Sep
17

CAN THE ICC HALT GHANA’S INEXORABLE MARCH TOWARDS NATIONAL, ‘SELF-INFLICTED GENOCIDE’?

Sep
13

CAN YOU HAVE DEMOCRACY WITHOUT DEMOCRATS?

Can You Have Democracy Without Democrats?

 

Democracy is not a concept that is too difficult to understand. It allows for what can be put in the Ghanaian language, Twi, as ‘ka-bi-ma-me-nka bi’: (literally, “You say your piece — and let me too say mine”.)

But “saying one’s piece” throws up several problems. What should be the content of my piece? Should it be allowed to contain insults to your person? Should it be allowed to include words that could incite hatred against you and which could therefore cause physical harm to be inflicted upon your person or your property?

It is in order to ensure that the exercise of one person’s democratic rights should not end in the abuse of another person’s own that society has invented “referees” who can listen to both sides, when a dispute arises, and come to a fair and unbiased determination of the rights and wrongs of particular cases presented to them for adjudication. These impartial referees can be either judges appointed to the judicial “bench”, or institutions, members of whose boards are selected by a laid-down procedure. In all these processes, the assumption is that those who are selected or appointed would, as soon as they become designated as official “referees”, jettison their personal predilections and act as unbiased assessors of facts, and thus arrive at conclusions that can be acceptable as fair to both sides in a dispute.

But what happens if the people who are put on such independent institutions are self-seekers who do not, in fact, believe in the impartial processes they are supposed to observe in their task of adjudicating issues? What if they urn out to be what, in the parlance of Ghanaian village football spectators, are known as a “referee konkonsa” (a referee with a pre-determined agenda)? At a village football match, what usually happens is that there is a pitch invasion, during which not only the referee but members of the team who have benefited from his biased rulings may be beaten to within an inch of their lives.

This creates an unhealthy situation whereby referees refuse to officiate at village football matches. (That partly explains why village football is dying out in rural Ghana and why everyone these days tries to find a TV set with a satellite dish, on which Real Madrid and Barcelona, Arsenal and Spurs, Manchester United and Manchester City, can strut their stuff.)

In many ways, modern African society is organised like a village football match: independent referees (judges) are needed to serve on the courts; on the boards of institutions such as the Universities, the publicly-owned media, and above all, the Electoral Commission. The Ghana Constitution, for instance, tries, as far as possible, to devise ways in which such bodies can operate in a manner that can make them independent of the Government of the day. But a lot depends on the individuals appointed to these institutions. Some people are “afraid of democracy”– even the mere “spirit” of it — and no matter what the ideals the Constitution espouses, they would much rather act either on the express instructions of a cheque-wielding executive, or in a voluntarily sycophantic manner, if they have secret affinities to the executive.

People appointed to the Electoral Commission are particularly vital in ensuring that democracy thrives in a country. As I write, Election Commissions in two African countries — Gabon and the Seychelles Islands — have taken actions that have produced diametrically opposite election results. In Gabon, the Electoral Commission has made a present of the presidential election held on 27 August 2016 to the incumbent President, Ali Bongo, by giving him victory — with only about 6,000 votes, it’s true — but victory all the same!

Now, in a “first-past-the-post” election, the number of votes by which Bongo won doesn’t matter – even a majority of one is still a majority! But in Gabon’s case, the process by which even the slim majority of 6,000 was gifted to Ali Bongo beggars belief: in one province, Upper Ogooué (the “stronghold” of President Ali Bongo) the results declared by the Gabonese Electoral Commission indicated that 99.83% of the electorate turned out to vote, and that95.46% of them voted for Ali Bongo!

“The adjustment has been brutal!” wrote a Correspondent of the French daily, Le Monde., “ For this means that only 50 voters of the 71,786 registered on the electoral list of Upper Ogooué, as published in April 2016, did not go to vote!”

The Correspondent quoted one European diplomat as describing the result as “whimsical”. But even with 95.46% of votes allocated to him in that home province of his, Ali Bongo “raided” the voting system to obtain “what had been lacking” – enough votes “to finally overtake Jean Ping with a majority of some 6,000 votes at the national level. Miracle!” the Correspondent added.

