In our traditional set up, custom demanded that the spirit of the dead be invoked to find out whether the deceased died a natural death or as a result of mischief, the law of Khama or through the deceased’s own sins, negligence or recklessness. Our ancestors had a way of communicating with the living to clarify the uncertainties, doubts, controversies and missing links in the events, actions and omissions leading to the death of a person.
Some people especially Christians felt that the invocation of the spirit of the dead was satanic and amounted to relying on evil spirits. Little did African Christians realize that our traditions and customs formed the basis of modern day science and laws, especially criminal law. Our traditions used the fear of gods, ancestors, creatures and environment to prevent people from committing heinous crimes, offences against the community, the land and fellow human beings.
Most of the traditional “dories” had scientific and sociological relevance. The challenge that faced our forefathers was their inability to unite and unwillingness to use scientific means to explain matters. They preferred to use fear in the form of death, calamity and spirituality to instill discipline in our societies.
Unfortunately, Christianity is gradually diminishing the influence of our traditions and customs. Today, hardly would Christians accept to communicate with the ancestors to know the cause of death of any person. The usual sermon is that “God gives and God takes away”, whatever happens “God says we should give thanks and glory to him”, for we “live or die for the Lord”.
The Christian approach tends to be the general norm these days and therefore even pagans would be prevailed upon to accept the death of persons as acts of God.
Yet still, majority of our traditionalist today feel that it is an exercise in futility to try to find out what might have killed a person. The usual consolation is that whatever the cause of death was, the person would not resurrect or come back to life so why worry about spilled beans. That may explain why most families may not want any post-mortem (autopsy) examinations to be conducted by pathologists. The traditionalists feel that the autopsy involves pain and humiliation for the dead person as the body will be opened from the chest through the abdomen to the waist or in the head or a combination of the two to try to express an opinion, by experts, as to the cause of death.
The traditional belief notwithstanding, the law requires that any death that is suspected to be associated with any foul deal, controversy or unnatural causes SHALL be a coroner’s case and requires an inquest to ascertain the real case. These days, most hospitals, clinics and health centres where persons are not admitted, observed, cared for or “managed” for 24 hours and more would attract the coroner’s inquest.
In the light of the foregoing, may we look at the facts so far emanating from the Castle-the Chief of Staff, Mr. Martey Newman, the President, Mr. John Mahama, the sister of our later Commander-In-Chief, Mrs. Araba Quashie and others of the grapevine and whistleblowers sources to apply the traditional and modern legal imperatives to see our way forward.
From the accounts of the Chief of Staff, the President and the sister of our late Commander-In Chief, there appear to be some uncertainties and doubts in the minds of Ghanaians especially us as to what really happened to the late Commander-In-Chief on that fateful Tuesday 24th July 2012 (if really our late Commander In Chief was alive on that day).
Again the time of arrival at our hospital and official time of death appear to also invite doubt. The events and chronology at our hospital-from the Accident and Emergency Ward through Maternity to Intensive Care Unit-are also pregnant with inconsistencies.
Fortunately, from whatever angle one looks at the events at our hospital, there appears to be some form of unanimity on the fact that the late Commander-In-Chief spent less than 24 hours at our hospital.
Consequently, it is a clear case of the coroner’s inquest. There is the need for a post-mortem (an autopsy). But it is not just any autopsy but a Coroner’s Inquest. What it means is that a formal report will have to be made to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Police, usually by a relative (the spouse, the child (ren), the family head or member or the legal representative of the deceased. In the report to the Police some form documentation would be required. The circumstances leading to or surrounding the death would be given to the Police. The Police would then inform the Coroner (a judge or magistrate) who would then authorize and direct the Medical Officer or the Hospital to conduct a mandatory autopsy on the body and in the presence of the Police and family witnesses especially where the facts given to the Police suggest that the person might not have died a natural death.
After the autopsy, the report is then submitted to the Coroner through the CID of the Police. The Coroner will then determine whether or not criminal proceeding could be instituted, and who the possible suspects are, would have to be determined by the Police or the Prosecution.
What do we hear about the Coroner’s Inquest into the death of our beloved late Commander-In-Chief?
So far there was no complaint lodged at either the Cantonments Police Station, the Police Headquarters, the Airport Police Station or the Osu Police Station. The location of our hospital puts the jurisdiction over the case in one of these Police Establishments. My checks at all these locations have revealed that no official or private complaint has been made by anyone in respect of our late Commander-In-Chief.
Investigations at the various Courts in Osu (magistrate, circuit and whether Cocoa, Coffee or Sheanut Courts) indicate that no Coroner’s Inquest has been initiated or authorized by the Judiciary into the mysterious death of our late Commander-In-Chief.
