Godfred Yeboah Dame
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has condemned former President John Dramani Mahama over his unfounded attacks on the judiciary in recent times.
According to him, it is obvious that the former President’s incessant attacks on the judiciary is fueled by the decision of the Supreme Court to dismiss the “porous” Presidential Election Petition he filed to challenge the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
The Attorney General (AG) said the judiciary has shown consistently that it is the last line of defence for the country, and it was thus “with great dismay and embarrassment that I heard a person who has occupied the highest office of state, former President John Mahama, recently launch an unwarranted attack on the integrity of Ghana’s judiciary. And I observed that this was really the latest instalment of systematic and caustic attacks on our courts by the former President, albeit unjustified.”
Mr. Dame was speaking at the 2022 Annual Conference of the Ghana Bar Association in Ho, Volta Region, under the theme “Ghana’s democracy under the Fourth Republic – Gains, Challenges and Prospects.”
Former President Mahama has launched a series of attacks on the judiciary since he failed to make a case for re-run of the 2020 election, which he lost with about 500,000 votes.
His latest attack on the judiciary was his claim that the institution is biased and has a broken image, which he claimed poses a threat to Ghana’s democracy.
But Mr. Dame speaking at the Bar Conference said, “Closely examined, one will notice that the source of the former President’s unjustified attacks on the judiciary is the unanimous dismissal by the Supreme Court of his rather porous election petition, which indeed was dead on arrival and bound to be dismissed by any court worth its salt in any country.”
He said he was compelled to comment on the issues because they border on the security of the state and constitute a deliberate pattern of conduct aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary, an arm of government whose autonomy is crucial to its proper functioning.
“Such conduct is clearly deplorable, coming from one who has occupied the highest office of President and aspires again to that office. At this moment, it is important for all to note that I express this sentiment not because I stand in opposition to former President Mahama as a politician. My dismay is founded more on the fact that I am a lawyer and every lawyer ought to be concerned about these kinds of views expressed by a political leader in this country,” he added.
Mr. Dame also observed with worry that Mr. Mahama, a non-lawyer, made those comments at a meeting of the Legal Committee of the NDC but none of the lawyers at the meeting “raised a finger to contest the wrong and dangerous propaganda by the former President.”
He, however, commended Mr. Mahama for his contribution to the debate on the need for constitutional reform, particularly his views on the need to amend Article 71 on the payment of emoluments to certain office holders.
The Attorney General used the occasion to commend the Electoral Commission (EC) for the manner in which it organised the 2020 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, describing it an internationally affirmed free, fair, and perhaps, the most transparent elections in Ghana since the inception of the Fourth Republican Constitution.
“I consider it fitting as the leader of the Bar, to call on lawyers to support the Electoral Commission as presently constituted, to persist in its quest to deliver for the nation a free, fair and credible election capable of measuring up to the test of international standards, and also for the Bar to resist the misguided and parochial efforts of certain characters to undermine our democracy through unwarranted attacks on the Electoral Commission,” Mr. Dame added.
BY Gibril Abdul Razak