…As NPP Akan government snubs Justice Atuguba, Voltarians
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is a well known Akan supremacist, who is notorious for his public declaration of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) as a bona fide heirloom of Akans – “Yen Akan fuor die.”
However, beyond the obvious dominance of Akans in the appointee list of his government, it is all too obvious that the President is setting up statecraft to micromanage the country by means of family and friends alone.
Consequently, in an apparent redefinition of Ghanaian democracy under Akufo-Addo, the President seems to be practicing ‘Akuffocracy’ – government of the Akuffos, by the Akuffos, for the Akuffos.
And so it has come to pass, that since President Akufo-Addo was sworn into office, he has appointed his cousin, Nana Asante Bediatuo, as Executive Secretary to the President at the Flagstaff House.
In the same Flagstaff House, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a direct cousin of Akufo-Addo’s operates as the de facto Chief of Staff, even though he has not been officially appointed as such.
Mr. Asare Otchere-Darko’s overriding cachet in the Akufo-Addo regime is accentuated by the fact that his wife, Nana Adjoa Hackman, has been appointed as a Board Member of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.
President Akufo-Addo’s daughter, Gyankroma Akufo-Addo, is of course on the Creative Arts Council, while his cousins, Ken Ofori-Atta and Gloria Akuffo, are Finance Minister and Attorney General respectively.
It is in spite of this unprecedented glut of government appointments with family members that the President has nominated Justice Sophia Akuffo, another family member of his, as Chief Justice.
The nomination of the new Chief Justice, arguably, stands out as President Akufo-Addo’s clearest impression that, when it comes to his administration, it is family first, followed by Akans and then friends, in that order.
Mrs. Sophia Akuffo’s appointment is a bold snub to Justice William Atuguba, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, who should have been next in line to be Chief Justice after Mrs. Theodora Georgina Wood, who retires next month.
In fact, Justice Atuguba should have been Chief Justice ahead of Theodora Georgina Wood, who had been catapulted ahead of him by the erstwhile Kufuor regime, which had appointed his junior after the death of former Chief Justice, Kingsley Acquah.
But the snub of Mr. Atuguba had all along been coming after the NPP, as preamble to that start of its 2012 election petition, had strangely requested Justice Atuguba to recuse himself as a panel member of the justices that sat on the case.
Justice Atuguba, who had been appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Rawlings, had refused to recuse himself, eventually reading the terse judgment that dismissed the NPP’s petition to have the 2012 elections that had elected John Mahama as President re-run.
Interestingly, the current NPP regime’s shabby treatment of Justice Atuguba is not the first of such scenarios. Similarly, the Kufuor regime had passed over former Justice, Joyce Bamford-Addo, and made the late Kingsley Acquah Chief Justice in her stead in 2004.
Mrs. Bamford-Addo had consequently retired from the Supreme Court, only to be elected Speaker of Parliament in 2009.
As Akuffocracy re-enacts the Kufuor regime’s cynical tampering with the pecking order of Ghana’s apex court, a separate unpleasant consequence is that the appointment of the President’s family member as Chief Justice constitutes a direct snub to the Volta Region, which Akufo-Addo, after his election into office in 2016, had promised to cultivate as ally to his party.
Of the three short-listed justices for the position of Chief Justice by President Akufo-Addo, Justice Jones Dotse was a strong contender. ‘The Herald’ newspaper had, prior to the nomination of Justice Sophia Akuffo, highlighted the fact that Justice Dotse’s regional background was a strong selling point since the Akufo-Addo regime does not have any Voltarian as a leader of any of the three arms of government.
Besides, Justice Jones Dotse is widely seen as a strong pro-NPP judge.
In spite of this, President Akufo-Addo went ahead to name his own kin as Chief Justice, ignoring the Voltarian, Jones Dotse, and the Northerner, William Atuguba, because, in Akuffocracy, family members come first.
So far, only a few members of the Akufo-Addo family have not yet been appointed into his government, with Lawyer Kwame Akuffo, Edward ‘Bumpty’ Akufo-Addo and Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko as major personalities in this respect. However, the President’s appointments have not been completed yet.
Meanwhile, an interesting network of appointees in Akufo-Addo’s Akuffocracy includes friends of the President and their family members who have been appointed into office.
Among others, Lawyer Philip Addison, who has been tipped for an appointment on to the Supreme Court, is brother to Ernest Yedu Addison, recently appointed as Governor of the Bank of Ghana.
The President’s longstanding friend and media practitioner, Mohammed Awal, has been appointed Minister for Business Development, while Samuel Atta Akyea, a distant relation, is the Minister for Water Resources Works and Housing.
Atta Akyea’s sister-in-law, retiring Chief Justice Georgina Wood, is already assured of a place on the Council of State by President Akufo-Addo even before she retires.
Even the President’s alleged former girlfriend, Ursula Owusu Ekuful, is a Minister, with the Communications Ministry as her portfolio.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/ Fiifi Samuels