Talking Drums

The West African News Magazine


Restructuring Ghana's legal system

Please allow me to comment on an article by Mr Frank Kwaw Codjoe published in the 23rd January 1984, issue of this magazine.

I certainly enjoyed reading the article, but the writer just looked at one side of the coin. One of the most memorable legal cases in recent Ghanaian history that he recalled was that of Ohene Djan versus the State. He could have compared some of the cases the PNDC tribunals have handled with those of the old judicial system.

Ohene Djan committed the crime under military regime but he was brought before the law court. He was jailed 15 years. What else did he want the court to do in the circumstances?

Some months ago three prominent judges and a retired army officer were murdered and burnt. After investigations, it came to light that Capt. Kojo Tsikata, Amartey Kwei, Amedeka, Akatapore, Senya and Dzandu were responsible for the whole operation. The Attorney-General set the report aside and said that there was not enough evidence against Capt. Kojo Tsikata but it was quite clear even to a layman that Tsikata is guilty and should have been prosecuted. But as we all know he is walking around; a free man. Akatapore didn't appear before any tribunal to be tried and Amedeka was fortunate to have run for his life.

All these people are referred to as the bedrock of the revolution and therefore they cannot be eliminated. Amartey Kwei, Senya and Dzandu were held responsible for the killings. No law court will execute Senya because he was a soldier who obeyed the command of someone. If he had been ordered to kill, they should find out who gave the order.

After finding them guilty, the tribunal failed to ask them WHY the killings. They could have known the people behind the case if this question had been asked. When Arthur, Yeboa and Opoku Mensah killed Kotoka, they were brought before the law court and after finding them guilty Opoku Mensah was jailed 6 years because he was ordered to do something against his will. Arthur and Yeboah faced the gun.

In the same way that they found no 'evidence' against Tsikata and Akatapore, Ohene Djan's case could not have come to light if he had a strong connection in the government. In my point of view, the tribunal will be more corrupt if it is allowed to continue because it is only there to eliminate enemies of PNDC.

Cosmos Odiawuo Hamburg, West Germany.

Sympathy for Rawlings?

I disagree in toto with Mr A. A. Boaten's plea in Talking Drums, 19th/26th December 1983, that we should 'encourage and understand' Rawlings. How, in the name of Ghana, can one seriously argue like that living in Ghana? They are totally responsible for that as well as the national disaster that manifests itself in all spheres of life.

Was it not because at a given point in time, Rawlings thought the Limann Administration was not doing well that he embarked on his expedition?

By the same token, at this given point in time, the overwhelmingly unanimous verdict of Ghanaians who care about their motherland is that Rawlings, aided by the Tsikatas, the Ahwois, P. V. Obeng, Ato Austin and the rest, has destroyed Ghana.

Or let me reduce this into a simple analogy. If you think one is in a situation of peril and you unsolicitedly bulldoze your way into 'saving' that person and through (your) acts of omission and commission, you further exacerbate the situation, you will be fully held responsible for all the foreseen and unforeseen consequences emanating from your conduct.

And Rawlings had no business injecting himself into our political scene. If Limann was ineffective, it was for the remainder of the 14 million Ghanaians to tell him off through the ballot box and not Rawlings to forcibly drive him out of office.

Mr Boaten should not, for example, exhort us to be patient. Why, I may ask Mr Boaten, did Rawlings not exercise patience since Limann was only in his second year!

The best thing for Rawlings to do to avoid the fate he prescribed for Afrifa, The Editor Amedume, Akyeampong, Akuffo, Yaw Boakye, Felli, Kotei, Utuka - and the thousands of people who have been killed since he took over in December 1981 is to leave the scene now!

Kwadwo Affram Asiedu,, New York.

Human rights in the third world

Permit me to draw the attention of Amnesty International and the United Nation to the deteriorating human rights, economic and political situations which have led to mass exodus of people from some developing countries into the developed countries.

A country like Ghana is at present in a very sorry state and has been like that, for the past ten years or so due to a combination of mismanagement by the military and civilian regimes.

Before independence, Ghanaians did not emigrate for economic reasons but mainly to pursue academic honours. Basic necessities of life were available for all at very reasonable prices.

Now thanks to pseudo-revolution aries who believe they hold the destiny of the country in their hands and that they are the only people who know where the country and its 14 million inhabitants should go, Ghanaians are crawling all over the world seeking economic self improvement with its attendant humiliation.

Ghana, which was once the star of Africa has been afflicted by poverty, hunger, disease and moral deprivation. Intimidation and persecution of people with opposing views are not making things any easier.

A large number of people are currently being held in custody for one reason or the other while a horrifying number have been murdered in cold blood.

The foregoing are some of the compelling reasons for forcing many Ghanaians into exile in countries like West Germany. But I suppose lack of deeper understanding of the issues prevailing at home, Ghanaian refugees are being subjected to very degrading circumstances abroad. These days they are picked up indiscriminately on flimsy excuses and hauled before courts here in Germany.

I am saying here without any fear of contradiction that all Ghanaians are ready to go back home as soon as there is change in government. Rawlings and his people may have the best intention in the world but as things stand now they are just messing around.

Joe Manu, Hamburg, West Germany.

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