OPEN LETTER TO JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA
Dear H.E. John Mahama,
I have followed with deep concern your recent comments about the nation’s Judiciary, which comments have rightly been described by right-thinking members of society as amounting to scandalizing the Judiciary. Regrettably, this unfortunate act of unjustifiably attacking the Judiciary is only your latest instalment of unwarranted and systematic attacks on the Judiciary, and it doesn’t appear you would put a stop to this deliberate pattern of conduct.
There is no gainsaying that your real intention for embarking on this campaign of hate against the Judiciary is to make the Ghanaian people lose confidence in this important organ of State by undermining its integrity and independence. Yet, you are well aware that the Judiciary, from the citizens’ standpoint, is the most important organ of the State. The people see the Judiciary as the only institution that acts as their protector against possible excesses of the Legislative and Executive organs of the State.
Equally, the Judiciary is seen as not only the guardian and protector of the Constitution but also as the guardian and protector of the fundamental rights of the people. To that extent, the people’s confidence in the Judiciary must at all times be high for it [Judiciary] to be able to function effectively. The alternative for this is scary and unimaginable.
You know that when people lose confidence in the Judiciary (the courts), the results will be chaos and anarchy. When they are aggrieved, they will not seek redress in the courts. They may resort to the streets, and there will be confusion everywhere. Rule of law will pave way for rule of men, and only the strong will survive. Is this what you wish for this country, Mr. former president?
You also know that without a proper functioning Judiciary with appreciable degree of public confidence, no investor will want to invest in the country. You know that every prudent investor must be concerned about his investment and the effectiveness of municipal courts to protect such investment in times of disputes, which are inevitable in commercial arrangements.
Yet, you and your party apparatchiks have long waged this campaign of hate against the Judiciary without any justification. Must this country be destroyed because your party is not in government? You do all these and when CDD-Ghana Afrobarometer surveys report that Ghanaians are gradually losing confidence in the Judiciary, you turn round to blame the Judiciary for not doing much to engender public confidence in the institution.
How do you expect Ghanaians especially your followers to have high confidence in the integrity of the Judiciary when you have made it your occupation (anytime your party, NDC, is in opposition) to always bastardize and unjustifiably attack the very integrity of this important institution of State. And to think that you were the same person, then as President, advising Ghanaians to stop attacking State Institutions like the EC and the Courts only makes me sick. Where lies your principles?
As if that was not enough, you have moved your hate campaign to another level by telling us that the image of the Judiciary has sunk so low that it will only take a new Chief Justice to repair its ‘broken image’. Here, going by your proposition, one of two things has to happen in the immediacy; it is either the current CJ resigns immediately, or he be assassinated, since he is not due for retirement and cannot also be removed from office capriciously.
It is evident, Mr. former president, that, the cause of your recent unjustified attacks on the Judiciary is the famous unanimous dismissal by the Supreme Court of your rather incompetent election petition, which was dead on arrival, and bound to be wholly dismissed by any court worth its salt in any part of the globe.
Even your star witness, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, informed the court during cross examination that you were not in court to challenge the validity of the election results but to fault the Electoral Commission for the clerical error it made in computing the 2020 presidential election results, which error the EC itself admitted and subsequently corrected before making the final declaration.
Meanwhile, you disguised your claim as an Election Petition under Article 64 of the Constitution, 1992, when in actual fact, you were only in court seeking administrative remedies and therefore ought to have come under Article 23 and 296 of the Constitution, 1992. Equally, your appropriate forum was the High Court not the Supreme Court, the forum for Presidential Election Petition properly so called.
You knew you had no case, yet, you lied to your supporters that you had won the elections and asked them to come out and jubilate. You virtually asked them to seek redress on the streets because the EC had cheated you, which they [your supporters] also blindly followed, terrorizing innocent Ghanaians going about their usual business.
When this approach failed and you eventually decided to seek redress in court, you miraculously changed your story and told the Supreme Court that you didn’t win the elections, but also added that, candidate Akufo-Addo did not also win the elections. Unsurprisingly, you went to the Supreme Court without a scintilla of evidence to prove any of your claims. You only went to court to speak big grammar. Or at best, you went to court to prepare the grounds for your comeback to lead the NDC for election 2024.
Even assuming without admitting that you were able to successfully prove your claims, the total votes that were to be affected in your so-called Election Petition involved only 6,622 votes, a figure that could not affect the outcome of the presidential election which you lost by over 500,000 votes. This was confirmed by your star witness, Asiedu Nketiah, during his cross examination with the help of a ‘Makola Calculator’. Everybody saw that embarrassing drama in court.
The Supreme Court judges were very charitable by not awarding huge cost against you for wasting everybody’s time with such vexatious and frivolous petition. Instead of thanking them, you are rather bastardizing them, and calling them names, like “Unanimous FC [Football Club]”. How unstatesmanlike and condescending could you get, Mr. former president!
Need I remind you that we are a nation of rule of law? We are a law governed society, and our Constitution, being the supreme law of the land, must, at all times, PREVAIL. You must respect the decision of the Courts, even if you disagree with the decision, like President Akufo-Addo did when the court gave its 5-4 verdict on the famous 2012 Election Petition.
You have every right to disagree with the decisions of the court, and criticize same using the harshest words you can find. Even the courts graciously accept such harsh criticisms of their decisions. What the courts and Ghanaians alike, DO NOT and CANNOT ACCEPT, is unwarranted attacks on the court’s integrity and such other acts intended to undermine its independence.
Mr. former president, we all owe it a duty to our forebears, to our conscience, and to our beloved country to protect the sanctity of our Constitution, 1992, because it has served us well. We cannot go back to the dark days of lawlessness.
We cannot go back to the days where judges could be murdered with impunity by alleged state actors for discharging their judicial function as we saw under the PNDC, your antecedent political party. This is the time for the voices of good conscience to be heard. Silence, certainly, cannot be an option when things are ill-done.
From the foregoing, even if it is argued that the Ghanaian people have lost confidence in the Legislature and in the Executive, we cannot have this argument in relation to the Judiciary; because it is the only organ of State that is seen as the last protector of the people.
If the people lose confidence in the Judiciary, then the whole society is doomed as there will be no institution of State to look up to in times of ills and injustices. I expect you to know much better Mr. former president.