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A former Member of Parliament for North Dayi, George Loh, has accused political science lecturer Prof Ransford Gyampoh of hypocrisy.
His accusation is a counter to Prof Gyampo’s description of the Minority in Parliament and the opposition National Democratic Congress’ comments on the Delta Force 8 saga as “politically hypocritical”.
According to prof Gyampo, the NDC and its Minority have “no moral right” to talk about the Delta 8 saga because members of the party, including MPs, signed a petition that made President John Mahama, in 2016, grant remission of sentence to three sympathisers of the party – Montie 3 – who threatened to kill and rape justices of the Supreme Court.
Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase, alias Mugabe, were sentenced to four months in prison for contempt after they issued the threats during a live radio discussion. They were found guilty of scandalising the Supreme Court, defying and lowering its authority, and bringing it into disrepute and handed the custodial sentence plus a fine.
Following their imprisonment, a group called Research and Advocacy Platform (RAP) gathered signatures from citizens to support a petition presented to President John Mahama at the time towards securing a remission of the sentence.
Some of the NDC’s prominent signatories to the petition included North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa; Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection at the time, Nana Oye Lithur; former Attorney General Betty Mould-Iddrisu, former Minister of Education Prof Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang, presidential staffer Valerie Sawyerr, among others.
After serving a month of that sentence, President Mahama, in consultation with the Council of State, and in exercise of his constitutional powers under Article 72 of the Constitution, remitted the remainder of the prison sentence of the three contemnors.
In the wake of the recent discharge by a Kumasi Circuit Court of eight members of pro-NPP vigilante group Delta Force who were standing trial for aiding the escape of 13 of their colleagues from lawful custody in a court in Kumasi, the NDC and its Minority have raised concerns.
The Minority, led by Haruna Iddrisu, for instance held a press conference and said they “find it very bizarre that the AG, Ms Gloria Akuffo, who assured the entire citizens of her commitment to fairness and strict adherence to ethical principles will claim that in doing this and exercising her constitutional discretion on grounds that there was lack of evidence. Even on Facebook, even on Twitter and those of you, who do social media, some evidence is available and some evidence can be made available and some evidence can be found, so we are encouraging them to gather good enough evidence.”
In their estimation, “to say that they are proceeding on nolle prosequi in want of evidence can only be begging the issue and satisfying partisan considerations and that concerns us as a Minority.
“We demand, therefore, that the cancerous discretion that has just been exercised will be reversed immediately and the accused re-arrested and re-arraigned before court. We do so demand that justice must be done and justice must be secured and justice must be seen being done,” Mr Iddrisu added.
According to him, the President must demonstrate his respect for the rule of law by causing the re-arrest and retrial of the eight. “The Minority is demanding that they re-arrest the culprits, serve the interest of justice, demonstrate to the people of Ghana that he the president means well for the rule of law and means well for the independence and respect of the judiciary as an organ of state,” he noted.
Also, the NDC’s National Organiser, Mr Kofi Adams, told Kwadwo Asare-Baffour Acheampong (KABA) on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen political talk programme on Wednesday that the Attorney General had done a poor job.
Additionally, the NDC’s Tamale Central MP Inusah Fuseini told Emefa Apawu on Class91.3FM’s 505 news programme on Thursday, May 18 that the Akufo-Addo government was “taking us for granted because Ghanaians are gullible”, adding that an investigation being done by the Attorney General over the matter “will come to nothing”.
According to Mr Fuseini, the development is “an assault on the consciousness of Ghanaians”, adding that it is an “abuse on the sensibilities of Ghanaians which has made Ghanaians a laughing stock”.
In his estimation, the government is “throwing gargantuan dust in the eyes of Ghanaians” insisting that the discharge of the accused persons was a “shame”.
For him, the development makes him believe that “either government is using lies and propaganda to cover an otherwise shameful act or not in control of issues”, adding if the Attorney General “is not on top of issues, she must resign”.
Mr Fuseini’s colleague MP, Okudzeto Ablakwa, on Thursday 18 May also told Accra100.5FM Chief Jerry Forson on Ghana Yensom in an interview that attempts to draw similarities between the freeing of pro-NPP Delta 8 and pro-NDC Montie 3 was shocking because the two are not on the same scale.
Reacting to these comments by the NDC and the Minority on Radio XYZ’s News Wire programme with Prince Minkah on Thursday, 18 May, Prof Gyampo said: “Now, why is the Minority all of a sudden finding a voice to be making all manner of noises about what is happening?
“In my view, it smacks of political hypocrisy and I feel they don’t have the moral standing to do so. They should leave that matter to civil society organisations and other well-meaning Ghanaians so they can be able to keep the Attorney General on her toes to ensure that the right thing is done. What they are doing now, in my view, will be infuriating policy makers and all that. They don’t have the moral authority to be doing what they are doing.
“Were we not in Ghana when people worth their salt, people who know what they are supposed to do, people who are very knowledgeable about the kinds of things that undermine judicial independence went about parading themselves and signing petitions asking for people who had assaulted judicial independence to be released. I mean, all of a sudden, these people have found their voices and they want to speak against some of these things? I’m saying yes, I respect their right to do so but I think it will serve us all well when they keep quiet and allow independent and more level-headed people to speak against some of these things.”
In a counter-response, however, Mr Loh told Prince Minkah on Radio XYZ's Morning Express on Friday, 19 May: “I am surprised that somebody with the calibre of Prof Gyampo would be making such statements particularly as a lecturer in political science, particularly as one who should recognise the right of everybody under our constitution to speak their mind. … So, I’m extremely surprised that he can say that so far as he is concerned, the Minority should not have the audacity to make a statement or to react to the Delta 8 issue. I find that rather surprising to be coming from somebody of the calibre of Prof Gyampo.”
According to the former NDC lawmaker, Prof Gyampo is comparing apples with oranges.
“He’s totally out of context. … What Prof Gyampo hasn’t done is he hasn’t sat down to analyse the two situations carefully, and that for me is also problematic. The Montie matter and the Delta 8 matter have only one thing in common: that they had to do with the court …in that one occurred in a court while the judge was sitting, the other occurred outside in a radio station far away from the court. But be as it may, we all said that whichever context it occurred, it did not augur well for our judiciary,” Mr Loh said.
“In the Montie case, due process was allowed to take its due course … and then the judgment came. Looking at the totality of what had transpired within that context in our judiciary, many were of the view that it was excessive, so, given the power of judicial review that the constitution has given to the president, people started pleading that the matter be looked at again, and after one month of incarceration, the president graciously said that he thinks that they’ve been punished enough, and, so, they should go back and sin no more. It is totally different from this one where the people have not even been arraigned before court for the court to even say that they have no question to answer. Some people sat somewhere and assumed and agreed that they cannot find evidence so they should go. And we [Minority] are saying that if this is the way we are going to handle it, it sends wrong signals to the public.”
According to him, “Prof Gyampo should come and come again,” adding: “In fact, if anybody will be talking about hypocritical attitude, he [Prof Gyampo] should take it fair and square.”