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Are We Safe With Our Bedroom Matters Before Courts In The Age Of Social Media And Dirty Politics?

Last week, as the vim in the Anas Aremeyaw Anas` video (#Number12) of bribe-taking Ghana Football Association`s (GFAs) President, Kwasi Nyantakyi dwindled and the interest in the on-going World Cup football competition in Russia gathers momentum, the social media, especially Mark Zuckerberg`s Facebook, was inundated with the trending story and photocopy evidence of divorce papers field by Mr. Tony Lithur against his wife Nana Oye Lithur. It was like our Ghanaian Facebook pages have been turned to sleazy celebrity gossip pages of TMZ and Mail online. So as Tony and Nana Oye sleep on their beds to think on their next moves, their legs were visibly glaring to the Ghanaian public. Yehowa!

Ordinarily, this divorce case would not have seen the public eyes at all, but the two individuals involved high profile public officials who have carved niche for themselves in the Ghanaian political, legal and gender landscape. They have performed their duties well with their natural talent and knowledge to emerge as achievers. In so doing, they have also made some enemies, especially in the field of politics and gender advocacy.

Who is Tony Lithur?

Attorney Tony Lithur is an ethnic Ewe from the Volta Region of Ghana and the Founder & Managing Partner at LithurBrew& Company, one of the best law firms in Ghana located at the Kanda Estate, Accra.  Lithur founded his law firm in 1999 as Tony Lithur & Company nine years after coming out of Law School. From 1985 to 1990, Lithur pursued his undergraduate education at the University of Ghana and proceeded to Ghana School of Law. By dent of hard work and legal skills he built his company into a serious and prestigious law firm.

Putting our petty politics aside, professionally, Lithur is one of the best legal brains in Ghana today. In his capacity as lawyer, he has acted as transaction advisor on different projects, and routinely advises corporate clients on all aspects of their operations. He is a strong negotiator and provides advice on joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, start-ups and investments. He is an expert on the legal aspects of finance leasing, and has advised banks and other financial institutions on all aspects of their operations. Easily acknowledged as one of the foremost litigators in Ghana today, his strength lies in the sheer expanse and depth of his experience in legal practice.

Lithur`s firm, LithurBrew& Co boasts of some smart and experienced legal brains in the country. The glitterati of his legal squad include Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, former Attorney-General of Ghana and Managing Partner; Senior Partners like Emeafa Hardcastle and Kofi Somuah, whilst Philip Jimanor, Nancy Amartefio and Edith Akiwumi serve as Junior Partners. The firm also has Kwadjo Asare-Kena serving as Senior Associate with Joe Slovo Tia, Sefakor Comfort Adzo Akpabla, Aisha Kubura Attah, Etta Gyamfi Mensah, Mame Ama E. Orleans-Lindsay, Jennifer Adjetey Armah and Reggie Nyamekye as Associates.

In 2000, Tony Lithur made his legal brilliance felt in the Ghanaian media when as lawyer for Messrs Adryx Metal and Mining when he locked legal horns with Mr. Kwame Tetteh of Tetteh & Associate of Swanzy Arcade and the lawyer for Ashanti Gold. From his lucrative legal practice, Tony Lithur later put his legal services before his beloved National Democratic Congress (NDC) party and its media allies on low profile.

But in 2006 he made his biggest political foray into Ghana`s acrimonious partisan cases when he represented Hon. Doe Adjaho in his writ against Parliament of Ghana from debating, deliberating on or passing the bill Representation of Peoples (Amendment) Bill into law. From there he has defended Raymond Archer, editor of Enquirer newspaper in contempt case brought against him by Mr. Akwasi Adjei, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Sir Charles Daniel Gyimah, former Managing-Director of the National Investment Bank (NIB) in 2010; he also defended NDC radios and newspapers.

Tony Lithur went further to found and lead the Free Tsatsu Movement, a human rights advocacy group, which mobilize support for signatures condemning  what he called “the “miscarriage of justice in the annals of Ghanaian judiciary” against Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata Tsikata, when former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) was sentenced to five-year jail term by an Accra Fast Track High Court, presided over by Justice Henrietta Abban on June 18, 2008 for willfully causing financial loss of more than 2.3 billion old cedis to the state and misappropriation of public property.

