The decision by the revered Attorney-General and Minister for Justice under the erstwhile John Mahama’s administration, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, to reject a national honour for her sacrifice to the nation has sparked controversy.
Marietta and Fui Tsikata, who unconfirmed report says rejected the award as well, had been nominated by the state for a national honor, together with others for helping the country to secure its western border and oil deposits at the International Tribunal for the Law of Sea (ITLOS).
The two legal practitioners led the process to institute the action at ITLOS, during the presidency of John Dramani Mahama.
Following the tremendous exhibition of legal prowess at the hearing of the case in Germany, the tribunal ruled in favour of Ghana, rejecting almost all the reliefs sought by her neighbor, Cote d’Ivoire.
Though the victory occurred in 2017, the government held an event on Tuesday, March 14, 2023 to show the appreciation of Ghanaians to the team, but Madam Marietta Brew Oppong neither showed up, nor sent a representation.
According to sources, though the Planning Committee named her, among others for the honors, she wrote to the committee to reject it. But for Lawyer Fui Tsikata, sibling of popular Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata, this paper is not privy to the reasons he cited for allegedly rejecting the award.
According to information available to The Chronicle, the committee received a letter from Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, which indicated why she rejected the national honor.
The Chronicle has been informed that the astute lawyer claimed the awardees were not a true reflection of the legal team that secured the victory.
This information was not utterly different from what had been making rounds in political circles, including from members of the opposition that she tabled some demands, but the committee could not meet it, hence the rejection.
The Chronicle also noticed that others like Gloria Akuffo, who was the Attorney General during the day of the ruling, as well as Lawyer Anthony Akoto-Ampaw, were also not present at the event, but had representatives who received the awards for them.
The awardees in the category of the Order of Volta – Companion; ITLOS Main Legal Team are;
Mr. Godfred Yeboah Dame, Mr. Joe Ghartey, Miss Gloria Afua Akuffo, Mr. H. Kwasi Prempeh, Mrs Helen Awo Ziwu, Miss Jane Aheto, Miss Pearl Akiwumi-Siriboe, Mr Godwin Djokoto, Miss Vivienne Gadzekpo, Mrs Sylvia Adusu, Prof. Dominic Pobi and Mrs Lawrence Apaatse.
Meanwhile, a section of Ghanaians who shared their opinions on the rejection, described it as unfortunate, while others commended her act.
It would be recalled that the political party which Marietta belongs to, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), in 2008 issued a statement which urged all party officials to “decline the awards, even as they may have individually acknowledged their nominations. At the time former President Kufuor was set to honor some Ghanaians.”
The statement, signed by the then General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, the NDC claimed the decision was not meant to offend the State of Ghana, or the Presidency, but said accepting the award would not have been different from condoning “hypocrisy and deception” of the then government.
According to the statement signed by General Mosquito, who is the current national chairman of NDC, the list of award winners revealed a “cynical ploy” to confer State honors on then President Kufuor and his cabinet.
Meanwhile, it is not clear whether the decision given to the committee, as picked up by this paper, truly represents the reason for her rejection, or as referenced above, it was to exempt themselves because it was not an NDC government that conferred the honors.