By CAMERON DUODU
I strongly hope that the Chief Justice will listen to the appeals made by some members of the public to allow the cross-examination of Alfred Woyome by Martin Amidu – only a few hours away – to be telecast.
This is not only because the spectacle will be vastly entertaining to the public. Mind you – that will inevitably occur. But it will only be “comedies” (as it were) compared to the main “feature film or movie” of the night.
And what’s that?
It is the rare opportunity that the “bout” will provide to our judiciary to continue to educate the populace about — among other things — the “rule of law.”
You see, whenever the “rule of law” is spoken about, it tends to make the ordinary citizen’s head reel.
I mean, look at this scenario: the Supreme Court is endowed, by the Constitution with the power to have the last say in every dispute that is taken to court. And yet the same Constitution allows the President to pardon culprits sent to prison by the Supreme Court after it’s adjudicated over a case and had its so-called “final say”. What type of “final say” ls that, then?
Now, on the other hand, when the ordinary citizen gets a case that cannot interest the President, what happens to the verdict? It’s as FINAL as a buried corpse!
So the citizen’s conclusion must be that “this law thing is just too confusing. Better leave it to those people who prefer horse hair to their own; you know, those guys who wear woollen gowns when the mid-day temperature here is around 32 degrees Celsius! Of course, they must be paid: horse hair and gowns are not cheap!”
Is it healthy for a modern nation to create such a chasm between the tax-payer and the institution in the land that can send him to prison or fine the daylights out of him?
Just let the ordinary citizen fail to pay his vehicle’s road-tax, or the daily toll for a market-stall if the citizen happens to be a woman. A court will make sure that he/she is fined a sum which is much heavier than what was not paid! Any plea to the effect that the citizen had “temporarily suffered from amnesia and forgotten to pay” but would have miraculously remembered to pay it the very next day (if only the police had “exercised patience” and waited “small”) would be literally “laughed out of court!” Yet, as we have seen, when it comes to cases that come to the attention of the President, there is room for “manoeuvre.” Is that fair or healthy?
It is this confusion in the public mind about the law that makes it necessary for any opportunity to be taken that enables the judiciary to peel away some of the mystery surrounding the law. (You may recall that Frantz Fanon eloquently labelled this process as ‘mystification’ of the populace!)
You may also agree that misconceptions about the law are dangerous. The evidence for that conclusion stands right in front of the building that houses the highest courts of the land – yes, some judges were wantonly assassinated because their duty of merely interpreting the law – for which they were paid – was grossly misunderstood by some warped minds.
All that’s fine, but realistically, what educational value can Ghanaian society obtain from the televising of Amidu v Woyome?
I think it will enable the public to become more aware that in the modern age, it is not enough to pay one’s taxes and leave it to be spent by people for whom one votes once every four years. One must ensure that those for whom one votes are people whom one can really TRUST. For people who are not trust-worthy (and they tend to be those who shout the loudest that they are “clean”!) can take tax-payers’ money and dish it out to their cronies as if the money were pebbles lying freely in the street.
For instance, a crony can go to them with a scheme that says that air can be transformed into food! The crony can give the scheme a scientific-sounding name, such as cibumosis.
And he can explain it this way: ‘Just as in osmosis, a process is set in motion whereby plants distribute the different solvents that constitute plant food (absorbed from the soil) to the individual types of cells that make up the whole plant, so does cibumosis. enable oxygen (breathed through the human nose) to mix with carbon dioxide (expelled from the human lungs) to create an admixture of gases that solidifies and turns into food; viz.: kenkey and fish (with shitor in attendance); and/or koobi stew and apem plantains; or even fufu and soup. Bacon, sausages and eggs are not to be forgotten.
You hear this, salivate profusely and ask: ‘But how can this bring money?’
The answer is, ‘Seek out and make friends with the people in charge of your country’s Ministry of Food and/or Agriculture. Give loans to the wives of those most likely to be key decision-makers. And they will point out to you, those higher up the ladder whose wives also need loans.
Once the loans are disbursed, even those in the group who have not looked up a word about biology since they left school, will suddenly become experts in it.
So biology is a subject they had avoided like the plague since getting someone else to sit their school-leaving Science exam for them? No worries! All the info about cibumosis can be written on small cards which can be inserted into a jacket pocket and whipped out if and when the subject comes up. A quick glance at these cards can enable the loan-bloated cibumosis disciple to advertise the concept more eloquently than Kwaku Bonsam can advertise the sex-enhancement qualities of the herb known as vuka-vuka in Zimbabwe but which cannot be named in Twi in polite society in Ghana! (Something to do with “hard”, if you see what I mean.)
Next, the chaps in the Ministry will provide their new friend with prototypes or examples of “pro forma” contracts or proposals that have been approved already and which are secretly sealed in their files. Once a type of proposal has been approved already, with all the dotted lines expertly filled in and the word “APPROVED” stamped on it, the proposal will look “routine” to others in charge of payments within the public service. But don’t forget that their wives too need loans!
Thus, once palms are suitably greased, “routine” vouchers will be “raised” and sent post-haste to the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant-General and the Bank of Ghana. If everyone is satisfied, mobile phones can ensure that a cheque arrives back within days – if not hours – of an “APPROVED” voucher being urgently pushed through. Taxpayers’ money would have ended up being paid in respect of a “create, loot and share” scheme!
Will such a forensic post-mortem examination of what happened with “financial engineering” come up in the Supreme Court and teach us how these things are done?
Yes – unless Mr Amidu makes a total hash of it! He can easily extract it out of Woyome’s mouth like vomit!– Ultra-loquacious though Woyome maybe.
But Amidu has been talking a whole lot lately, has he not?
Well, no-one is perfect! We shouldn’t under-estimate the forces ranged against him. The whole Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department, with lawyers as well-trained as himself and who were formerly his trusted colleagues, are hell-bent on ridiculing or intimidating him. Or both. What he himself has described as the “rented press” pack are also on his tail.
And, strangely, Woyome, is also on the talk-track now, spitting fire and issuing threats left and right against Amidu. All that can be unsettling – unless one has the skin of a rhinoceros.
It reminds one of the way that before a boxing match, Muhammad Ali and his opponents – the likes of George Foreman and Joe Frazier – used to brag at press conference about what they’d do to each other in the ring when they met! The odd thing is that in this Amidu v Woyome case, there are no tickets to be sold!
So my advice to the protagonists is: “Chums, hold your fire! As we used to say in the playground: agorc ne f3m! (The action can only take place on the designated ground!) And as the Gas say: “Ebaafee gbeyei!” (Terrifying things will happen!)