called contemnors. And they are not only ignorant but also politically mischievous, attempting to browbeat President Mahama into falling on a sword that they have placed in front of him by excessively hyping the matter and using it as a trump-card in their narrow political rhetoric to create the impression that everything not seen through their blinkers is dangerously bad for Ghana.
That explains why they were quick to see the case of the Montie 3 as a political (not even constitutional) challenge, warning from Day One that if President Mahama used his constitutionally mandated prerogative of mercy (Article 72), he would be undermining the integrity of the judiciary (just as the contemnors had done). They spat fire to warn President Mahama not to pardon the contemnors. But he has been smart enough to follow laid-down procedures, especially by seeking the advice of the Council of State. And on the basis of that advice, he has acted for the Montie 3 to be released from prison this Friday.
Of course, in performing his constitutionally mandated functions, he has always consulted the Council of State as enjoined by the Constitution wherever possible—whether in the appointment of public officers to specific positions or in firing them from office. His recourse to the Council of State in the matter of the Montie 3 isn’t strange; neither is his acceptance of the Council’s recommendation for him to pardon the contemnors on the basis of the factors that influenced the Council’s decision. The hard truth for the opposition to swallow is that President Mahama has acted constitutionally as such (especially by consulting the Council of State).
As is to be expected, all his opponents have risen up on all fours, howling themselves lame ever since the announcement was made. We have heard some of them claiming that President Mahama’s pardoning of the Montie 3 confirms his “political Armagedon”—whatever it means to them. Do these people think that we don’t know where they belong politically? Or that they have seen the Montie 3 issue as a major political capital to grab in ditching President Mahama all the more? Do they even not know that whether President Mahama pardoned the contemnors or not, it won’t affect their political leaning on Election Day? So, what exactly would they be looking to do with their effusions? And that no matter what happened, it won’t change their negative stance against President Mahama to vote for him on December 7 just on the basis of this Montie 3 issue?
All along, they have come across as die-hard NPP buffs who won’t see anything good being done by the Mahama-led administration, let alone commend the NDC for not being as misguided as they have been. Thus, the Montie 3 albatross would serve their purposes, especially because it has already angered segments of the NDC camp not happy that the contemnors were left undefended by the NDC machine to suffer an unjust fate.
To these disaffected NDC supporters, the Montie 3 were mere victims of circumstance who should be saved and not neglected or sacrificed. They couldn’t have been defending the NDC if they had no love for it as the best party to ensure Ghana’s well-being. And the NDC and its Mahama-led administration have an admirable track record of seeking Ghana’s well-being. So, why not rally around its operatives sacrificing their lot to retain it in power? Does that make the government an NDC-only one as is being alleged by the NPP? Only they know.
Forget about the over-hyped element of threatening the lives of the judges. Any reasonable person monitoring happenings and the rhetoric from the contemnors will know that they have no means or capability to do the judges in. That was what the BNI told the world after investigating the matter but which the shameless political opponents of the Mahama-led administration won’t understand or accept because it doesn’t fit into their kind of rogue politics.
And they are about, twisting everything to sustain their bubbles of self-righteousness. In more serious circumstances involving culprits, former Ghanaian leaders exercised their prerogative of mercy to free deviants from the noose. Just a few examples: What would have been the fate of Nana Konadu Agyemang-Rawlings had Kufuor not used that power to stop her trial? How about Alex Hamah in the days of Kutu Akyeampong who had told the whole world after his conviction and committal to death by firing squad for plotting against Akyeampong (In his saddening plea: “I am too young to die”!)?
Many others followed suit. Can anybody imagine how the NPP’s senile Joseph Henry Mensah and many others could return to Ghana to participate in their kind of rogue politics against Rawlings if he hadn’t pardoned them? For the records, J.H. Mensah had recruited mercenaries and bought all kinds of weapons for a massive attack on Ghana under Rawlings in what became known as the “Nobistor Affair” in 1987.
Many of the so-called security operatives that Kufuor engaged (including the despicable Francis Opoku and major Sulemana) would have been snuffed out if Rawlings hadn’t exercised some powers of pardon and mercy. Akufo-Addo’s Capt. Koda and the so-called military failure called Budu Koomson would have vanished into thin air if someone in authority hadn’t exercised a power of mercy and pardon.
On that score, anybody seeking to know and follow the drift of Ghanaian politics in our time within the context of the pardoning of these Montie 3 contemnors must act with circumspection. Infantile threats by Maurice Ampaw to go on a 10-day hunger strike in protest against the pardoning of the Montie 3 contemnors add more vim to the anti-Mahama camp’s “Concert Party”. He can go on an UNLIMITED hunger strike. Why choose only 10 days? Is this character not ridiculous, after all? There are many like him who fear their own shadows!!
Just before signing off, let me remind readers that in an earlier opinion piece, I had stated my position that I saw nothing wrong with the condemnation of the Montie 3 by the Supreme Court. I did so on the basis of whatever I assessed. As the Supreme Court thought it wise to do, so did it do in the context of the Constitution. In the same vein, what the Constitution urges the President to do in the performance of his legitimate functions is what he has done. So, what is what now for anybody to cry over?
If the NPP people (who are the loudest critics of what President Mahama has done) find it necessary to condemn him, what can’t they do to help us refine our constitution? What are they in Parliament for? In the first place, they played no significant part in the formulation of the Constitution. So, what is the justification for all this howling? What is written is written.
In the second place, they are more bent on capitalizing on every happening than in providing better alternatives for solving pertinent problems. Self-seeking is their lot. That is not good for Ghana.
Folks, I want to end here by saying that what has happened has happened and will not change just because some voices are vehemently condemning it. The Council of State gave the President the line to use in handling the matter, which he complied with. What would have happened had he rejected the Council’s recommendation?
And considering the fact that if President Mahama didn’t pardon the Montie 3, it would demoralize and break apart his own political front, what else should he do? Moreover, what can the Supreme Court panel that dealt with the contemnors do? Is there any option left for them in a bid to assert a kind of judicial independence? Does our Constitution give them any clout thereby? These are serious issues for us to ponder over. Those who will narrow everything down to the angle that they want to prosecute their rogue politics from will not help us know more than we do now. And they are not needed in the conversation.
I shall return…
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