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16.12.2013 Feature Article

Brilliance Or Pampering? Vilifying Tsikata Will Not Change A Thing

Brilliance Or Pampering?  Vilifying Tsikata Will Not Change A Thing
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The 'ritualised vilification' of Tsatsu Tsikata is becoming all too familiar. For a start, coming at a time when Ghana is crying out for brilliant minds actually says a lot. As if this is not enough, sections of the Ghanaian media continue to devote time to such futility. All joking aside, the damnation of Tsikata particularly in relation to the outcome of the petition is absurd, uncalled for and reckless. This is clearly the malevolent work of a 'disgruntled lot' with an political 'axe to grind' over the way that Ghanaians decided to vote in last year's presidential elections.

Amusingly, Ernest Owusu Bempah, the National Democratic Party (NDP) Deputy Communications Director seems to be the self-appointed lead vocalist for much of this hogwash. In doing so, he goes beyond the boundaries of permissible politics to the point where his outbursts posit a resentment of success. Is Bempah trying to say that he was the only person who watched the proceedings? But his antics go pear-shaped as most Ghanaians view him as a 'firebrand' trying desperately to make a name for himself on the back of Tsikata's fame.

With the petition hyped up 'to the teeth', the Judgement is bound to be a bitter pill for some to swallow. The usual suspects, since then, have gone about the demonization of the key figures that they blame for its dismissal. Noticeably, for all the allegations, none have quoted a single point of law to disparage the Judgement. However, vilifying Tsikata is not going to turn back the clock. Instead of sensibly debating the petition as a positive experience for Ghana's democracy, political fascination with the negatives has become a major stumbling block.

Safeguarding the hard work that has gone into the country's peace, ultimately, falls on all Ghanaians. Yet the likes of Bempah hide behind 'hearsay' to mount ill-timed, baseless and cowardly attacks on Tsikata, the Supreme Court and so on. Sadly, the combination of media lapses and laziness pass these allegations to go 'viral' before they can be duly challenged. The only consolation is that the courage and wisdom of the Supreme Court in getting the country through that difficult phase have registered with well-meaning Ghanaians to blot out much of the negativity.

John Mills, in his wisdom, saw the need to slam the brakes on 'political score-settling' in Ghana. To an extent, this was not surprising after the process that led to Tsikata's imprisonment for causing financial loss to the state. Ghana's promotion to the league of oil producing nations, since then, pours scorn on this episode. By dedicating his election victory to Tsikata, Mills sought to calm displeasure over the previous regime's antics and discourage any acts of reprisal. The petty politics in the wake of petition's conclusion is at odds with this thinking and damaging to Ghana's democracy.

Every Ghanaian, by now, should know that the Judgement is not locked away in some secret vault. This is an important message to the media if they want to muscle the robustness to cut out the political mischief-making and politics of insults. To put it bluntly, the petition went down because the Respondents' team successfully punched holes in the Petitioners' evidence making it impossible to annul over 4 million votes and invalidate John Mahama's presidency. To play on words or try to suggest anything other than this is deception, irresponsible and politically inept.

Even so, to try and belittle the legal prowess of Tsikata or palm it off as judicial pampering is naive. Just the list of his students, for example, speaks for itself at the same time as acknowledging Ghana's succession of brilliant law practitioners. Can the likes of Bempah or Kofi Jumah, for example, attest claim to an LLB First Class Honours degree at the tender age of 18, first class honours from Oxford University and so forth? Tsikata did not appear from nowhere to be the lead counsel for the ruling party in relation to the petition. The Judgement having said this is founded on points of law.

Tsikata has been there through the 'thick and thin' for Ghana. Despite this, his humility shames the 'loud-mouth politicians' trying to knock him. Yet Tsikata remains magnanimous, undeterred and focused on being of continuous palpable service to Ghana. Vilifying a respected academic against the background of recent statistics to show that Africa has a major problem with school drop-outs just says it all. Where is the media coverage, for example, of the countless students who having watched the petition yearn 'to be like Tsatsu' when they grow up?

Africans, too often, are seen 'running down' each other whilst creeping to those who despise them. Whilst this cap may also fit others, Ghana's predicament does not afford her such futility. Bempah, moreover, is not doing the NDP any favours with the amount of energy that he seems to devote to trying to denigrate Tsikata. And if does not know, this is the negativity that is 'eating the heart and soul out' of Ghanaian politics. Considering Ghana's aspirations as a nation, does the vilification of Tsikata or anyone else for that matter measure up to the discussion or action that is going to realise change? Of course not!

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