A Retired Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Isaac Douse, has advised former President John Dramani Mahama against his constant attack and dragging the judiciary, especially image of the Supreme Court into the mud.
According to the retired judge, Mr. Mahama’s behaviour is a threat to the country’s democracy, and can affect Ghanaians in general and not only the Supreme Court he is targeting.
The 2020 Presidential Candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), at a two-day training for lawyers in the party, stated 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 Kwasi 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.
Similarly, he earlier descended heavily on the judiciary and Chief Justice, saying “Recently, so badly has the image of our judiciary deteriorated that many of our citizenry openly make mockery of our justice system and of our justices. The phrase ‘go to court’ in these days met with derisive laughter instead of hope that one will truly get justice if he went to the court.
“If people are not poking fun about politics and inducement being used to sway the hand of justice in the Lower Courts then it is poking fun and making statements about the 7:0 of the the unanimous FC, verdicts which mostly involve cases of a political nature in our Supreme court, this is an unfortunate but serious development.
“One of the scariest existential threats to any democracy is when citizens think their judiciary holds no value for them or no use to them, this is the security threat that the National Security apparatus tried to draw the attention of the nation to recently but was poorly received by the President and hIs party.
“It is scary because it threatens the peace and stability of our democracy and we must quickly correct this fast spreading notion. If care is not taken, we will get to a state where people will have no qualms about taking the law into their own hands because they do not have the confidence that they can get any justice in the system
“There is therefore, the urgent need for the Ghanaian judiciary to work to win the trust and confidence of the citizenry and erase the widely-held perception of hostility and political bias in legal proceedings at the highest court of the land.
“Unfortunately, we have no hope that the current leadership of our judiciary can lead such a process of change, we can only hope that the new Chief Justice will lead the process to repair the broken image that our judiciary has acquired over the last few years.”
The former President took on the General Legal Council (GLC), accusing them of tying the hands of would-be lawyers behind them, saying that is is not a good omen for the future of legal practice in Ghana.
He said it will be difficult to raise “confident, independent and creative” lawyers if they cannot contest “oppressive rules” churned out by the GLC.
Mr. Mahama accused the Council of being under excessive government control, the reason it appears to be intimidating trainees in becoming problem-solving practitioners.
Responding to Mr Mahama’s comment against the judiciary as reported by Accra based media outlet, Class91.3FM, on Monday, 29th August 2022, Justice Douse believes that Mr. Mahama who speaks against the judiciary must learn from history.
According to him, “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.
“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.”
“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 warned the 2020 NDC leader that he cannot reshuffle the Supreme Court 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.
“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 warned.