No wonder Mr Jean Ping announced on 8 September 2016 that he had appealed to the Constitutional Court of Gabon to contest the results. He is asking the Constitutional Court to order a recount at Upper Ogooué. Jean Ping charged that participation in the election in the province, which would have had to be 100% and which gave more than 95% of the vote to Al Bongo, had “been inflated to give the victory to Ali Bongo.”

Actually, past presidents of Gabon are said to have “mastered the art of rigging elections”. (Indeed, it was distrust the Constitutional Court – dubbed by the opposition as “the Leaning Tower” because it always “leans” toward the incumbent — that made Jean Ping hesitate before filing his challenge.) “In the time of Ali’s father [Omar Bongo who ruled the country from 1967 until his death in 2009], the “family fiefdom” of Upper Ogooué always served as a means of ”adjusting” the results in such as a way as would ensure their victory.

“But they have miscalculated, this time” says the Le Monde Correspondent. He adds that they did not expect Jean Ping to secure such a high percentage of the votes. Pig’s  share was boosted by the unity within the opposition movements and the erosion of popular support for the Bongo family, whose suspected corruption is put at a level that defies credibility.

Meanwhile, in the Seychelles Islands, on the other hand, a fair-minded and impartial Electoral Commission has just handed the opposition Seychelles National Party (SNP) and its partners (four smaller opposition parties) together known as The Seychellois Alliance, victory in Parliamentary elections, against the incumbent government. Before the result was announced, the President, Mr James Michel (who evidently respects the “spirit of democracy”) had declared that he would work with the newly elected legislature, no matter what the result. “My hope is that the spirit of consultation continues in the new National Assembly, where we shall all work together for the common good of our nation.,” President Michel said.

The question is: how can we ensure that election results in Africa are not dependent on Electoral Commissions and Constitutional Courts whose decisions are so biased that they cannot be accepted by the whole populace as impartial? This is what I wrote about this subject nearly seven years ago: (in October 2010, to be exact):

QUOTE: “We have seen, through blood on the streets, that African elections are too important to be left to chance. No political event is more dangerous than an African general election. In Kenya, a ‘minor’ civil war did occur in December 2007, when election results were declared in a manner that the populace clearly thought was manipulated… Several thousand people were killed in inter-ethnic fighting that arose out of the dissatisfaction with the election’s results as declared, and many more were rendered homeless and became internal refugees.. The unrest continued far into 2008.” UNQUOTE

But the preservation of life during elections has not become a priority that pre-occupies the councils of Africa’s political bodies. For instance, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is trying seriously to provide citizens of the region with a common passport. Now, that’s all well and good. But who will use the passports if, in the mean time, the citizens have slaughtered one another in the wake of disputed election results?

I pray ECOWAS to take the lead in Africa and set up a Regional Electoral Commissionthat can supervise elections in all the countries in West Africa. Such a step, if successful, would undoubtedly persuade the African Union too to set up other Regional Electoral Commissions all over the continent.It’s no use merely sending “observers” who cannot influence the actual results, and whose “post-mortem” barbs can be — and usually are — dismissed with contempt as “imperialist-style interference” by the government that benefits from the rigging of the votes. Indeed, second only to the election itself, an Electoral Commission in cahoots with an incumbent government is the greatest threat to the lives of the people of every country in Africa.

ENDPIECE: Would it not be an ironical twist of fate if Mr Jean Ping of Gabon, former Chair of the AU, were to be invited to provide first-hand evidence to support the idea of Continental or Regional Electoral Commissions? Jean Ping didn’t react in the immediate past when I wrote in several publications, advocating the idea of non-local Electoral Commissions, when he was still AU Chair. I bet that with benefit of hindsight — obtained from the “eventful” electioneering experience he’s just been through in Gabon — he now wishes he’d paid attention at the time!

Sep
10

GIVE IT TO GOD AND LET’S MOVE ON!