Well, I am told that part of the late Commander-In-Chief’s family is from or dwells in Cape Coast, the home grounds of Cape Coast Mysterious Dwarfs. There are supposed to be about Seventy-Seven (77) dwarfs in that Municipality. Perhaps, the mysterious dwarfs were responsible for the death of our late Commander-In-Chief or are making it impossible for anybody to know what caused the death of our third Commander-In-Chief of the 4th Republic after the first two tall handsome Johns of 8 years mandate.
Comrades in arms, there is a serious issue that has to be analyzed. It was hoped that three members of our community- over-aged Colonel EL Lawson (the ADC to the late Commander-In-Chief), a certain boy at heart and in mind though advanced in age by name Lieutenant Colonel LL Attachie (the staff officer at the Castle, office of the Chief of Staff) and Lieutenant Colonel Tanye-Kulonyo. These three officers are permanently stationed at the Castle and should be able to tell Ghanaians especially us what happened to the late Commander-In-Chief on Saturday 21st July 2012, Sunday 22nd July 2012, Monday 23rd July 2012 and most importantly Tuesday 24th July 2012.
Where was his Alter Ego, Colonel Lawson, all that while when the late Commander-In-Chief was “suffering” at the Castle that Tuesday 24th July 2012 and when he was rushed to our hospital as a Brought In Dead (B.I.D) case. What was Colonel Lawson doing at our hospital on Monday 23rd July 2012?
Why couldn’t Colonel Lawson, Lieutenant Colonels Attachie and Tanye-Kulonyo use their military expertise and contacts at our hospital to arrange a befitting medical evacuation for our Commander-In-Chief? Some have suggested that they could have called in the Helicopter Squadron of this community to “helimedivac” our late Commander-In-Chief to our hospital, did we not ‘heli transport” the Obamas from the Osu Castle to the Cape Coast Castle? Was that more important than the life of our late Commander-In-Chief?
Now, the barracks needs to know a few things from His Excellency John Mahama, the Chief of Staff, Mr. Martey Newman, Colonels Lawson, Attachie and Tanye-Kulunyo.
When was the autopsy of our late Commander-In-Chief performed? Is it the Thursday 26th July 2012? Who performed the autopsy? Was the autopsy not performed by two experts from Korle-bu Teaching Hospital (Is the Neghelli barracks permitted to mention their names?). The names of the two seasoned doctors will be made anonymous for the time being but it is already known to me.
Why did traffic to and from our hospital from the Mortuary Gate cease? It is because of security; why were the Castle authorities more concerned about the cadaver of our late Commander-In-Chief than his living body and soul?
It is alleged that the parts removed from the body of our late Commander-In-Chief have already found their way into the “juju world” to ensure victory for an injury time substitute? Eish……eeeeeerm……..what a funny world. Yet crocodile tears are flowing after the champagne, pomp and pageantry!
How come there was no official report on the autopsy at our hospital? Why were Castle Security and Presidential Capos sent to our hospital to oversee the autopsy and to carry all documents to the Castle? Why were the two doctors invited to a VIP and not allowed to do their independent work free of any political machinations?
Comrades, the issue about the death of our late Commander-In-Chief is not like the Population Census conducted in 2010. Attempts to doctor the report as was done in the case of Population Census may not wash.
It is true that the two doctors may express an opinion related to the now well-known illness that afflicted our late Commander-In-Chief and those that may not border on criminality, but their conscience and the Good Lord may judge them if they fall into the trap of the new Commander-In-Chief, who stands to benefit and has indeed benefitted from the “well-wished” demise of our Commander-In-Chief and former Chairman of the Armed Forces Council.
The Lord does not throw His Stone early. The Lord is a tolerant, patient and merciful God. He does things in His own ways and at His own time. By all means, time will tell and the real truth about the death of our late Commander-In-Chief would come out.
For now, the rush in closing the chapter on his life and death may appear to be working in favour of the Mafioso but surely the day of reckoning would come. All those who are trying hard to cover up the lapses, negligence, recklessness, insensitivity and wickedness of men against our late Commander-In-Chief should realize that “everyday for thief-man, one day for master”.
No matter how long it takes-days, weeks, months, years, decades, generations or centuries-a day will come when by means of science and technology, the real cause of death of our late Commander-In-Chief would be known.
Those at the helm of affairs today should know that “NO CONDITION IS PERMANENT” and that as mortal beings, we shall all die one day and would be facing judgment on all our deeds, actions and omissions and that repentance only attracts God’s forgiveness but does not obliterate the sin(s).