Lithur sunk in more cash into the Free Tsatsu Movement and together with Esther Cobbah (Tstsu`s wife) and other high profile NDC leaders such as late Professor (President) John Evans Atta Mills, John Mahama and teaming NDC supporters and Voltarians fought for the release of Tsatsu Tsikata. Finally, President Kufuor offered Tsatsu Tsikata Presidential pardon.

However, 2012 Presidential Election Petition at the Supreme Court brought Tony Lithur to the public light and positioned him to gain respect and adoration from the NDC supporters and hatred from the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), with their supporters spelling his name as “Litor” to reflect his Ewe background. Lithur introduced himself to the Superior Court as the Solicitor for President John Dramani Mahama and co-counsel to the galaxy of the Mahama and NDC defence team which was headed by Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata. In the end, Lithur and his team won the Election Petition case.

After the Petition, he was appointed and sworn in on Thursday, September 19, 2013 sworn in by the Minister of Transport, Dzifa Aku Ativor, as the chairman of the Board of Governors for the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL). His detractors in NPP saw that his reward from the President. When the issue of the buying of UMB Bank (then Merchant Bank) came up, Lithur represented Fortiz Equity Fund as their counsel against the action taken by Andrew Awuni, the Executive Director of the Center for Freedom and Accuracy (CFA), an advocacy group. However, in 2015, one of his firm`s Senior Partner and former A-G and the current Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Alamisi Ben Kaiser Amidu made an allegations of complicity against his Tony`s firm in connection with the GH¢51.2 million Woyome saga.

Even after the NDC lost elections in the 2016, Tony Lithur has not shied away from representing his comrades in the NDC. Last year, his firm instituted a legal action against Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to recover legal fees of over GH¢2m (GH¢2,005,320), plus interest.

In recent times, he filed a suit at the Supreme Court on the instruction of Member of Parliament for Bolga Central, Dr. Dominic Ayine against the nomination of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor. These are some of the things that has push zeal in his detractors in the NPP to go on a full hog to expose any dirt in his public and private life to shame him.

But on human side, Tony Lithur is a kind and selfless man. Loving father and advisor to his workers and friends. Tony import cars and he dash cars as gifts to deserving people who work hard for him. He even offered beautiful salon car to Bernard Mornah, National Chairman of the Peoples National Party (PNC).  Tony Lithur is also a law lecturer.

…And who is Nana Oye Lithur?

Nana Oye Lithur is an astute lawyer, celebrated gender advocate and a politician. In 2013, she was appointed by ex-President John Mahama as the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection in Ghana. Her appointment was seen by the section of the Ghanaian public as quid pro quo to Tony Lithur for defending the President and the NDC at the Court in the Election Petition brought by the NPP.

Nana Oye Lithur, a Fante (Shama) and Akwapim born lawyer had her secondary education at the prestigious Wesley Girls High School at Cape Coast. She proceeded to the University of Ghana for her LLB Law, the Ghana School of Law School for her BL and a Masters in Law, Human Rights and Democratization in Africa from the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 2001.

Prior to entering politics, Nana Oye was in gender advocacy and human rights campaign. She has held several local and international positions. She served as the Executive Director of the Human Rights Advocacy Centre and as the Regional Coordinator (Africa Office) for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative. Her advocacy centre helps poor people to access justice. Since 2009, the centre has handled 677 human rights cases. She is an advisory member of the International Consortium on Realising Reproductive Rights and a member of the steering committee of the International Consortium on Medical Abortion. She was the national secretary of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, (FIDA-Ghana) and the immediate past Honorary Legal Advisor of the Ghana Red Cross Society.

In 2012, she became a proud recipient of the African Servant Leadership Award, and moved on to snatch the Champion of Women’s Rights Award in 2012 and the West African Women in Leadership Award for Distinguished Impact. Nana Oye alongside Annie Chen, Ron MacInnis, and Taylor Williamson authored a classic book, Designing a Stigma and Discrimination Reporting System in Ghana: Current Policy and Practice in Ghana to Link HIV and the Law. She writes a weekly column called “Women and the Law” in the Daily Graphic newspaper and published a Handbook on Adolescent Reproductive Rights. She has led several fact-finding missions to investigate human rights violations in Ghana and has also worked as a lecturer, presenting Human Rights/CHRI human rights lectures for journalism students.

When did Tony and Nana tie the knot?