GIVE IT TO GOD” AND “LET’S MOVE ON!”
By CAMERON DUODU
 
On 3 September 2016, Myjoyonline.com reported that
a former Clerk of Ghana’s Parliament, Mr S N Darkwa, had described as an error, the “outright dismissal of a motion brought before [the current Speaker, Mr Doe Adjaho] by the Minority, in respect of the controversial Ford gift scandal involving President John Mahama”.
Mr Stephen Darkwa, who was Clerk of our Parliament from 1961 to 1997 (minus the years of military rule|), said “Parliament is the highest forum to debate matters, and the best the Speaker could have done on the controversial Ford scandal was to have [had] the matter debated.”
He was speaking on Multi TV and Joy FM’s news analysis program Newsfile, in reaction to the drama on the floor of Parliament on Thursday. 1 September 2016. “Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho, within 15 minutes, shot down a motion filed by the Minority under Article 112 (3) of the Constitution, requesting a bipartisan parliamentary probe into the circumstances under which a Burkinabe contractor and business man gifted President John Mahama a Ford vehicle after winning a contract from the government of Ghana,” MyJoyonline reported.
Mr Darkwa explained that it was only when the matter raised in a motion was sub judice (under judicial consideration and therefore prohibited from public discussion elsewhere) that a matter could not be debated on the floor of Parliament.
MyJoyonline pointed out thatby his training” Mr Darkwa was not supposed to publicly criticize the Speaker, even after exiting Parliament. Yet Mr Darkwa had made his comment “for the public good and for education”. He declared: “The Speaker ought to have allowed the matter to be discussed on the floor… . The Speaker has sole responsibility for the admissibility of a motion”, but it “must be done in accordance with the law,” Mr Darkwa said.
It is of great significance that Mr Darkwa came out of retirement to make a pronouncement on Doe Adjaho’s ruling. It is evident that unlike the typical Ghanaian pubic servant. Mr Darkwa is acutely interested in the continued efficacy of the institution to which he devoted most of his working life. You see, he has authored, together with the first Clerk of the National Assembly of independent Ghana, Mr K B Ayensu, a book on The Evolution of Parliament in Ghana. (Sub-Saharan Publishers ISBN 9789988550769).
Having been publicly rebuked by someone who can be considered an authority on Parliamentary procedure, Speaker Doe Adjaho has no leg to stand on. In many democracies, a Speaker who loses the respect of the Minority, would resign immediately, for it is in his impartiality towards the proposals of the Minority that a Speaker demonstrates whether he has the fairness of mind required to earn him the trust of those who are enjoined to look to him as “The Father of the House”. Although the executive may not know it, a respected Speaker who faithfully abides by the Constitutional requirement that there should be a “Separation of Powers”, can be extremely useful to the executive.
Under the “Separation of Powers”, Parliament has the the authority to oversee the work of the executive and to withhold funds from the executive if Parliament comes to believe that the executive is acting corruptly or with incompetence. Thus, a good Speaker would pay great attention to what is said in the House, and in particular, to “the mood” of the House. For he can convey feedback to the executive – especially the President – that will make the executive think twice about measures it’s taken, or proposes to take, that will not go down well with the people.
Of course, when you have what is known in Twi as a patapaa [someone who acts arbitrarily, without due regard to custom or good sense] Government in power, the last thing it wants is feedback. Such a Government will have no qualms about turning “The Father of the House” into a patapaa Speaker, in line with its own character.
I must say I have not been at all impressed with the performance of the Minority in Parliament over this issue. In view of the Speaker’s earlier performance over the Merchant Bank issue in 2014,
the Minority should have anticipated that over the Ford car issue too, the Speaker might want to “guillotine” any discussion of it (as it were). They should therefore have evolved a strategy beforehand to deal with such a situation if it did indeed arise. Parliamentary procedure generally and the Standing Orders in particular, afford MPs who are conversant with the rules, an opportunity to “make their presence felt”, if, in their view, the Speaker becomes dictatorial.
In these days of “social media”, there are ways of graphically conveying disenchantment to the populace. For instance, what would the Speaker have done if the MPs who disagreed with his authoritarian ruling had “sat in” and refused to leave the House?Any attempt by the Speaker to have them forcibly removed by the Serjeant-at-arms with the help of the police, would have made great pictures for mobile phone video cameras, through which the event could have been transmitted to the public on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and applications of that type.
The MPs could also have held an ”alternative Parliament” somewhere, at which they would have made all the speeches they had wanted to make, – and more – if the Speaker had allowed them to carry out their constitutional duty of giving voice to their views. Speaker Adjaho had “capriciously” deprived them of the ”tongues” with which their constituents had armed them at the last election? Okay – show him and his bosses that the voice of the people cannot be stifled! Sow them that the “voice of the people is the voice of God”!
As it is, I am afraid that, as in so many other things, the Ghanaian attitude of “Give it to God” will prevail. Our MPs, with a difficult general election campaign on their minds, will simply “move on”.
But that would be a mistake. For what Doe Adjaho has done can set a precedent to be followed by the Speaker who will preside over the future Parliament (to which they are busy seeking re-election) if he too elects to act like someone with – a patapaa mentality!

