Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko of Kyebi, the razor-sharp tongue maternal cousin of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, has finally met his “Damascus moment” by running into the no nonsense Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo, immediate-past Chief Justice, and a paternal cousin of the President from Akropong.
But unlike Paul, who underwent a dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus, it is not clear, if Gabby will also be converted into an Apostle, having been told he is a “Pin Brained” by the highly respected retired jurist, with 24 years as a Supreme Court judge. She has stood up to the government, describing its approach and attitude in the debt restructuring and management programme as rude, messy, wicked, unlawful and disrespectful to the aged.
The 53-year-old Gabby, was the first to call the 73-year old lady, an ignoramus, suggesting she was stupidly following the crowd of pensioner bondholders asking the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, to exempt them from the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).
Gabby, had in a series of tweets following Justice Sophia Akuffo’s participation in the protest at the Ministry of Finance on Friday, February 10, 2023, stated that the ex-Chief Justice (CJ) erred “big time in her basic appreciation of the issues”.
He added “for a former CJ to take up a noble cause such as she did but at such late hour when all was done and for all that publicity, she owed it to herself and her social standing to have understood the issues far better than what she exhibited last Friday. She is bigger than that”.
But in a succinct response to Gabby, when she joined pensioner bondholders to once again picket at the Ministry of Finance, yesterday, Tuesday, February 14, 2023, Justice Sophia Akuffo, fired “…Insult is the weapon of a pin brained”.
She described Mr Otchere-Darko as a “disturbance”, adding his views are not important to her, because he does not even hold any position in their cousin, Akufo-Addo’s government.
“He [Gabby] cannot tell me what I need to do and what I do not need to do and it’s as simple as that… You know I don’t have time for things like that because people like Gabby are not important to me or to my life, he is a disturbance and that’s all I can say about it,” she told journalists.
Touching on the government’s stance that the DDEP remains voluntary for bondholders, the former Chief Justice insisted that pensioner bondholders will not sign unto the programme which has since concluded according to the Ministry with over 80% subscription.
“With the way, things are going and from what I sense, there will be a creation of two categories of bondholders. Those who refused not to participate, still want to stand by the existing bonds that they have with government.”
“My problem with the whole Debt Exchange Programme is the destruction that will come upon this nation which is being done and can last through many generations. It took a long time for Ghanaians to buy into any government securities because there was always the suspicion of the unknown and now that is being introduced in the form of the DDEP,” Sophia Akuffo stressed.
In one of the tweets over the weekend, Mr Othere-Darko, called out the former CJ, stating she needed to have had a better understanding of the issues surrounding the DDEP before taking sides.
“Why picket over something you don’t like (the improved offer) when you have the right not to sign up? Sorry, but I struggle to get her emotional outburst over-exemption! “I hope she won’t volunteer to picket tomorrow and on the same issues when the time to sign up has expired,” Gabby wrote.
In response, Justice Sophia Akuffo, said she is unperturbed by the name-calling because she has witnessed several instances of trust issues by Ghanaians towards the government to reach her conclusion. She also reiterated the long-term effect of the programme on generations noting that it took a while for Ghanaians to invest in government businesses.
“The word bond is not used as a casual term. You know, bond means ‘tied to’ and when a government bond can be tossed up and down, the tides like that…’flip, flop’…that’s a serious thing. For me, my problem with this whole thing is the distraction of the image of this nation. It’s something that is being done which will affect several generations. It took us a long time before even normal Ghanaians would buy anything that is government because there was always the suspicion that tomorrow you don’t know what will happen.”
She added, “I’ve grown to the age where I have seen it all and therefore I easily become suspicious. Gabby Otchere-Darko can call me paranoid, I don’t care. We’re talking about people, we’re talking about human beings, we’re talking about people who have served this country and have served well and have served hard. Not easy service.”
“When you are not a member of government and you are calling yourself a member of the government.”
Meanwhile, former deputy General Secretary of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Obiri Boahen, has criticized Mr Otchere-Darko for attacking Justice Sophia Akuffo for participating in a picketing exercise by pensioners.
Obiri Boahen, contends that everyone has different viewpoints on various subjects, so it is incorrect for Gabby to criticize the former CJ for participating in the February 10 picketing by pensioners against the government’s DDEP.
Obiri Boahen added that remarks like those from Gabby to the former CJ, won’t benefit the NPP because they might anger the person involved, thus there is a need for the ruling party to exercise extreme caution while making such comments.
Speaking in an interview with Okay FM, Nana Obiri Boahen, said “the former Chief Justice is a human being, if she partakes in a demonstration, I don’t see the reason why people should insult her.
“She’s a human being and everyone has different opinions. When the issue came up, you can’t blame the Minister of Finance and the government because they’ve made us understand that where things have gotten to, we’re in dire times so there’s the need for everyone’s help.”
He added “…now, you can’t also blame the Chief Justice and her pensioners also…because they have also invested their money and hope to enjoy the profits.
“The government is also saying because we’re in crisis they need to adjust things to make the economy better. The government hasn’t committed any crime and the pensioners who also went to do the picketing, have not committed any crime.
“Because, picketing is a form of democracy. There is nothing like pulling a gun, knife, or sword in picketing, they just want to express their displeasure.
“So, I don’t see the reason why someone should attack the former Chief Justice, I don’t understand. Because everyone is expressing his/her views, so why do you attack her? I beg to differ I don’t agree with him (Gabby Otchere Darko).
“…she is just expressing her views, so we shouldn’t do that, because if we do that it is not good. We should be careful with our communications,” he lamented.
On Friday, Sophia Akuffo, joined the retirees picketing at the Ministry of Finance in Accra. The pensioners have been picketing at the premises of the ministry since Monday, February 6, 2023, over the government’s plan to involve their bonds in the DDEP.
Sophia Akuffo, was captured in a front-seat position at the premises of the Ministry holding a wooden placard which read: “We use our bond yields to pay our: rent, medical bills, electricity, and water bills.”