There are now four months left in President John Dramani Mahama’s administration. In essence, President Mahama has four months to invest his political capital in something that will outlive him and his administration.
And yet he decided that, of all the major decisions, he would have take before he presents himself to Ghanaians, was to exercise his prerogative of mercy under article 72, to free the Montie Three.
Was it a calculated mistake, or it was done out of the genuineness of his heart, as every father, will do to protect his children.
Many people had a lot to say, which is a reflection of a good and working democracy, the same way the President, cannot be questioned for doing what he did; citizens also have the right to disagree with his decision. And so from east to west, south to north, you hear people, complaining and pitching the president against the judiciary.
What we have all not stopped to think about is, who will be the biggest loser, in all of this. The answer is not farfetched; it is the person, who acted upon the advice of the council of state, President John Dramani Mahama.
Being a president is one of the most difficult jobs, a burden anyone could ever carry, because they are no turning back, they are no second chances, once a decision is made, one has to live with the consequences of the rest of his life. Posterity, will also judge and quote the days and dates, you took every single decision.
I was reading the autobiography of the former President of the United States of America (USA), George W. Bush, titled Decision Points.
President Bush, found himself in a similar situation, where Scooter Libby, the Chief of Staff of Vice-president, Dick Cheney, was indicted for perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements, and subsequently sentenced to prison for thirty months In June 2007.
According to him, he was faced with agonizing decision, he could let Scooter go to jail, or use his power under the Constitution to grant him a pardon. Or commute his sentence, meaning his conviction, would stand but his sentence would prison sentence would not stand.
Staff in the House, led by vice president pushed aggressively for a pardon.
In early July 2007, he announced that, and I quote him “I respect the jury’s verdict. But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive. Therefore, I am commuting the portion of Mr. Libby’s sentence that required him to spend thirty months in prison”.
The reaction to what he did was the same as it is happening to president Mahama today, some people even proposed impeachment proceedings against him.
He was also accused of favoring his loyalists, who fall foul of the law.
In Ghana, since 1992, no politician ever sentenced to prison, had served the full term. Is it that, they are a special breed or they are more important than the rest of us?
We are all equal before the law at least that is what we are told, yet when they commit and are sentenced, they never serve their full term; they
are pardoned before their term ends.
What is more interesting is the fact that, most of these politicians, gets pardoned not by their political parties being in power, but by their opponent. i.e. when the New Patriotic Party is in power, they get to pardon members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), who are incarcerated by them and vice-versa.
This is the first time, a group of people, who are not politicians, have been pardoned and the opposition elements in the country are losing sleep over it.
We all go to church on Sundays as Christians, as Muslims to the mosques on Friday, these two dominant religions teaches us compassion. The Holy Writ tells to forgive our enemies as our God, has done to us. It is the reason why in war times, when an enemy combatant raises the white flag or surrenders by kneeling down, you do not kill him.
On Wednesday, May 13, 1981, in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City. The Pope was shot and wounded by Mehmet Ali Ağca, while he was entering the square.
This was a direct attack on the life of the head of the Catholic Church, yet when Mehmet was imprison, the pope went to visit him in prison, prayed for him and forgave him.
No commander, worth his salt, abandons his loyal soldiers on the battle field. The President could not be seen to be a father to his enemies and not his loyalists.
This same President is the one who pressured the Gambian government, about the whereabouts of the 44 Ghanaians captured in that country. The young men were mistaken as mercenaries, who had been sent there to overthrow the government of Yahya Jammeh, it tells clearly that, he is not one to leave his people behind.
This is the same president, who on behalf of the people of this country, accepted to host the Gitmo two detainees, who were released earlier this year.
It staggers the mind that people who claims membership of the human species, a person who purports to live by the light of this age, a so-called twenty first century Christian or Muslim, looked upon his fellow human being, and wish that he rots in jail.
The perception is that, the president, took this bold decision, because the Montie trio were purporting to be working for him, although I do not buy this argument, because in the first place three gentlemen, were Ghanaians, before any party affiliation.
The trouble with perception is that it is like cancer, it crawls from one thing to another. Also the longer it lingers, the harder it is to change. Late stage steps taken to change perceptions often fail to get the credit they deserve because some hearts have become hardened by then.
I think the government, must handle the communication very well, in order not to send a bad signal to the rest of the people.