Sep
07

HAVE GHANAIANS BEEN TURNED INTO DUMB BEASTS OR WHAT?

HAVE GHANAIANS BEEN TURNED INTO DUMB BEASTS OR WHAT?

IT was our greatest song-writer, the late Owura Ephraim Amu, who confessed in his “Kente song” that:

Akyinkyin akyinyin
Ama mahu nneɛma aaa;
Akyinkyin akyinkyin
Ama mate nsɛm aaa,
Asante Bonwere Kente nwene deɛ,
Minhuu bi da oooo!
Asante Bonwere Kente nwene deɛ,
Mentee bi da oooo!...”

(My wanderings have enabled me to see all sorts of things…. but as for the way Asante kente is woven at Bonwere, I have never seen the like of it before!…. never heard of anything like it before!)

Now, Owura Amu was of Ewe [precisely, Peki] descent, but many of the lovely songs he wrote were composed in Twi. Thus, many more Ghanaians are fortunate enough to be familiar with his songs than would have been the case if he had only used his native tongue in his artistic creations.

Indeed, his song, “Yen ara asaase ni” ought to be the national anthem of Ghana. But every time the issue is raised, the bogey of “Akan domination” is raised by ethnic chauvinists to kick the issue to the touchline. Amu proved that a person of one ethnicity can get so well versed –literally – in the language of another ethnicity that he could create magnificent songs in that other language, though it’s not “his own.

But instead of allowing Amu to inspire us to admire artistic greatness, whatever its source, we bicker and stick to our squalid ethnic prejudices.

I first heard Owura Amu’s Yen Ara Asaase ni in junior school many many moons ago. But I still remember almost every word of it, because the words contain so much meaning. In contrast, I doubt whether many people remember the English-language national anthem we currently use. The words of that song are so general and opaque that the Ghana embassy at the Hague, for one, has jumped the gun by providing the words of Yen ara asaaseni as the Twi “translation” of “God bless our homeland Ghana”!!

For good measure, Ewe and Ga versions of Yen Ara asaase ni are also given, presumably to be taken as a translation of the English text. Excellent work, our guys at Den Haag! (To see their website, please go to: http://www.ghanaembassy.nl/ index.php/about-ghana/ghana- at-a-glance/71-ghana-national- anthem.html

(By the way, whatever happened to the words I faintly recollect in an earlier version of the national anthem: “God lift high the flag of Ghana” or something? That would seem to be more in sync with our collective psyche, which wishes to pass on to other people, the tasks that we should be undertaking ourselves!

Jokes aside – my thoughts are dominated by patriotic notions right now because I’ve been chafing all weekend over a news item I read on the website of CITIFM,

QUOTE:“The Kyebi Water Treatment plant has been shut down because the water has been leftuntreatable. The plant which serves much of the Eastern Region was shut down due to the effects of … galamsey on the plant.

“The Public Relations Officer of the Ministry of Water Resources and Works and Housing, Abraham Otabil confirmed the shutdown to Citi News.

