Mahama must ignore those calling on him to free the so-called Montie 3

By Kofi Thompson

The petition by members and supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), asking President Mahama to free the so-called Montie That is a most unfortunate development. Surely, they have not forgotten the role that radio stations played, in creating the madness and hatred that led to the genocide in Rwanda?

It is important that all the members and supporters of political parties in our homeland Ghana, understand clearly that no one is above the law in our democracy, which is underpinned by the rule of law and due process. The 1992 Constitution enjoins all Ghanaians to be responsible and law-abiding citizens.

The idea that three reckless and arrogant individuals, who were so callous and insensitive that they sought to put fear into judges of the Supreme Court, during a live current affairs radio discussion programme - on the very day that decent Ghanaians were focused on the anniversary of the death of three judges who were brutally murdered some thirty odd years ago - should be pardoned by the President of the Republic of Ghana, is hard to fathom and rather difficult to swallow.

Do those signing that petition not realise that the article in the 1992 Constitution that they want the President to invoke - as the legal basis for freeing those three foolhardy and thoughtless individuals who sought to intimidate judges of the Supreme Court - is an article of the 1992 Constitution (Article 72 of Chapter 8), which is expressly meant to provide a window for clemency by the state, for convicted individuals on genuine humanitarian grounds only?

Article 72 of Chapter 8 of the 1992 Constitution, is meant to enable the Leviathan that is the Ghanaian nation state, through the President of the Republic of Ghana, to be compassionate and temper justice with mercy, when necessary, in certain situations - such as the state freeing an elderly convict dying from cancer who has served almost all of a lengthy prison sentence to be with his or her family in their final days on this earth, for example.

Article 72 of Chapter 8 of the 1992 Constitution, is not meant to provide the President of the Republic of Ghana, with a constitutionally-mandated political tool-of-convenience, which is in effect a backdoor legal sleight-of-hand, to enable the hard-of-hearing leaders of ruling parties in Ghana, to undermine the Judiciary with - by caving in to the foolish and unreasonable demands of ruling party members and supporters to free convicted law-breakers: just because they happen to be propagandists for ruling parties.

On no account must President Mahama use Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, to free the so-called Montie Three, from the prison where they are now languishing as a direct result of their own foolishness and recklessness. They have been hoisted on their own petard after all. So why the agitation by NDC members and supporters for their release from prison by the President?

Are those agitating for the President to use Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution implying that political party propagandists of ruling parties are above the laws of our country? What utter nonsense.

This a democracy not a dictatorship. To invoke Article 72 to free the Montie Three would be an abuse of a constitutional provision meant to be used for noble purposes only, by Presidents of the Republic of Ghana. Why are some members of our political class so oblivious of the common good - when it comes to errant party members who threaten the well-being of our nation and its people taking responsibility for their unacceptable actions and egregious inactions?

The 1992 Constitution's Article 72 was never meant to be used to free errant ruling party members and supporters, who have the gall to threaten judges sitting on cases before them, in the apex court of our justice delivery system on the airwaves of pro-government radio stations, who are then subsequently lawfully jailed by the selfsame apex court in our justice system, which they scandalise in radio programmes. Period.

The leadership of the NDC ought to understand clearly that under our laws the supporters and members of political parties in our country are neither more important nor more equal than the rest of the population of Ghana - and that in a nation in which all are equal before the law it behoves the members and supporters of all political parties to be responsible citizens at all material times.

Given the circumstances - and given the fact that fellow judges of theirs were brutally murdered and their bodies burnt too on top of that heinous crime some thirty odd years ago, and the anniversary of which fell on the very day that the so-called Montie Three were spewing their rabble-rousing pure nonsense on bamboo stilts on the airwaves of an Accra radio station - those three indiscreet and unwise fellows have actually been treated leniently and fairly by the Supreme Court.

The NDC's supporters and membership must be grateful that the Supreme Court dealt with the so-called Montie Three so leniently - for in passing judgement on the Montie Three, it could just as easily have asked them to serve the maximum three years that many fair-minded and independent-minded Ghanaians are of the opinion they deserve for their foolhardiness. They have got their just deserts. Full stop.

President Mahama would be wise to ignore that uncalled for petition being signed and circulated by the selfsame misguided and partisan elements, whose over-zealousness and narrow-minded parochialism is slowly destroying our nation's cohesion - and threatening the stability of our country: and, worst of all, undermining the very foundations of our democratic system.