May 27, 2024
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NDC has a problem with Judiciary which needs urgent reforms – Mahama

Former President John Dramani Mahama has charged at the country’s judicial system, alleging it is being manipulated by political powers.

Addressing the US Chapter of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) at the Bentley University over the weekend, Mr Mahama said the party has a problem with the Judiciary.

The 2020 NDC flagbearer who lost the elections and a subsequent petition at the Supreme Court insists the Judiciary must undergo urgent reforms.

“We do have problems with the Judiciary, I must say. I think that it is necessary for some internal reforms to take place there. It is necessary for the Chief Justice or whoever is responsible to make some reforms.

“Most of the governance institutions have been politicised. I give the example of the Judiciary. It is only in Ghana that a Supreme Court will make a decision that a birth certificate is not proof of citizenship,” he said.

“There are many such funny judgements that have been given. I remember at one time, our colleague Professor Raymond Atuguba said that from research he had done, judges turn to give their judgements in favour of the political party or leader that appointed them. 

“He was subjected to such a whirlwind of indignation by the Judiciary, but if you bring it down to what is happening today, and you look at it and see who appointed who, you will find that there was some truth in the research. 

“The thing is, our constitution gives the security of tenure to judges. Once you have been appointed, you cannot be removed. That is why we give security of tenure so that you will have the courage no matter who appointed you to give judgement according to your conscience. That is what our judges should do. They must rise to the occasion.”

Supreme Court predetermined 2020 election petition verdict

In October last year, the former President said the 2020 election verdict by the Supreme Court had been determined even before the case was presented.

Mr Mahama, who disagrees with the apex court ruling, believes that the judgment was not “according to the rights and freedoms of Ghana’s constitution.”

Speaking in an interview on Cape FM in the Central Region as part of his ‘Thank You’ tour, the opposition party leader said the NDC was forced to accept the ruling for the sake of the peace of the country.

“Because we wanted peace in the country, we accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling. If you look at how the judgment was delivered, it was not according to the rights and freedoms of Ghana’s constitution. You could see that the Court had predetermined the decision it was going to take over the matter,” he said.

John Mahama is aggrieved by the refusal of the Court to grant certain applications filed by his lawyers in the case.

He insists that the Electoral Commission was poorly organised, lacking transparency and fairness.

Setting dangerous precedent with Deputy Speakers voting right

On March 10, John Mahama criticised the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling that Deputy Speakers can vote while presiding.

He described the verdict by the Court as “shocking but not surprising”, which sets a dangerous precedent for the country’s Parliamentary procedure.

The Supreme Court presided over by Justice Jones Dotse had ruled that a Deputy Speaker can be counted during the formation of a quorum for parliamentary decision-making and participate in voting while presiding over the parliamentary business.

But Mr Mahama said the ruling was “an unfortunate interpretation for convenience that sets a dangerous precedent of judicial interference in parliamentary procedure for the future.”

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