We must all be concerned about galamsey

Galamsey could force closure of 3 treatment dams – Ministry

“Currently the Kyebi water system being run by the Ghana Water Company has been temporarily shut down. This is due to the …. rise [in] the water turbidity and also,… the raw water colour which has exceeded the threshold value of 200 mtu, as per the plant design and construction…[This] has rendered the … fresh water resources untreatable,” he added.

Citi News [had earlier] reported that three treatment plants risked closure if galamsey miners [who are destroying the water sources] were not evicted. The plants are Daboase Treatment Plant, the Barekese Dam and the Kyebi Water Treatment Plant. Activities of these [galamseyoperators] are affecting the treatment of water, further increasing the cost of water production.

“Abraham Otabil said [his company is] currently engaging the stakeholders within the Kyebi area to find a lasting solution to the matter. “Kyebi and its immediate surrounding communities are going to be affected,” he added.

[Meanwhile] “The Executive Director of 5fifty Documentary Limited, Edem Srem, had earlier called on Ghanaians in urban areas to show concern about the effect of galamsey activities in the country. Speaking to Citi News at the viewing of a [new] documentary dubbed, ‘Galamsey,the other side‘ Edem Srem said it is about time stakeholders come together to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion on the matter.

“…When you visit most of the rivers that have been polluted by the activities of galamsey, you realize that fish caught by fishermen [there] tastes sour and bitter, making it dangerous for consumption. In Accra, we always assume we are safe because we think the… things… brought to Accra are [fresh]. But the question we need to ask is, where are those fresh foods comingfrom?”

I have been chafing at these reports because warnings have not been exactly lacking about the grave and disastrous water situation. I myself have written so much about this galamseyproblem that I often have to stop myself from tackling the subject again.

If you are patient enough to read some of the articles listed below, you will appreciate truly, that what is happening today should not come as a surprise to anyone:

THE COLLECTIVE MADNESS THAT HAS STRUCK GHANA — galamsey — STRIKES … NEW YEAR HONOURS LIST by CAMERON DUODU www.cameronduodu.com

Intelligence On Galamsey | Cameron Duodu
cameronduodu.com/tag/ intelligence-on-galamsey

WHAT CAN AKYEM ABUAKWA DO ABOUT GALAMSEY? By CAMERON DUODU The Akyems are among the most democratic people in the world. When a …

Ghana: The murky world of galamsey – New African Magazine newafricanmagazine.com/ghana- murky-world-galamsey/Cameron Duodu; 3 March 2015;

How can anyone watch this galamsey film and do nothing? | Feature …

www.ghanaweb.com/…/How-can- anyone-watch-this-galamsey- film-and-...

16 Dec 2014 – I have been crying in my heart for many months over Ghana’s galamsey problem. (See my website www.cameronduodu.com)

SAVE US FROM GALAMSEY! – Modernghana.com
https://www.modernghana.com/ news/…/save-us-from- galamsey.html

11 May 2013 – .SAVE US FROM GALAMSEY! By Cameron Duodu … Indeed, when I first heard of the ‘galamsey’ phenomenon, I just laughed. It was the language …

This Galamsey Thing Has Become A War! – Modernghana.com

https://www.modernghana.com/.. ./this-galamsey-thing-has- become-a-wa...

5 Feb 2014 – By Cameron Duodu … So the galamsey people want to kill this sacred Lake, as well, … What the

galamsey operators are doing is no different.
Ghana News – I would never have believed that – Cameron Duodu writes

ghana-news.adomonline.com/…/ i-would-never-have-believed- that-david...

. When I stood at the …
Cameron Duodu | The Guardian
https://plus.google.com/…/ posts/7c7Kz5JB9bo

martin kantaraka
6 Jan 2015 – THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES OF UNCONCERN ABOUT GALAMSEY | Cameron Duodu

CHINESE FORTUNE-HUNTERS AND GALAMSEY IN GHANA …https://plus.google.com/… /posts/HPUPsxAVw8v

BACK TO MAIN ARTICLE: It is heartening to hear that OccupyGhana has said it will henceforth throw its full weight behind the battle against galamsey. For unless someone can convince me that Ghanaians have somehow been turned into dumb beasts in the way that Circe turned the crew of Ulysses into swine to whom she fed acorns, we should’t sit down and allow anyone to turn our water bodies into mud-pits. For even animals like dogs and horses recognise the value of water. If you watch wild life films on TV, you will be amazed at the distances elephants (for instance) will travel to get to water during a period of drought.

