06.04.2009 Feature Article

Not only Issah Mobila, but Maurice Kpiebarreh too

Not only Issah Mobila, but Maurice Kpiebarreh too
06.04.2009 LISTEN

WITH UTTER shamelessness, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has cynically exploited the death of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, the overlord of Dagbon, and that of Alhaji Issah Mobila, the then Northern Regional Chairman of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP).

When the death of Alhaji Issah Mobila was first announced, you could be forgiven for thinking that he belonged to the NDC rather than the CPP. It was a case of the sympathiser weeping more that the bereaved. The NDC adopted the late Regional Chairman's death as their own cause, and milked the unfortunate death for every drop of electoral and political advantage.

As for the death of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, it was as if he was the NDC personified. You could not appeal for peace in Dagbon, without getting an NDC reply that there could be no peace without justice.

The NDC talked and talked, casting suspicion on the Kufuor Government as the instigator and perpetrator of the heinous death of the Ya-Na. As far as the NDC was concerned, the Kufuor Government knew the perpetrators, but was unwilling to prosecute them. To the NDC, the Committee of Inquiry appointed by the Kufuor Government, and the trial of certain persons, were nothing but a sham to cover up the crime.

I am glad that the NDC is now in power. I am even happier to note that the Mills Government had signaled its intention to set up a Presidential Commission to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of the Ya-Na. As for Alhaji Issah Mobila, it is known that the Government had resumed the adjourned trial of the three soldiers accused of being responsible for, or knowing something about the death of the CPP Regional Chairman.

The trial of the three soldiers began during the period of the Kufuor Government. The NDC administration is merely continuing where its predecessor left off.

It is not my intention to comment, one way or the other, about the resumed trial of the three soldiers. This is in spite of the fact that two lawyers, Mr. Tony Lithur and Mr. Fui Tsikata, have lectured me to the effect that it does not amount to contempt of court to comment on a case that is before a court of competent jurisdiction. At least that is the impression I got from reading their rejoinders to a letter and an article I wrote on the agitations by the FREE TSATSU MOVEMENT.

Lawyers have their own way of using legal legerdemain or sophistry to wriggle out of sticky legal situations. Not being a lawyer myself, I am not going to risk imprisonment for contempt of court. After all, even Professor John Evans Atta Mills (as he then was) initially refused to comment on the Tsikata case, because, according to him, there had been no final determination of the case. Should I be a fool and rush in where even angels (legal giants like Professor Mills) feared to tread?

I refer to the Mobila case for a reason. President Mills has been touted an “Asomdweehene”, that is, “The King of Peace”, a humble, God-fearing person who hates violence and injustice, and loves peace and justice. It is in the light of this presentation of him as a God-fearing man of peace and justice, that I refer him to one or two unfinished businesses.

The first one refers to the death of Mr. Maurice Kpiebarreh. The newspapers reported that Warrant Officer Class One (WO 1) Ebenezer Quaynor, then a Castle security man, shot dead Mr. Maurice Kpiebarreh, a senior officer of the Ministry of Agriculture, who had traveled to Accra from the Northern Region. WO1 Quaynor reportedly shot Mr. Kpiebarreh seven times over a road traffic accident or incident in Accra on June 24, 1999. The party in power in 1999 was the National Democratic Congress (NDC). The man, who was president at the time, was Mr. J. J. Rawlings. The Vice President was Professor John Evans Atta Mills, now President of the Republic of Ghana.

According to a report by The Chronicle of Friday, February 25, 2000, the then Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Osafo Sampong, had stated that WO1 Ebenezer Quaynor would be brought to trial for murder, but he could not say when.

Here comes the beauty: the report went on to state that, pending the initiation of a trial for murder, the Warrant Officer had been granted bail. I thought the lawyers said that a person suspected or accused of murder could not be granted bail!!

There is only one President of the Republic of Ghana, and that man is Professor Mills, as he has left nobody in doubt of. May I humbly appeal to him, to tell me what has happened to the case of THE REPUBLIC VS WO1 EBENEZER QUAYNOR? If the case has been disposed of after due process in a court of law, I would like to know. If the family of Alhaji Mobila must have justice, so also should the family of Mr. Kpiebarreh, the senior officer of the Ministry of Agriculture.

There is yet another item of unfinished business that demands justice. A day after the infamous killings during the Kume Preko demonstration on May 11, 1995, the police reportedly issued a Situation Report, No. 132/95, which put the finger for the killings squarely on the Association for the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (ACDR), and on Corporal Ahianyevi of the Castle Security.

Part of the Police Situation Report also reportedly read, “One death was also reported resulting from shooting spree by the association of the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (ACDR) and Commandos from the Castle on board a Pajero vehicle with Registration No. ARC 99110.”

The powers that be, stated in reply to the Police Situation Report, that one of the security men accused by the police report, was not on duty at the time he allegedly killed one of the victims. Consequently, no charge was brought against him or any of the suspects.

Is the moral sense of President Mills not scandalised by this reaction from authority? Is his knowledge of the law not outraged by this callous attitude towards the deliberate killing of innocent human beings?

A man allegedly kills. He is allowed to go scot free, because at the time he allegedly killed a fellow human being, he was not on duty and therefore, not supposed to be where he was. Case closed.

I am all for the appointment of a Presidential Commission to carry out another investigation into the deaths of the Ya-Na and others killed in the Yendi incident. I am aware of the full implications of leaving the tragedy unsolved.

But, President Mills should not be seen as dispensing selective justice dictated by political motives. He says he is a man of peace; a man of God who hates injustice.

If his actions do not portray him as such, then all that talk about his being a President of all Ghanaians will sound hollow, and will be so much charade, so much pious platitude, so much sanctimonious piety, so much political humbug.

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