Exposé on judges, why now?

BY: Collins Essamuah
Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo
Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo

Last Tuesday night, I stayed up to carefully watch the Raymond Acquah Joy TV production of the documentary on the abduction and murder of the three high court judges and the retired army officer some 36 years ago, Wednesday, June 30, 1982, and the results since then.

I was deeply disappointed in both the production and content and it reminded me forcefully of a publication in the sister Graphic paper The Mirror around  the same time.  

First things first, on the day the dastardly event took place, I was a final year student at the University of Ghana.

At the very time the abductions took place in the night, I was very busy putting finishing touches to my BA History Long Essay on the impact of the former second Republic Prime Minister, Professor K.A. Busia in my room in Akuafo Hall, supervised then by now Professor Addo-Fening.

Secondly, when the Special Investigations Board was set up after much public disquiet and wrangling by the then military government of the Provisional National Defence Council of then Chairman Jerry Rawlings, I managed to attend each and every public sitting of the SIB except one, which was generally unknown to the public at the time, the appearance of the resigned PNDC member and former Chief of Defence staff, Brigadier Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, in the office of the SIB Chairman, Justice Samuel Azu Crabbe.

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That meeting took place a day before that excellent military gentleman left the country for a long exile, and was hurriedly-arranged to capture his evidence on the record.

Thirdly and most importantly, the report of the SIB, though short and pithy, captured all the main facts surrounding this sad event, and a  precious little has been added since then by other publications or the work of the National Reconciliation Commission in President J.A. Kufuor’s time.

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The most useful publication since the SIB report is the book by Superintendent Jacob Yidana, which contained details of movements and arrests of perpetrators not captured in the definitive SIB report.

The question then which must be answered because all the publications relied on this shoddy documentary have been in the public domain since then and appropriate action taken is, why a rehash of a well-known political crime in the history of this country at this time in 2018? That question has not been answered and having watched the documentary, it was not answered either.

I had some family relationship with at least two of the judges, Cecilia Koranteng-Addow, whose parents were family friends of my father, and Kwadwo Agyapong, who was a classmate of my mother at Kumasi Methodist School before he went  to Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast.

Justice Agyapong’s son, Kwabena, the well-known NPP member was my contemporary at school.

I remember as if it was yesterday, my mother cried for days after the event.

Justice Francis Poku-Sarkodee had earlier made those of us in the opposition Popular Front Party very happy in 1981, the previous year, by dismissing the attempt by the Nkawkaw Member of Parliament then in the third Republic, Kwaku Baah, to reverse his dismissal from the party, so I was very sad he had been killed in such a terrible manner. Major Acquah, I had not even heard of him at the time.

In the event, as fate would have it, it was my own father as President of the Methodist Conference at the time, who preached at the joint funeral service held in the forecourt of the courts in Accra days later.

The above establishes my adult eyewitness credentials to comment and assess this event which had such a deep impact on our government at the time and subsequent matters up to this day, as last Tuesday’s documentary showed.

Now, to the reference to The Mirror publication alluded to.

Up to today, I have not watched the first full length locally produced Ghanaian movie Love Brewed in the African Pot by Kwaw Ansah because of a scathing review written on it by now Professor Kwesi Yankah, now minister of state for tertiary education.

I like well-argued positions founded on logic, and I declined to watch the movie.

That is exactly how I felt watching last Tuesday’s shoddy documentary.

There was no meat anywhere in it. None of the questions posed were original, answerable, or even deserving of a response.

Terrible courses of revolutions

I know a bit about revolutions, and their terrible courses in history from the 1688 Glorious English Revolution to today.

Such things happen when a combination of local and international pressures predict doom and extinction for revolutionary leaders, and shocking crimes are committed to bind more closely the supporters together in a desperate search for survival.

The best example I can readily think of is the murder of the Tsar of Russia and his family on July 18, 1918, by the Bolsheviks of Vladimir Lenin who had come into office about 10 months earlier.

Most people today forget that Nicholas Romanov had earlier abdicated as emperor of Russia and the monarchy abolished long before the murder in Ekaterinburg.

In the case of Ghana, the actual perpetrators were all apprehended and some executed with Lance Corporal  Amedeka fleeing from Ghana.

This official response halted the expected carnage in accordance with the courses of revolutions worldwide, and saved all of us, a more grim past and present and uncertain future.

Waving the red flag of murder and carnage  anytime the  leadership of the ruling New Patriotic Party assumes power also has an American precedent after their civil war which lasted from 1861 to 1865.

The victorious Republicans seeking votes in the rebel South, came around eventually to assume the conservative and racist attitudes of the defeated Southerners, all Democrats, and now it is hard to believe with the election of President Trump, that the Party of Abraham Lincoln freed blacks from slavery in the past.

The above does not even take into account the obvious fact that the documentary is an undisguised attack on the opposition National Democratic Congress irrespective of the knowledge that the current leadership of the party had absolutely nothing to do with the events of 36 years ago, and cannot be blamed for actions they did not take part in.

A diversion?

It is a good question to ask why parties with such antecedents have supporters and win elections.

The answer is simple and straightforward. Extremely few people in any competitive, democratic party join parties because of the past.

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