[Dedication: This piece is dedicated to a dear friend and law school mate, Richard Badombie Esq whose tragic passing at the hands of some armed persons has left us in shock. He would be sorely missed for his public spiritedness and warm personality]
The early days of legislation university was difficult. It needed finding employed to the scenario legislation process of teaching and learning. And adapting to the workload. There had been way too lots of cases to cram and minor time to mirror.
As immediately as situations have been read, they were being forgotten. But despite all this, a handful of instances make an impression on you. And this remains with you for a prolonged time. The Republic v Director of Prisons, Ex parte Salifa was a single of these situations for me.
Place the authorized complexities, and jargons away and this case is basically about a youngster in the grip of the State and a father yelling and accomplishing all he could to have his son back again. Very little is mentioned of what the little one is suspected of. But it was broadly thought the boy was getting held on the cost of subversion.
To much better value this story, let’s start with the overthrow of Ghana’s to start with President, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. This was in 1966. A team of senior armed forces and police officers led by Lieutenant Common (retired) J.A. Ankrah led a coup to overthrow Ghana’s initially president. Kwame Nkrumah, by then had left Ghana and was on his way to Hanoi, at the invitation of the Vietnamese Leader, Ho Chi Minh. After a range of cease overs, Nkrumah lastly settled in Hanoi. It would not consider extensive for information of his overthrow to achieve him on 24 February 1966. It was not some thing Nkrumah noticed coming. On 25 February 1966, Nkrumah by way of his Foreign Minister, Mr Alex Quaison Sackey, declared that he was nonetheless the Head of Condition of Ghana and that he would return quickly.
Nkrumah should have known that returning to Ghana was not an option. He flew to Moscow and then from Moscow to Conakry, Guinea. This was on 2nd March 1966. There, he was designed a co-President. The alternative of Guinea was not weird. Nkrumah had been generous to Guinea. In 1958, Nkrumah lent 5,000,000 pounds to Guinea, and Guinea’s reciprocity was understandably normal.
And it was on this working day, 2nd March 1966, that Nkrumah would make a speech that would not only place a pressure on the diplomatic connection between Ghana and Guinea. It would, possibly, modify the lifestyle of a boy – endlessly.
When Nkrumah arrived in Guinea, he declared:
“I have occur listed here purposely to use Guinea as a system to notify the planet that very soon I shall be in Accra, in Ghana. I am not likely to say anything against any person, since I comprehend flawlessly the aspects at do the job in the planet today… All we have to do is to stand business and see how we can counteract these elements.”
Nkrumah’s existence in Guinea and the help he drew from the Guinean Condition came at a charge. The authorities of the Nationwide Liberation Council closed the Ghanaian embassy in Conakry. Ghana’s diplomatic mission was recalled.
But none of these moves seemed to have bothered either Nkrumah or Sekou Touré. Whiles in Guinea, Nkrumah continued to access out to Ghanaians by way of radio broadcast. He would talk about returning before long to Ghana and placing to demise all army leaders. “I know that when the time arrives, you will crush the new regime. I know the Ghanaian men and women will continue being trustworthy to me as perfectly as to my get together and my federal government.”
Sekou Toure piled up the pressure. “20,000 Guinean ex-servicemen who experienced been in the French Military, as nicely as 50,000 soldiers recruited from gals associates and youths of the Guinean Democratic Celebration” would be heading to Ghana “in military convoys to support the Ghanaian men and women totally free itself from the dictatorship of the armed service traitors”, he declared.
The NLC was on the edge. It did not acquire Nkrumah’s words and phrases lightly and believed in the risk of a countercoup d’état. For instance, a soviet trawler was arrested off the Takoradi harbour as there ended up fears that the Soviet Union/Russians were doing work towards the removal of the NLC.
The above qualifications paints a good photo of the condition of relations concerning Ghana and Guinea, and the political weather in Ghana. It is, hence, not really hard to see how any one from Guinea may conclude up getting seen with suspicion.
The protagonist in this tale was a youthful gentleman by the name of Salifa or Salifu. The legislation reviews named him as Mohammed Abdul Rahim Baba Salifa. The newspapers of the working day named him as Abdul Rahim Baba Salifu. For this piece, let’s get in touch with him Salifa.
Salifa was a fifteen-calendar year-aged schoolboy despatched to Guinea by his father in 1965 to study. Two a long time later, he ran absent from his guardian. He operate away for the reason that he was being maltreated by his guardian. This was not out of the blue. He experienced earlier complained and written about the maltreatment he experienced at the arms of his Guinean guardian – Dr Oury. His father experienced letters to clearly show. There was, as a result, an set up pattern of abuse and mistreatment. So, he chose to flee.
