A Good man, Emile Short. Sharply focused and very business-like too if somewhat detached. I was on my way to the 100 in the belly of a Nairobi-bound plane from KlA the other time, when I spotted Ghana's Commissioner for Human Rights and Administrative Justice reading something in his seat.
I figured that if Mr Short was on his way to Nairobi wearing a dead pan, and serious countenance, then something might be simmering in the cooking pot, so I made up my mind to comer him for an interview on disembarkation, Just before' disembarkation, I approached him as he picked up his bag from the storage shelves: "Hello Commissioner". I began, with the widest grin to have graced my perpetually scowling face for a darned long time, but Commissioner Short did not appear to recognise me, I wondered to myself, "What is up with Mr Short?" You see, years ago I went to see Mr Short in his office at the old Parliament House off High Street.
We talked and talked and talked, or rather Mr Short did, The subject? The death penalty, Jomo, Commissioner Short had been campaigning for the abolition of the death penalty even amid high violent crime statistics and I had gone to seek his views on the matter, That had been the last time I had seen him, until the encounter up among the clouds, Nah, wait. I have changed my mind, Jomo. Let me begin with the NDC's Dr Ekwow Spio-Gabrah first.
A dispassionate, sanitised, emotionally detached and human psychology-based appraisal of the personality of this man might yield extremely interesting results, The scalpel for the personality surgery would take the form of a simple question: What makes this guy tick? Those within his party who cannot stand his personality appear too emotionally-charged to be relied upon to answer the question with an open mind.
Those fighting his battles for him within his party, in the mainstream media and on the Internet are probably too blinded by their loyalty to do so with honesty. Spio-Gabrah has some complaints about happenings within his party, see? Now, what does he do? He goes and buries them in a newspaper article which presumably, discusses the legacy of Ghanas first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
A very brilliant idea of course, except that some no-nonsense party cadres put the article through the old scanner of critical linguistics, dredge up words and phrases with suspicious
and insinuating meanings and come to the conclusion that the man was trying to stick needles in President Mills and his administration, Some senior party bot-heads give ' Spio-Garbrah a merciless mauling in the media, Spio-Garbrah flew in from his London-base last week saying he had been invited by party leaders for a peace pipe smoking session of sorts.
Party leaders denied having extended any such invitation to him whereupon, Spio-Garbrah undertook to shake things up a bit. He held a press conference on Tuesday, where he freely handed out to intrigue, drama and scandal mongering news mediums, big Spio-Garbrah-bearing headlines to print boldly on their front pages for their Wednesday issues.
One of his key messages appeared to be that his recent criticisms of President Mills and his administration were meant in good faith. I told myself that Spio-Gabrah was too intelligent a man to expect that after what had transpired between him and President Mills in the past, anyone would believe him, Spio-Gabrah contested the position of presidential candidate of the NDC with Mills and was accused of helping to spread rumours to the effect that Mills was too sick to run for President.
Faith and circumstances played out with providential independence and Mills won both the primaries 3I)d subsequently the presidential elections.
Spio-Gabrah, a former minister of state and ambassador to the United States, is such a high profile figure in his party, that everyone expected President Mills to appoint him to his Cabinet but Mills does not band him any such portfolio. Spio-Gabrah says it does not bother him one bit. I wonder if he really expects his critics to
believe this, Now, an internal party war has broken out between Spio-Gabrah and some party leaders, Friends and foes of the NDC are waiting to see how it plays out.
Unhuh, the Mr Short tale: Until our unexpected meeting up in the air where the free winds blow, Mr Short had been serving as a judge with the Tanzania-based United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. What had he visited Ghana for? The moment my feet hit the tarmac of Jomo Kenyatta, I went looking for Mr Short to find out, but he had vanished into thin atmospheric oxygen. Maybe he sensed that J was going to ask him questions about sensitive matters he would rather not talk to any journalist about.
Someone suggested to me that his trip might have been in connection with his possible return to Ghana to take back the commissioner's chair from acting, Commissioner, Anna Bossman, that is history. The news is that Mr Short is indeed back in Ghana and has returned to his job, The man apparently means business, His warning is that he will not need any identified complainants or official prompting to commence investigations into any allegations of corruption.
He has plunged into his own investigation of the Mabey and Johnson Bribery scandal to illustrate the point. He is in good company:
There are multiple corruption-related probes going on all over the place: The committee probing the accounting
books of the secretariat which oversaw the expenditure of some US$20 million on the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of our independence from colonial rule continued sitting this week.
One of the key witnesses to testify this week was former presidential Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani, Monsieur Mpiani spent more time lamenting the appalling attitude of Ghanaians toward people of great vision and initiative and lecturing the committee on the concept of development, than on the subject of how the money was spent.
We Ghanaians hate hardworking and innovative people and are quick to drag their names in the mud for sheer sport, the man seemed to think. The government apparently wants to find out if per chance, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby and/or political appointees at the national, regional and district levels of political administration, may have helped themselves to some of the jubilee cash.
Dr Brobby said on the contrary, we owe him two billion cedis being money of his own which he spent in anticipation that it would be refunded to him. He affirmed his friend Mpianis implied suggestion that we Ghanaians may need to have our skulls examined by a shrink. Unfazed, Committee Chairman Justice Isaac Duose says his committee will get to bottom of the barrel of accountability and scoop up all there is in it for public viewing!
Note: Spio-Garbrah has explained this Dr business. His was not earned through the usual three years of nightmarish sweat and all encompassing super thesis. It is honorary.
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