The National Democratic Congress, NDC, has defended comments made by former President John Dramani Mahama critically assessing the judiciary as a whole and the Supreme Court in particular.
According to Mahama, the judiciary was badly in need of a rebirth that only a new Chief Justice can help achieve.
He also lamented what he said was the increasing lack of public trust in the judiciary (Supreme Court) in the wake of unanimous decisions which were seen as being partisan in nature.
Following a critique of Mahama’s position by a retired Court of Appeal judge, Justice Douse, the party on August 30 released a statement disagreeing with the retired judge and giving the scientific basis for Mahama’s views.
“We wish to state in unambiguous terms that while we recognize Justice Douse’s right to free expression, we have fundamental disagreements with him as we find his sentiments not only untenable but also unfounded,” the statement read in part.
It continued that the views expressed by Mahama was not meant to ‘drag the image of the Supreme Court in the mud,’ but rather it was a re-echoing of sentiments expressed by the populace.
“We wish to refer Justice Douse to the findings of the recently published Afrobarometer report by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) which revealed that citizens’ trust in the judiciary has declined by 21 percentage points from 57 percent in 2012 to 36 percent in 2022. The 2020 Mo Ibrahim Governance Index made similar observations,” the statement added.
What Mahama said:
Mahama told a gathering of NDC lawyers over the weekend that a judiciary needed to be trusted by the public at all times because such trust had wide-ranging implications on the security of the state.
“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 people are not poking fun about politics and inducements 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 ‘Unanimous FC’“ he added.
‘Unanimous FC’ is a terminology that is associated with Supreme Court rulings especially when justices of the court deliver a full bench dismissal of political cases before them – a case in point being the 2020 election petition.
Mahama stresses that such perception and derision of the apex courts, is, “an unfortunate development. One of the scariest existential threats to any democracy is when citizens think their judiciary holds no value for them,” he added.