Yet we, proud citizens of Ghana, are sitting down and inviting thirst to come and kill us!

It is beyond my comprehension.
ENDPIECE: I regret to inform my readers that Mr Joseph Mensah, who was my close collaborator when I was editor of Drum Magazine, and who rose from Shorthand Typist to become Editor of the magazine, has been gathered unto his fathers. I shall publish a full obituary of him on my website in due course.

I have also learnt with extreme sadness that Drum’s ace photographer, Christian Gbagbo, also departed from us quite some time ago. My heartfelt condolences to the families of these men, without whose artistry and hard work Drum would never have become the magazine it was before economic hardship – and the treachery of some of its own accounting staff – drove it off the streets of Ghana for good in the 1970s.

http://www.cameronduodu.com/

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Sep
03

SPEAKER DOE ADJAHO HAS UNILATERALLY ABOLISHED THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GHANA’S PARLIAMENT

MR SPEAKER, SIR, YOU HAVE UNILATERALLY ABOLISHED THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GHANA’S PARLIAMENT!

By CAMERON DUODU
—0—


Perhaps I should not have been surprised when I heard that the Speaker of the National Assembly, The Right Honourable Doe Adjaho, had disallowed the Motion the Minority wanted to present to the House, asking it to investigate reports that President John Mahama had received a  car as a “gift” from a Burkinabe contractor. The contractor subsequently obtained some contracts from the Government of Ghana, and so, the “gift” can be considered a “bribe”– and in its oversight role, that’s a proper issue fior Parliament to be concerned with.


I should not have been surprised at Adjaho’s action because the Government of which he is a member (he was put in the job of Speaker of the Legislature by the Majority NDC, which is in power at the executive level as well as in the Legislature) is so notorious for flouting normal rules with impunity that it is almost naïve to expect it to do anything else.


Indeed, Mr Adjaho had set a precedent for himself in “impunity” by acting in precisely the same manner, over the sale of Merchant Bank to a company called Fortiz in 2014. He got away with that, thanks to the iability of the Opposition to demonstrate that he had flouted  the Constitution in blocking the  parliamentary scrutiny of a transaction that involved public funds, namely, capital taken from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust. How can one man impose his understanding of what the functions of Parliament are, on the elected representatives of the people? After all, was it not Parlaiemtnt that voted him in as its Speaker? How can the “servant” force his point of view upon his employer?
 
But even though in blocking Parliamentary scrutiny of the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, Mr Adjaho acted ultra vires, (that is, he acted “beyond the powers of his office”) he at least had the fig leaf of the sub judice rule to cover his patently partisan act. (In fairness to the Opposition, they might have bowed to a rather narrow interpretation of the sub judice rule.)
A  narrow interpretation of the  sub judice rule? Yes — it is a well-known  stratagem for clever lawyers,  to rush to file a writ in court, when they want to  gag both the media (and in this case, even Parliament) on realising  that embarrassing disclosures might ensue from an open, public and privileged  discussion of a matter – especially one relating to a dubious business deal.

In the Mahama/car matter, however, no recoursethe issue is not even before a court!  It is only before the Commission for Human Rights And Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). So, in preventing Parliament – which has so much power that a popular adage says it “can do anything except change a man into a woman!”) – Mr Adjaho has dealt two deadly blows to Ghana’s 1992 Constitution: (1) he has unilaterally upgraded the status of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to full judicial status, in direct contravention to the Constitution and (2) he has thereby unilaterally abolished the power of the Parliament of Ghana given to it by the people of Ghana!The Opposition sasys it  is “embarrassed”. Well, it shouldn’t be –Joe Adaho dseserves to be brought down for committing treason against the Parliament of Ghana, and thereby, against the peopleof Ghana.

