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Re-Name Legon After J B Danquah: A Passionate Re-Appeal

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

 

            The decision by the Judicial Council of Ghana, led by Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, to name a court-building complex in memory of the late President John Evans Atta-Mills is rather curious, to put it mildly (See “Judiciary to Name Court Complex After Mills” Ghanaweb.com 8/1/12). And I hereby solemnly predict that this knee-jerk decision by key operatives of the ruling National Democratic Congress and their Fifth-Column collaborators to deny equal honor to the true heroes and real founders of Ghanaian democracy is bound to have deleterious repercussions in our country in the near future.

 

In the main, Justice Wood commends our recently deceased president for releasing the sum of $50 million, of the taxpayer’s money, to facilitate the timely construction of the aforesaid court complex. Needless to say, it was squarely within the functional purview of a democratically elected Ghanaian president to promote the integrity and efficiency of the judicial arm of the government. Thus in complying with the proverbial call of duty, President Mills performed no charitable or voluntary service to both the judiciary and Ghanaians at large, contrary to what the Chief Justice would have the rest of the world believe, and for which the judiciary ought to be especially grateful.

 

My particular problem here, though, regards whether, indeed, the authority and/or decision to naming the aforesaid complex, or any other architectural landmark, for that matter, after our late leader falls under the job description of the Judicial Council of Ghana and Chief Justice Wood, or that the laid-down procedure for such a culturally crucial undertaking, falls squarely within the purview of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board in statutory consultation with the legislative arm of government, or Parliament, as it were.

 

As it stands, Justice Wood clearly appears to be shamelessly pandering to the whims and caprices of the newly-sworn Mahama-Arthur government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which, under the tenure of President Mills, was not particularly known to be professionally cordial with the judiciary. For, not only had several landmark decisions by the court, including the Ya-Na Affair and the Obetsebi-Lamptey Verdict, been publicly and vehemently denounced by the Mills-Mahama government, and the credibility and integrity of the Court cynically impugned, Chief Justice Wood herself had on several occasions been threatened with summary dismissal. Then there was also that epically scandalous moment when the now-late President Mills either flatly refused to acknowledge Justice Wood, during a State-of-the-Nation Address, or simply determined that her presence on the floor of our National Assembly was flagrantly uncalled for. He would later claim that Mrs. Wood had been positioned on his blind side. So much for “Trokosi” diplomacy!

 

The then-Candidate Mills also marched lock-step with his mentor and chief patron, and Ghana’s longest-reigning dictator turned civilian and democratically elected leader, former President Jeremiah John Rawlings on countless occasions, during the Tsatsu Tsikata embezzlement cum causing financial loss to the state trial, into the premises of court houses, with legions of party apparatchiks slavishly in tow, to vehemently denounce and intimidate trial judges, including Justice Harriet Abban, whom the cartoon-faced Mr. Tsikata variously characterized as an “ugly bitch” and a “nincompoop.”

 

            And so, really, for Justice Wood to suddenly emerge out of the proverbial woodwork, no pun intended, of course, and “hagiographize” the late President Mills ought to boggle the mind of any studious observer of the erstwhile Mills-Mahama government.

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

Associate Professor

Department of English

Nassau Community College of the State University of New York

Garden City, Long Island

August 1, 2012

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