Feature Article of Sunday, 2 August 2015
Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York
July 28, 2015
When the 36-year-old Mr. Charles Antwi was arrested and hustled out of the Ringway Gospel Assemblies of God Church this past Sunday, July 26, and summarily charged with attempting to assassinate President John Dramani Mahama, I observed that I would not be the least bit surprised if it eventually turned out that the alleged criminal suspect had been deftly and deviously planted by some ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) operatives to buy sympathy for the flagrantly bumbling Mr. Mahama (See “Heat of the Times” Modernghana.com 7/27/15).
True to my prediction, it well appears that having badly bungled its strategic attempt to incriminate the leaders of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), the Flagstaff House had no other recourse but to quickly slap Mr. Antwi with a summary 10-year prison sentence, and hope that all would be forgotten well before the Election 2016 camapign season begins. There are quite a slew of serious problems with this case. The first of these obviously regards the fact that the accused was not permitted the inalienable constitutional right to legal representation. In other words, in any civilized constitutional democracy, the minimum threshold for convicting Mr. Antwi would not be deemed to have been met.
Then also, the mere confession of the accused, under circumstances unknown and unclear to the general Ghanaian public, would not have fully satisfied the legitimate test of guilt and/or conviction. For instance, if the accused was primarily convicted on the strength of his alleged confession without the presence of an attorney, even a public defender/legal aid counsel appointed by the court, at best the verdict handed down by the judge could be aptly deemed to be a judicial travesty.
We also understand that even a court-friendly attorney, presumably on the prosecution side, had duly recommended that the accused be afforded the right of being examined by a board-certified psychiatrist. But this, too, predictably, was roundly rejected by the court. It ought to be quite obvious, at this juncture, that somebody higher up in government is hiding something from the Ghanaian public. And the credibility of the country’s judicial system needs to be promptly restored by having the conviction of Mr. Antwi immedately overturned and the proper prosecutorial process followed to its logical conclusion.
Significantly, we are also told that the incident happened while Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, a congregation member together with President Mahama, was inside the church where the gunman had allegedly attempted to kill an absent Mr. Mahama. What is more, we are further informed that it was members of the security detail of Mrs. Wood that escorted Mr. Antwi out of the church and got him placed into police custody. Not only is the 72-hour judicial railroading of Mr. Antwi inescapably suspicious, the failure of Chief Justice Wood to issue any official statement on this judicial travesty is even more disturbing, if not downright dangerous and morally untenable. This is the very personality who has been vehemently decrying the intolerable level of corruption and leadership irresponsibility in the country in recent weeks.
I also don’t know what both the judge who sentenced Mr. Antwi and the prosecutors who aided in the sentencing the victim were thinking when they so scandalously decided to deep-six the accused. For instance, were both judge and prosecutors aware of the fact that there is a panoply of diplomats and other foreign residents in Ghana who are as concerned about civil and human rights violations as many a democracy loving Ghanaian citizen? Equally significantly, what has the Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to say about the kangaroo type of justice meted Mr. Antwi? And also, the commissioner for the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE)? We await prompt and definitive answers.
The contents of Mr. Antwi’s alleged confession clearly indicate the mental state of a clinically troubled or unstable personality. For instance, how could the suspect expect to successfully negotiate his way to the presidency by simply executing Mr. Mahama in a chapel filled to congregational capacity? I mean, somebody higher up within the national security apparatus of the nation must have a very low opinion of Ghanaian citizens to think that the government can get away with such act of moral depravity and gross human rights violation.
You see, when the incident was initially reported, my gut reaction was to hope that Mr. Antwi had not been deliberately infected with the globally infamous AMETEWE SYNDROME. In other words, I had expected Mr. Antwi to name Nana Akufo-Addo, for example, as his sponsor/instigator, as was viciously shamefully fabricated by President Nkrumah in a bid to liquidating Dr. J. B. Danquah, the clinical dictator’s archnemesis and former political mentor.
What I am clearly trying to emphatically suggest here is that having miserably failed in using Mr. Antwi to do to Nana Akufo-Addo what the one-man Apau Commission failed to do, that is destroy the credibility and reputation of their most formidable political opponents, the key NDC operatives and their BNI agents and assigns had no other recourse but to hurriedly and summarily dispose of the poor mentally challenged NDC victim from rural Brong-Ahafo.