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14.10.2008 Social News

Free Tsatsu forum hits Cape Coast-as students hail Kwesi Pratt

By David Alan Painstil Cape Coast - Ghanaian Chronicle

The Free Tsatsu Tsikata Movement trail on Saturday hit University of Cape Coast (UCC), as students hailed Kwesi Pratt Jnr., Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper.

The forum was held at the newly constructed Medical School auditorium, as the students trekked in one after the other to listen to speakers like Samuel Okudzetu Ablakwa, a former NUGS president, Tony Lithur, a legal practitioner, Lawyer Ebow Barton Odro, a Cape Coast based legal practitioner and Kwesi Pratt Jnr., a Social activist and journalist, as well as the wife of Tsatsu Tsikata, Esther Cobbah.

First to open the stage was the UCC president of TEIN, Younus Mohammed, who told the gathering that the programme was devoid of political colouration, indicating that the programme was meant to educate students on the case involving Tsatsu Tsikata and the state.

Okudzetu Ablakwa, set the ball rolling by paying tribute to the late Finance Minister, Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, who was an old Vandal of the Commonwealth hall of the University of Ghana, Legon, where he (Ablakwa) also lodged.

He said Tsatsu Tsikata was a man who devoted his time on the exploration of Ghana's oil and with his perseverance we were able to strike oil in the country, after some people had doubted Ghana's ability to get oil.

He added that Tsatsu's academic work and exploits was evident at the University of Ghana, where he was a law lecturer.

Tony Lithur, who spoke on legal matters surrounding the jailing of Tsatsu indicated that Tsatsu was not aware that 18th June, 2008, was to be the judgement day for his case, and that when he entered the court premises there were police and prison officers loitering around, which meant that the executive and the judiciary were aware of the conspiracy to jail him.

He wondered why President Kufuor should be interested in one man's trial when he said in Australia that he was going to re-constitute the Supreme Court after Tsatsu had won a Supreme Court case to annul the fast track court.

He went on to say that both President Kufuor and the Chief Justice -Georgina Woode, connived to jail Tsatsu who was not given the opportunity to challenge the Attorney General's assertion that it was not interested in contesting the viability and valuation of Valley Farm assets.

“No judge should complain about the number of years a case has been pending before him or her because judges are paid to do their job and should not complain and use it as a way of truncating justice”, Lithur pointed out. He further explained that some government officials were going round claiming that the trial went as far as six years, therefore it was for the judge's discretion to give judgement.

He said June 18, this year, was a shameful day in the history of judiciary as justice was tempered with, and urged those who are saying the judiciary should not be criticised to as it were refrain from that because the judiciary as an institution is managed by human beings who can manipulate it.

When Kwesi Pratt took his turn, the whole auditorium was electrified as the students shouted “master” “master”, a term often used by Pratt in his radio and television discussions. Pratt saluted the students for making it to the programme and urged them to fight for what is right for the country.

According to Kwesi Pratt, no corruption allegation was brought against Tsatsu Tsikata because he pursued the national interest and that Joe Ghartey, the Attorney General's assertion that he wanted to increase the five year jail term of Tsatsu to ten years was rather unfortunate, because Ghartey has failed to do same to the murderers of Alhaji Issah Mobila, CPP Northern Regional Chairman and Ya-Na and the 40 others.

He added that cocaine dealers and other murderers are walking free in Ghana, while a genius like Tsatsu Tsikata, who did his best for the country has rather been jailed for political expediency.

Pratt took his time to explain how Tsatsu invested in salt and the cocoa industry to boost exploration of oil to the students, who cheered him on. He said Ghanaians should not think that what has happened to Tsatsu Tsikata cannot happen to any of them because time changes and that the system can be manipulated by people in high places, irrespective of which party was in power.

He argued that the ruling government should appreciate what the movement was doing rather than castigating the leaders of the movement. Pratt stated categorically that the struggle to free Tsatsu Tsikata will continue unabated until victory was won.

Barton Odro, on his part described Tsikata as a genius who devoted his time to national duty and should have been given a national award rather than incarceration.

Esther Cobbah, in her short remarks urged the students to take critical look at the Ghana National Anthem and indicated that her husband stood for the truth, and that the truth will vindicate her husband.

The students asked many questions including the where about of Tsikata's lawyer, Prof Danquah, which were answered by Tony Lithur and Pratt Jnr. Lawyer Josiah Cobbah, a brother of Esther Cobbah, chaired the programme

Dr Kofi Sam, a former Works and Housing Secretary of the erstwhile PNDC government was also present. Tsatsu Tsikata is serving a five-year jail sentence for wilfully causing financial loss to the state.