For what he has done  is totally unacceptable, because in the very first words of the Constitution, it is clearly  stated that:
QUOTE: “The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within the limits laid down in this Constitution.” UNQUOTE


In other words, SOVEREIGNTY RESIDES IN THE PEOPLE, AND THEREBY, THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES; i.e. PARLIAMENT!


Indeed, CHRAJ would be the first body to express shock at the way Mr Adjaho has used a CHRAJ investigation to block an investigation by our sovereign  Parliament. For on its own webpage, the CHRAJ acknowledges unambiguously that:
QUOTE: The Commission is not a judicial body and cannot review decisions that have previously been decided by a competent court. UNQUOTE


So, if the CHRAJ does not consider itself either as  a “judicial body”  or a  “competent court”, where did Adjaho get the idea that a CHRAJ investigation can preclude Parliament from  scrutinising any behaviour of a person holding public office? Who gave Mr Adjaho the power to clothe the proceedings of the CHRAJ with the mantle of sub judice? (By the way, as a matter of interest,  the sub judice principle is, itself, under severe  attack, on the grounds that it is antiquiated and that no modern  judge worth his/her salt would take the slightest notice of anything said elsewhere about a case before him or her, when judges are enjoined to consider only  evidence adduced before their courts.)


I have to remind Mr Doe Adjaho – again (as I did when I put him on my “New Year Honours List” in January 2015) – that the position of Speaker of the National Assembly is not one to be dignified only with “silk hoses and patent leather  shoes” (the garb favoured by the Speaker of the House of Commons and adopted, to my knowkledge, by Speakers of the Parliament of Ghana, forllowing a precedent set by Sir Emmanuel Charles Quist!)
 
Despite the superficial frills, the position of Speaker is one of great trust. To be given the power to oversee the propriety of what is said and doner  by the elected representatives of the people on behalf of their electors, is to be placed in charge of the most important right that any people can possess – freedom of speech. The Speaker must facilitate and protect this right, not impede it.


That is why, if I were an MP, I would go straight to the Supreme Court to seek an interpretation of the notion that if the CHRAJ is seized of a matter, then Parliament is automatically  prevented from delving into it. Indeed, if we were in a country where people cared enough about their constitutional rights, a public appeal would be launched immediately asking for donations to finance a suit at the Supreme Court to declare the Speaker’s assault on democracy unlawful.


May I point Mr Adjaho (and the Clerk of Parliament, whose technocratic name Mr Adjaho ingloriously invoked in making his outrageous and scandalous ruling) to what the website of the House of Commons – the location from which the mystifying notion of a “Speaker” who does not “speak” in debates originated (!) – has to say about the office of the Speaker:

QUOTE: “The Speaker is the chief officer and highest authority of the House of Commons and must remain politically impartial at all times. [emphasis added]….The Speaker keeps order and calls MPs to speak. Speakers still stand in general elections. [But] They are generally unopposed by the major political parties, who will not field a candidate in the Speaker’s constituency. [emphasis added]. During a general election, Speakers do not campaign on any political issues [emphasis added]. UNQUOTE

It is the enforcement of rules like the above that enables the British to have confidence in the integrity of their high officials. Even so, they are not fully satisfied with their democracy, and keep tinkering with it.
If our democracy is to last; if it is to be respected by the populace as a system that can effectively prevent corruption from occuring in our nations’s affairs; then we must force our public office-holders to exhibit the same integrity
as their British counterparts do. And we can only do that if we ensure that officials like the Speaker of Parliament understand and operate our system, both according to the words written in the Constitution and the spirit behind those fine words.


In other words, Mr Speaker, we don’t call you ‘Panin’ (Elder) for nothing (as our talking drums would tell you, if you knew how to listen to them!). You are supposed to repay the privileges inherent in your position, by  acting in a manner that would not disgrace your counterparts in  other democratic domains. For, after doing what you have done,  how can you — and your Clerk — hold your heads high, if you are invited to  conferences of the Inter-Parliamentary organisations of the democratic world?





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