The atmosphere inside the auditorium of the Accra International Conference Center was airless. Bad day for the melting make-up of the maidens and madam’s and bad day for the men shut inside black suits.
The auditorium became a huge oven, gently roasting over 3,000 inquisitors. The ladies resorted to improvising with documents as fans.
We were here to feel like God. Watch the things men do in secret and have a good laugh at how judges take bribes with the understanding that the world is just meat and matter. No God upstairs.
Patriotic morale shot up as the National Anthem was played. A real sense, a rare sense of Ghanaian identity – even pride – simmered as we got to ‘bold to defend forever the cause of freedom and of right’’.
The words felt like finding a precious left leg of an expensive shoe long declared lost inside a 400 x 400 bedroom.
Lights went off. Eyes adjusted to the darkness and the huge screen. A contemplative silence fell as we readied to absorb the contents of a 3-hour video pieced together from a 500-hour film.
Soundbites of Presidents Jerry Rawlings, John Kufuor, Atta Mills and John Mahama were mixed together in an emotional rehash of quotes emphasizing the importance of justice and democracy.
The video did not just strip judges naked – metaphorically and almost literally. Judges allegedly collected bribes while thinly clad in old cloth and at a time when they should have been doing their quiet time.
The youth has been severely lampooned for loving money. But there was no youth here.
Mostly old men who appeared to have lost the sense of taste for the finer things in life.
But at the sight of money, life’s lust burned in the eyes. One of them smacked his lips. And a police officer’s mouth was hopelessly left ajar like a lost door hinge. He nodded so subserviently in agreement to take money to pervert justice.
Early morning in his house, Justice Mustapha, a judge wore a cloak common with pious monks. He cut a figure of an Old Testament prophet who had just ended a 40-day fast. He collected the bribe – allegedly.
Diminishing returns set in as scene after scene ended with the exchange of money. Some of the long conversations were inaudible and the subtitles in English which helped us follow the story were sometimes not there.
The movie was monotonous after a while. But that’s what facts often are. Anas did not assemble us to excite us with embellishments. So some had their eyes fixed on their phones if a scene was not very engaging. This was not a movie really. It was life. Even bribery can be boring in a film.
Justice Dery, Quist and Ajet Nassam attracted the most interest. Roaring laughter rang through the auditorium whenever one of them appeared.
There are those who believe a good name has an effect on those who bear it. Florence Ninepence allegedly took 800 cedis. Madam Peace a court clerk made it clear that war would break out if Tiger Eye does not part with 20 cedis before seeing a judge.
And take Gabriel, a powerful court clerk who is also a fixer. Gabriel? ‘Et Tu Brute?’
We watched in shock as justice was denied a 70-year widow whose parcel of land bequeathed to her by husband was taken away with mercilessness of Ahab’s wife Jezebel.
A court clerk collected a bribe while urinating. Some bribe contractors called bribe ‘pouring libation’. Another said it was ‘Kpa-kpa-kpa’’.
And an over-enthusiastic judge at the promise of some 500 cedis sat on a case which was purely the figment of Tiger Eye’s imagination.
A bespectacled old man sat not far away from me. He never spoke. Only infrequent murmuring as he watched what has become of a generation.
The room erupted into applause as it ended. The shaken old man bowed his head. He breathed out deeply….hmmmmm as if to breathe his tired last.
Trade Minister Spio Garbrah walked out and granted an interview. He looked like a politician who had dodged a bullet. So you see the focus on politicians as being corrupt is shallow, his posture appeared to say.
The politicians will live to fight another day. But not today. Today is the turn of the judges – a rare turn of the judges.
Source – myjoyfm