Retired Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Isaac Douse, has cautioned former President John Dramani Mahama not to drag the image of the Supreme court in the mud because such an act can be a threat to the country’s democracy, and will not only affect the apex court but every Ghanaian as well.
Addressing a conference of lawyers of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Sunday, 28 August 2022, Mr Mahama bewailed that the judiciary has now become the butt of jokes, as a result of its biased rulings and decisions on cases with a political tinge.
He observed that the country’s judiciary is “broken” under the leadership of Justice Anin-Yeboah, and hoped that a “new Chief Justice” will lead an image-cleansing crusade in the future, since, in his view, the current Chief Justice cannot lead such a process.
Recently, he noted, “so badly has the image of our judiciary deteriorated that many of our citizenry openly make a mockery of our justice system and of our justices”.
“The phrase, ‘Go to court’ is, these days, met with derisive laughter, instead of hope that one will truly get justice if he went to the court”, Mr Mahama explained.
Reacting to Mr Mahama’s comment against the judiciary on the Class Morning Show on Class91.3FM, Monday, 29 August 2022, Justice Douse said persons who speak against the judiciary must learn from history.
He told show host Kofi Oppong Asamoah that “It is difficult to agree with him [Mahama] on the soiled image of the judiciary, the judiciary has a range from the magistrate court all the way to the supreme court. From what I’ve read, he has a problem with the supreme court and the cases that they took there and history has shown us something that we should not do too frequently.” He recalled “In 1970 one of the highest proclaimed democrats in this country, Kofi Abrefa Busia after he lost a case in court went on radio and announced that no court can compel the government to follow its decision. It was a very poor decision and we must be very careful on how we make some of these decisions.”
Justice Douse stated that “The supreme court is a very important body to which all of us will refer from time to time and if we drag it in the mud too much it will affect everybody as well.”
He told Mr Mahama that any attempt to reshuffle the judiciary would be extremely difficult per the dictates of the constitution.
“The constitution the way it is made, will make it very difficult for any new government to reshuffle the supreme court as it is. I’ll caution the ex-president to be very careful about some of these things because if an attempt is made to demolish the supreme court because of one or two cases, it can be a very big disaster on our democracy. Democracy depends on the efficiency and respect and the trust people have in the Supreme court,” he warned.
“I’m glad the national security coordinator himself has had the occasion to caution the supreme court on the perceived ills that afflict it and I think it’s time we leave it at that level so that the people who are being accused of [destroying] the court would change their attitudes,” he added.