According to the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), John Mahama’s remarks that the court is stacked with judges who support the NPP are regrettable and must be denounced.
Speaking at the NDC Lawyers Conference over the weekend, the former leader charged that President Akufo-Addo had appointed members of his party to the judiciary in an effort to sway rulings in their favor.
The former President stated that certain NDC attorneys should be prepared to accept places on the bench in order to balance the makeup of the court.
He said, “Our lawyers, some of you must be prepared to go onto the bench, I know that some of you have very lucrative legal practices you will not want to leave and go onto the bench.
“But you can see what the current President has done; he appointed the largest number of judges onto the bench. More than 80 towards hundred and counting.
“He’s packed the court and we know that they’ve packed the court because they want to avoid accountability after they have left office.
“So all manner of people who have been known to be partisan, to have been executives of their party who are in the legal profession have been leapfrogged onto the Superior courts and other places.”
Saviour Kudze, the public relations officer for the Ghana Bar Association, responded to the statement by telling JoyNews that the remarks were inaccurate and insisted that a person’s political allegiance did not prevent them from becoming a judge.
“I will say first and foremost, the unfortunate and improper comment. I don’t know how he came to that conclusion. There’s nothing wrong with former president Mahama advising a group of lawyers who have identified themselves as NDC lawyers to take up an appointment on the bench.
“But to make the allegation that the bench has now been packed with NPP-aligned judges that is unfortunate. Mr. Mahama is a man of influence and whatever he says carries a lot of weight, but he must say it with evidence and with a lot of conviction. And the evidence is even more important than the conviction. If you want to be appointed to the bench, there are two critical things they must look out for in you; your moral uprightness and your knowledge of the law.
“I am yet to know of a requirement that will ask you of your political affiliation, political orientation, ideology and membership of a political party. I don’t know of it. The fact that a lawyer is a politician does not mean he cannot be appointed as a judge. As we speak now, there are many judges or some judges who were political party executives not necessarily NPPs, even though there’s a sitting high court judge who is a former member of parliament on the ticket of the NDC.
“Did they refuse to appoint that person because he was in politics? No, because they were not looking at his political affiliation, not at all. That comment must be condemned,” he explained.
Saviour Kudze continued by saying it was incomprehensible that the previous president would denounce what he called a bad deed while also proposing to institutionalize it.
“Look, basically he doesn’t like what is currently happening, why does he want to come and perpetuate it? It means he’s not coming to do a reform meanwhile he was talking about reform. If you want to reform a situation that you don’t like do you come to continue it? I don’t think so,” he said.
According to the Ghana Bar Association, such remarks must stop because they incite people to distrust the judiciary and turn them against the courts.
“People with high influence of the stature of Mr. Mahama shouldn’t be saying this. Don’t forget he’s a candidate now vying to rule this country. Should he win this election, he’s coming to superintend on all these institutions.
“If you begin to say things like this about the institutions that you are yearning to come and superintend over does it augur well for our development as a state? That is why I am saying that you have made certain allegations assuming and not admitting they’re correct, why are you coming to perpetuate them?” he said.