I present this rejoinder in connection with the publication made on modernghana.com on the 12th day of May, 2020, titled: A Humble Letter to the President of Ghana, Pulima Chieftaincy Case Demands a Fair Hearing by Sinto B. Abdulai.
I saw several misrepresentations in his write-up and moved to make some comments/corrections. Mr Abdulai has, in a counter-reply, challenged me and sought to further confuse and mislead the respected reader. It is in the light of this that I felt the need to comprehensively respond to Mr Abdulai's publications on your wider readership platform (modernghana.com).
I will, before proceeding, enter a caveat as follows: my intention here is not to seek redress of any sort on a chieftaincy matter that has been settled in the Courts. My concern has been to draw attention to mischief-making. Those who respect law and order, also respect the verdicts of the Courts. They appeal the decisions they don't like. What they will however never do is impugn the character of the judge or continue to behave as if there has been no judgment. The chieftiancy case of Pulima was decided at the Regional House of Chiefs and the Chebe family (Mr Abdulai's family) lost to the Gbanha family. They appealed to the the National House Chiefs and lost again to the Gbanha Family.
A law and order family would have respected these decisions. The Chebe family instead chose to act as if there had been no judgements. They are, in my opinion, now acting outside the law, and doing everything outside the law to frustrate the legitimately enskinned chief (Kuoru Osman Deiwia Nankpa III) from working to rebuild a community that has suffered a leadership setback for over twenty (20) years. These actions by the Chebe family are holding the Pulima community and the entire Pulima Traditional Council to ransom.
Now my response to Mr Abdulai’s original write-up and his counter-reply to my initial comments;
- I have become aware of your Reply of 15 May 2020 to my comment on your original humble plea of 12 May 2020 to the President of Ghana. You followed it with a facebook presence as follows: “You Can’t tarnish my image and my article when you lack understanding of it.”
- I have neither the time nor any interest in tarnishing your image. You are doing it yourself by plainly lying in an open platform. For example, you wrote at paragraph 10 of your original plea of 12 May 2020 and I quote as follows: “On the 6th day of May 2020 some people of Pulima suffered a butchery which resulted in the loss of innocent lives.” This is a categorical lie and you know it. Please learn from me that those who have facts on their side never lie. Plus, you fully intended to deceive the President. This is mischief making of the highest order.
- I am not English. I am therefore not offended by your claim that I could not comprehend your fine English on the subject matter of your general, albeit false, claim that judicial and quasi-judicial judgements in Ghana are tainted and/or sold to the highest bidder. So once again, I will let your own words speak back to you. At paragraph 1 of your original plea of 12 May 2020 you wrote as follows: “The weak justice delivery system in Ghana has brought untold tears to many Ghanaians, especially, the less privileged like the people of Pulima.” You added at paragraph 3 as follows: “Justice is for sale to the highest bidder [in Ghana]. Why?” Do you honestly believe that a judge in Ghana will feel excluded from any of the above general statements? You directly implied that the decision by the judicial arm of the Regional House Chiefs, and that of the judicial arm of the National House chiefs, following the appeal of your family, are both tainted. Did you ponder for a moment the character and calibre of those involved in the two decisions whose character you so easily and generally impugned? And you said all of the above, and implied as above, based on a tiny undercover investigation by Tiger Eye Investigations which exposed the fact that a number of the judges he chose to investigate, (that is, not even all the judges he chose to investigate), were, or as at the time of his investigations, corrupt. These former judges are no longer on the bench. Your conclusions, as above, are simply what I have claimed to be – self-serving over generalizations that insults the whole of Ghana’s judiciary.
- At the end of subparagraph 9 of your original plea of 12 May 2020 to President you said “Let’s try the law once more.” The case went to the Regional House of Chiefs for decision. It was decided in favour of Gbanhaala as the lawful chieftaincy family of Pulima/Gandawi. Your family appealed to the National House of Chiefs and lost. Your family now intend to appeal to the Supreme Court. What do you think has been happening? The problem is, in between, and continuing to-date, your family (Chebele, certainly not all) has been violent and disturbed the peace several times in the village.
- You claimed, again falsely at paragraph 4 of your original plea of 12 May 2020 that Sissala’s have a tradition of rotational chieftaincy and chieftaincy gates. I will give you 3 reasons why this is a lie:
- It is your own admission that one family has held the reigns or sat on the skin of chieftaincy in Pulima for a continuous unbroken period of 96 years. It is your admission and I accepted it. No proof required. Will your admission as above, of an unbroken tradition of the skin of chieftaincy being in one family for an unbroken period of 96 years, suggest rotation to any objective person?
- I told you in my previous comment/reply to your original plea of 12 May 2020, that sissalas were acephalous. I added that the tradition of chieftaincy in Sissala, Pulima and Tumu included, is a function of the indirect rule of British colonialism. You failed to address this key point in your counter-reply. This is because it is an anthropological fact you cannot deny. Your claim of chiefs, and gates, before the 96 years reign of the Gbanha family, is in the above context, utter rubbish. Sissalas were acephalous. It is a widely known, widely published anthropological fact.
- Chieftaincy has its burdens and cultivated traditions undertaken with the consent and involvement of the wider community but which the Gbanhaala bore and carried out for 96 years and continuing. It has become, and is now, a cultural institution of the people of Pulima/Gandawi.
In conclusion, I will say as follows. You have shown some potential. If you humble yourself sufficiently to respect your elders, learn from them and to conduct your own research before writing, you will come good in the future.
BY Muhammad Bawa