He did not appear to Ghana directly. His very first halt was Sierra Leone exactly where he questioned the Ghanaian Large Commissioner to assist him return to his mother and father in Ghana. He got the assistance he questioned for. But not in the way he anticipated. He arrived in Ghana in June 1967. But after he touched down, he was arrested by the police and detained at the Ussher Fort Jail. He was not billed with any felony offence. He was just imprisoned. He was residence but could not get home. The law report did not give any purpose for his arrest. Neither did the newspapers. It was greatly rumoured and believed that he was becoming held only mainly because he experienced arrived from Guinea. Other people rumoured that he might have been an agent of the Nkrumah despatched to produce some messages to Nkrumah loyalists in Ghana.
With his son at the Ussher Fort jail, his father attempted to do the really pure thing: get his son out of jail. A 12 months just after Salifa’s detention (i.e., in June 1968), his father engaged a attorney to compel the jail authorities to generate his son. A day was scheduled for the listening to. The Director of Prisons confirmed up. He experienced a decree signed by the Chairman of the Countrywide Liberation Council supposedly authorizing the arrest and detention of Salifa.
Salifa’s law firm challenged the validity of the decree issued by Typical Ankrah on the grounds that the decree was undated and not gazetted. Salifa’s attorney, John Lynes an Australian who experienced appear to settle in Ghana and would finally be deported, argued that the decree did not point out Salifa’s identify and hence it could not have used to him. The discovered Superior Court choose, Anterkyi J agreed with Salifa’s law firm and concluded that the decree authorizing the arrest and detention of Salifa was defective and not compliant with the Nationwide Liberation Council’s personal proclamation. On that basis, Salifa was released.
But not for lengthy.
He was promptly re-arrested and introduced prior to a different court docket. The very first case was dealt with by Mr. K. Gyeke-Darko, a Principal Condition Attorney, who was renowned for prosecuting a number of coup plot trials. In the re-arrest proceedings, the Lawyer-Basic, Victor Owusu, and the Director for Public Prosecutions were being in court docket. The presence of the Lawyer-General and the Director for General public Prosecutions sums up the great importance the NLC put on this situation.
Mr. Victor Owusu, as quoted in the 11th July 1968 Everyday Graphic, argued that the NLC government experienced unlimited powers and was “more impressive than the colonial government and even the Authorities of impartial Ghana and its Parliament”. Prolonged story limited, the NLC could not regardless of what it desired to do, like arresting a seventeen-year-old boy without having cost and lawful foundation. The next courtroom, presided above by Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe upheld the validity of the exact detention buy, and Salifa was driving bars once again. And this is the place the story finishes.
We only get an insight into Salifa’s imagining in a letter he wrote to his father. In his individual words he writes:
“Please, father, I will like you to know that when I was coming I noted myself to the Ghana Superior Commissioner in Sierra Leone that I am a seventeen-yr old scholar who has been to Guinea in 1965 Oct (i.e. throughout the old govt) and desired to arrive back again to Ghana and remain with my mother and father, exactly where I will be in a position to continue my research. Effectively, this gentleman (the High Commissioner) gave me a ticket, well prepared my travelling certification and helped me to embark into the airplane for Ghana – with all my loyalty I am arrested.
Everything is clear, I assume, that if I ended up coming to do anything from the authorities I would not have handed by the Ghana High Commissioner in Sierra Leone, but, as I claimed, I am destined to be arrested. So, depart anything to God, father.
Please, anytime you acquire a letter from Oury expressing that I have run away, choose that letter to the Unique Branch (C.I.D.) with my letters which explain to you that I am in prison in Ghana, so you have arrive to beg them torelease me because I am harmless and I am a pupil, I am not intrigued in politics.”
Captured in the previously mentioned letter is a complicated and conflicting established of emotions. Salifa asserts his innocence, will come to terms with his circumstances, attempts to console the father, and someplace in there needs that his guardian in Guinea Dr. Oury will create to the Ghanaian authorities to corroborate his story and hopefully get him introduced.
Not significantly is identified of the destiny of Salifa. Did he die? Did he endure the turbulent durations in incarceration? How lengthy was he there? Was he finally produced? Did he last but not least get to know the prices levelled against him? What variety of lifestyle did he are living afterwards? It is tricky to tell. It has been past 50 % of a century considering that the situations described in this piece took location. And sadly, Salifa’s tale is still waiting to be told – in full.
***: I desire to thank Mr. Fui Tsikata of Reindorf Chambers for his ideas and perception on the issue. Also, my gratitude goes to Oliver Barker Vormawor and Ama Asare Korang for reviewing earlier drafts of this piece.
  GLR 630
Keesing’s modern archives, March 12-19, pg. (21275) http://world wide web.stanford.edu/group/tomzgroup/pmwiki/uploads/1408-1966-Keesings-a-EYJ.pdf