Enimil Ashon: 4 legs good, 2 legs better

This thing about haves and have-nots, one law for the rich, another law for the poor, has existed from time. It is a human arrangement to keep the rich and privileged eternally comfortable and untouchable.

George Orwell, writing his political satire, ‘Animal Farm’, in 1945, had Ghana in mind when he wrote about a group of farm animals who, having overthrown the autocracy of their human master, distils their hatred for human beings into an easy-to-memorise maxim, “Four legs good, two legs bad”.  

After they themselves took power and tasted the comforts of privileged position, the pigs who had replaced humans as rulers, learned how to walk on two legs - to distinguish themselves from the brainless and gullible masses - and therefore conveniently changed the chant into “four legs good, two legs better”!

Why did our chiefs and learned advocates for justice not raise a voice for Atta Ayi but kept silent when he was jailed 164 years in 1999 for stealing? At his trial, he asked to be pardoned because he stole to look after his wife and children.

If Ataa Ayi had invested the booties from his earlier robberies to finance a political ambition, he would have been an MP. Either as NPP or NDC, he would never have been tried, let alone go to jail.

His side in Parliament would have boycotted sittings to accompany him to court on days of sitting. Ghanaians who voted them into office and have offered them the luxuries they are used to now, do not matter: they will boycott sittings but continue to take their salaries. That is impunity.

I admit that Ataa Ayi’s robbery is not the same as Quayson’s, but I use it to warn that we stand the danger of populating Parliament with criminals only because they are rich or popular.

What are the advocates of nolle prosequi telling Ghanaians? So far, I haven’t heard an argument that there was an error of judgement; only that he is an elected MP whose constituents need representation in Parliament.  

The NDC will have to answer the questions: were the charges against Gyakye Quayson trumped up? Do they constitute a crime? As to whether he is guilty or not guilty is a matter that the judge or judges will decide.

The Dormaahene’s statement that he would have dissented if he had been on the panel is another way of saying that there was a miscarriage of justice. Must a High Court judge be allowed to criticize their colleague’s judgement in public – especially a criticism levelled on a political platform?

The chief said, “I don’t see the benefits this prosecution will bring to Ghanaians”. Beg your pardon, that statement does not respect the end that justice serves. No trial or prosecution brings benefits to all Ghanaians: the benefits accrue to those whose ox has been gored - in this case, Ghanaians as a whole or the justice system, in particular.

To say that the trial should be discontinued because attending court means “he cannot fulfil his mandate as an MP to the people of Assin North”, is to make a new law that says that no MP should ever be tried, no matter how heinous the crime is.

I like Lawyer Jantuah’s stance. He counsels the President that failure to discontinue the trial is tantamount to setting the people of Assin North perpetually against the NPP.

If anybody or a group of people should be criticized by the chief and learned professors of law, it should be the NDC. Why did they field a candidate against whom, they knew, there were pending criminal charges? Come to think of it, was the NDC decision not aforethought? Did they not go ahead to field this particular candidate, determined that they would, after he is elected, stampede the Judiciary on his behalf until he is set free?

If Ghanaians accept this stance, it will be a precedent no one can ever stop. All that anybody arrested for an offence needs to do is to let it be known that he is either NDC or NPP: that alone, should withdraw the hand of the AG’s Office or the police.

Let us ask ourselves: Are the charges trumped up? Is it true or not that at the time of filing to stand as an MP, Gyakye Quayson was a Canadian? Is it true or not that he made false representations to a public officer, to wit, the Electoral Commissioner and the Passport Director?

I like the opinion of political strategist, Frank Apeagyei: let the trial continue. If the man is found guilty and is jailed, the President, in the exercise of his Prerogative of Mercy, could pardon him. That pardon would amount to acquittal and discharge, so he can stand again to represent the people of Assin North.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.