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03.02.2009 General News

When Lawyers Join Kangaroo Courts

By Daily Guide

THE GHANAIAN media over the years have no doubt carved a niche for themselves and the era of 'Media Supremacy' will inevitably come; that is if it has not come already. As part of the 'Media Supremacy Theory', the airwaves have been turned into courts where those who call themselves 'learned' have become pawns in the hands of the media.

This is what I call the “Kangaroo Court” and not the nomenclature given to some committees of the Transition team currently operating from the Accra International Conference Centre by some politicians cum lawyers who have some axes to grind with the team.

I have always kept to myself observations about the way our airwaves have been turned into some kind of court where 'innocent' Ghanaians are subjected to 'interrogation' and all manner of 'disrespectful' attitude by an anchor of a news item or a host of a programme in the name of questioning.

Unfortunately, the 'victims' of such “Media Supremacy Theory” end up being ridiculed; or have either further accentuated the perceived allegations or have confused the listeners the more.

The emerging phenomenon being experienced on our airwaves is how lawyers have been gallivanting from one radio station to the other trying to impress Ghanaians with their knowledge in some burning matters.

This development has become very common in recent times ever since the National Democratic Congress (NDC) led by the Asomdwehene Professor John Evans Atta Mills took over the reins of political power.

The recent announcements by the President and some actions taken by these caretaker government officials continue to generate lot of controversies.

The lawyers considered those actions as an opportunity for them to exhibit their legal brains over those matters. Unfortunately for them they ended up confusing themselves, and by and large, the Ghanaian listening public.

It is sad to say that most of the lawyers who have now found their voices to condemn and legally punch holes in such political developments did not do same some few years back.

In fact, the whole association of 'Kwakwa Lobite' people declared that they were not going to comment on any national issue.

They, therefore, put their hands in their 'lagbate' and looked on unconcerned when their own 'bungalowbii' was bungled like a common 'fiafitor' into 'sankpori' for using our money meant for exploring 'cooking oil' to cultivate 'garden eggs' in a farm that was considered to be the 'Valley of Shadow of Death'.

Today, these same lawyers have gone back to break their sacred vows and now find solace in the 'radio courts' to demonstrate their legal prowess and their political biases.

It is interesting to listen to lawyers from all shades of life, both 'shiabii' and 'bungalowbii', trying hard to punch holes in one another's argument over matters of constitutionality.

Interestingly again, after all the vituperations, postulations and all the 'komininis' you ask yourself; “what are these lawyers talking about?”

The answer, of course, will be they are only blowing 'jazz'.

My little knowledge about matters of constitution is not for lawyers to do cheap propaganda using the radio as the forum for them to score their political points but the legally constituted courts are there to address such intellectual matters and constitutional discrepancies.

It is because of such differences that the Supreme Court has been designated to be the arbiter in matters of constitutionality.

We are aware that interpretations of legal matters, which are sometimes based on an individual's biases and emotions, are most of the time left at the discretion of a judge.

We have witnessed very brilliant submissions of intellectual argument in courts by a defense counsel or the prosecution and after doing all the antics and 'juju and tricks' there are in legal books, the 'headmaster' of the court will only look at you in the face and in his head, will tell himself or herself that “who does he think he is?”

“I shall show him where power lies. He is only wasting his or time”, and true to that, the 'headmaster' of the court overrules your submission and throws your case out of court onto the 'borla'.

We are also aware of the level of frustrations that 'shiabii' go through when their cases come before men and women draped in legal cloak and look like choristers of the orthodox churches.

How on earth can a case be dragging on for 15 years or more when we talk of justice for all?

For me, my humble appeal to such legal luminaries who have turned the radio stations into their courts and have found their voices to 'attack' issues of national concern should muster courage and go to court and test the case.

Yes, if you call yourself a man or woman worth your legal qualification and feel that the government is doing anything unconstitutional and has the voice to talk on radio, go to the Supreme Court to challenge the constitutionality of such development instead of using cheap avenues for popularity contest.

I'm sure if you win your case, the argument and the ruling will become matters for legal reference in the law review books for future references for students of law and lawyers themselves.

It is gloomy in this part of our world where talk is cheap but action is sacred.

Ghanaians are noted for talking too much but do not back their talks with actions.

We complain about poor service delivery; talk about electricity, water supply and other utility services that we pay for or are charged for but do not receive the corresponding services.

We make noise all over the place but nobody is ready to 'bell the cat'.

It is not surprising to see very good lawyers posturing against each other on a radio programme over matters that should be left for the courts to decide.

At the end of the day, they become laughing stocks and their prejudices are exposed.

For such people, they should give Ghanaians a break and do the right thing. If they do not agree with a decision of the government and find anything unconstitutional about it, they should fight it in court and not bombard our eardrums with such cacophony of legal litany that do not make sense.

So who bells the cat? Me or you?