From the available information from the Divorce Papers filed at the Divorce and Matrimonial Division of the High Court in Accra on May 2, 2018 by Mr. Tony Lithur through his lawyer, O. K. Osafo Buaben of Oseawuo Chambers & Co., he married his awesome lawyer wife under customary law on April 14, 1991 when Ghana was getting ready to enter into democratic rule and Fl. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings was a military dictator. As a result of Tony`s affection for Nana Oye and in tandem with modern legal practice, the then two love-birds committed themselves under the Ordinance at the Christ the King Church on January 16, 1997. Thus through merrily laughter, joys, hurts, pains, sadness, bargains, and compromises which can be found in any marriage, Tony and Nana Oye endured 27 years of marriage and succeeded to bring into this crucible of life four kids. That is quite impressive! Kim Kardahian married for just a month, and very many high profile pastors such as Archbishop Nicholas Duncan-Williams and Pastor Chris Oyakhilome have also suffered the butt of acrimonious divorce. Indeed, they are not the first persons whose relationship has obviously gone sour.

Thus accusations by Tony Lithur against his wife, Nana Oye are nothing new. Tony Lithur claimed that his wife is lousy, irresponsible and in amorous relationship with one Sam Cudjoe and another man and the wife`s (Nana Oye`s) counter-claims that Tony is a wife beater, irresponsible man and womanizer are usual presentations made by parties in divorce to prove why their marriage has reach an irreconcilable trajectory. This enables the parties to divorce to secure divorce judgments from the court instead of reconciliation or separation.  Has it not been the leakage of the courts documents, these two responsible and highly achieving couple would have litigated their divorce case in-camera to secure their own outcomes.

So why the leakage on social media?

Whoever leaked the divorce papers should bow his or her head down in shame. It is obviously a handiwork of either Tony or Nana Oye`s political detractor who is bent on soiling their reputation. Otherwise, why would a purely private matter of marriage and divorce become public news content on social media for the whole world to consume?

It is quite clear that we have become petty as people in Ghana. We have thrown away our traditional values in the name of acrimonious politics and we are ready to utilize any means possible to destroy the heard earned reputation of our political opponents.

The hatred for the husband and wife was quite glaring on the social media. For Tony Lithur, the NPP social media propagandists it was a glorious opportunity to pay back Tony Lithur and his wife. The party propaganda machinery was well oiled that day and within split seconds photographic shots of the Divorce Papers was sent to various Facebook and Wassapp groups to share on their timelines. These conveyor-belts wasted no time to share the papers with scathing comments to the joy of their paymasters who needed the fanning of the matter to push away the recent unpopular incidence and scandals which has hit the NPP government. These party underlings seized on the divorce Papers to attack Tony`s integrity as wife beater and womanizer.

One propagandist, referring to Lithur as “Litor” wrote that Tony and Nana Oye`s marriage is on the rocks because of their involvement in “stealing the court verdict with some Supreme Court judges to help Mahama in the Election Petition case in 2012.” For others, Nana Oye has shown her true self as no gender advocate as she has purported to be. Quoting from Tony Lithur`s claims, Nana Oye was accused of maltreating others and cheating on her husband without waiting to get her reply to the husband`s claims. These vile people justified their attacks with a cynical view that the parties involved are public figures and a case involving them should be of public interest.

Ergo, it was not strange that the leakage of the court documents sparked heated debate on the social media and on radios, with some arguing that matrimonial cases are supposed to be heard in private and not necessarily for public consumption. The good news was that, even reasonable and intelligent supporters of the ruling NPP were appalled at the leakage of the divorce documents. They condemned the manner in which some party attack dogs were ridiculing and mocking at the Lithurs in their trying times. The feminists and gender activists minced no words in condemning people who posted and shared the leaked Papers on the social media and online news portals.

It was quite refreshing that Tony Lithur showed his stature as gentleman and made an emotional plea to the general public to give his family some privacy as they go through a “painful” and “difficult” divorce process. Lithur said “While acknowledging the existence of the filed petition, I would like to say that the process is an emotional and difficult one for us and our children. I would, therefore, very respectfully and humbly, ask the general public to kindly give us, our children, and love ones some privacy to deal quietly with this painful stage of our lives.”

I doff my hurt off to Tony Lithur and I also feel Nana Oye Lithur handled herself well. May God help them in whatever outcome the court reach. Divorce is no crime and what has happened to Tony and Nana Oye is far better than people who laughed at them. Some of the young girls who laughed are being used as political prostitutes in their various political parties and left out like rags.

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