Friday, 16 August 2013

Supreme Court Judgment and Lessons After

August 29 is Ghana's Political Judgement Day. And as uncertainty swirls around who eventually carries the day, it is certain that the effects of the sentence imposed on the two NPP strongmen will ripple far and wide in the country's political square. The party's General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, popularly called Sir John was yesterday convicted by the Supreme Court of criminal contempt and fined five thousand Ghana cedis. He was also bonded to be of good behaviour for six months and to retract and apologise for his contemptuous words on Oman FM. Hopeson Adorye, a member of NPP's Communications Team was also convicted of criminal contempt for a similar offence and fined two thousand Ghana cedis and bonded to be of good behaviour for three months or in default face three months imprisonment. 

The spectacle in the Supreme Court was as serious as dramatic. The Supreme Court President, Justice William Atuguba unleashed the full force of his legal Sledge-hammer  to flatten the culprits and wondered why the state should become anaemic to people like them. True, it was Sir John and Adorye who tasted the bitterest fury of the Presiding Judge. In reality however, politicians of all partisan stripes, supporters of all personality traits and elements of all ignoble proportions elsewhere met their match over their blood curdling rhetoric and dish watery utterances which cause shackles to rise and tensions to grow beyond tolerable level. 

In all electoral battles, the tongue can go ballistic once in a while. But in our context nothing can rationalize the indecency with which political rivals swap insults and the frequency with which they talk slovenly in public. Indeed, Justice Atuguba spoke for all peace-loving and well meaning Ghanaians when he attacked the goofy side of a few illegal political miners who hold 24 million others hostage by their styles of politicking which endanger national stability and imperil national security. 

By so doing, he won the overwhelming approval of the punitive response, of the Supreme Court to deal surgically and ruthlessly with all such offenders before they plunge the nation unto destruction. Strangely, the political hierarchy of these offenders sometimes react at best with furrowed brows. Other times, they defend the indefensible, all in the name of party solidarity, this practice must end. Leaders of offending political parties must weigh the possible backlash within their ranks against  the overall implications of their misdeeds on the entire and act with swiftness and firmness to discipline their own. 

The two culprits before the Supreme Court had never lacked the verbal arsenals to face their opponents any time, anywhere. But for the first time in their career, they lost the temperamental where withal to hit back. In the admission of Sir John, he was humbled by the baptism of fire yesterday. Immediately after the hellish but humbling experience, Sir John spoke to party supporters in a manner which reflected a man drained of every pint of contemptuous blood in him and emptied of every acidic words in his mouth.  

A  political born-again indeed. Politicians of all sides of the political spectrum and people of all social strata must eat a similar humble pie and demonstrate their new birth in politics. Never again should our political discourse be characterised by curses and noises but arguments and sentiments within the bounds of reasonableness to win the hearts and souls of the discerning public. Sections of the media which amplify and multiply unguarded statements by certain politicians must also purge themselves of all acts of professional irresponsibility and ethical misconduct. 

Rather, they must scale up their role in peace building and political tolerance. As the Supreme Court prepares to pronounce its supreme verdict on August 29, we all have a responsibility imposed by destiny to help matriculate Ghana into a new nation built on the supremacy of the law, respect for divergent views and adherence to the values of democracy.


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