Thursday, August 19, 2010

Judges in danger...Warns Justice Kludze

Dr. Kwabena Adjei is the Chariman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Ghana.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday August 19, 2010
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei’s statement threatening judges of a possible ‘cleaning’ is receiving wide condemnation from the public particularly legal dons in the country, with Ashanti regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association boycotting courts until further notice.

A retired Supreme Court Justice, Professor Justice A. Paaku Kludze, has warned that the threat should not be taken lightly as judges in the country may soon become targets of physical harm and killings just as it happened in the revolutionary regime of Rawlings.

“When a PNDC or an NDC man talks about cleaning the judiciary, you remember in 1982 that some of them were eliminated, physical elimination is one way of cleaning the judiciary,” he told Citi FM yesterday.

Justice Kludze said “when you use that word it can spread terror in the minds of some judges…I am afraid it is very frightening. It looks like we are going back to the days of Nkrumah or the PNDC.”

In the PNDC days, three judges and a retired military officer were abducted during curfew hours and burnt to death in the Accra Plains.

The NDC, at a press conference in Accra, on Tuesday, showed solidarity with the beleaguered Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu who has lost a number of high profile cases against former New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials.

Dr. Adjei threatened the judiciary saying “we will clean it (judiciary) if they don’t take steps to clean it. We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on … at the right time, you will see how we clean it. There are many ways to kill a cat.’’

The NDC had accused the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, and members of the bench of a “grand conspiracy” to ensure NDC lose cases in the courts.

William Kissi Agyebeng, Criminal Law Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana said “it is sad for our democratic dispensation;” adding the statement by the NDC chairman “is unnecessary and has the tendency to put undue pressure on the judges.”

He asked “if as a government it cannot trust the decisions of the courts, then what do you think the ordinary Ghanaian will do?”

Mr. Agyebeng said the merits of a case determine the outcome and the NDC cannot come out to say that once the ruling did not favour them the judges were biased adding “to say that judges are biased towards you and have twisted the law, you have to prove it.”

Dr. Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has already sent warning signals to the NDC that Ghanaians would not sit down for them to “muzzle the judiciary.”

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE, Dr. Tamakloe, one-time Ghana’s Ambassador to Serbia said “the NDC should be rest assured that if they should persist in their disturbing attacks on the judiciary, right thinking Ghanaians will not sit down unconcerned.”

He said “it is incumbent on Ghanaians to come out in support of our judiciary failing which the NDC might succeed in its aim to emasculate it.”

“If President Mills is indeed committed to the rule of law as a learned jurist and President of Ghana, he must call back his attack comrades who are currently prosecuting an agenda of persecution against the judiciary.”

“President Mills’ action is required since the current NDC judiciary-bashing is symptomatic of the breaking out of the rule of law that Ex-President Kufuor recently observed,” he added.

Dr. Tamakloe said the NDC must engage in “soul-searching if it wants to understand its recent losses in court,” adding “thus far the NDC has engaged in politically-motivated, Soviet-style show trials, hence its losses in court. These are not driven by rational legal analysis but rather a determination to please party faithful and also pacify the wild and scurrilous allegations that the NDC made during the 2008 elections.”

He said “the NDC’s attacks on the judiciary including vitriolic interventions made by its party functionaries and government appointees show that indeed a Leopard cannot change its spots.”

In a related development a group calling itself Agona Youth Confederacy (AYC) has condemned the NDC and its National Chairman and called on President Mills to arrest him for putting the judges’ lives in danger.

A statement jointly signed by Kojo Quainoo, and Richard Cobbold, Chairman, and Secretary of the AYC respectively said “These comments are very serious and should not be treated softly or taken for granted, because we have had a bad precedent before: during the (P)NDC era where three Honorable Judges and a retired army officer were abducted and killed by members of the (P)NDC for exercising their constitutional duties. And now the constitutional administration of the same callous and heinous fraternity which is now called the National Democratic Congress has publicly threatened the judiciary in a sovereign state.”

The statement said “we want to assure the NDC that the events of the 80s and early 90s respectively, would not be countenanced in the 21st century. The NDC, especially its national chairman, should be held responsible if anything happens to our Honorable Judges.”

“We would further appeal to the Security Agencies to invite Dr. Kwabena Adjei and put him on notice, for if anything abysmal happens to the members of the bench he would be held responsible,” the statement said.


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