“I expected the Supreme Court to apply faithfully the rules of procedure to – in terms of adducing evidence – prove the petitioner’s case and so on. What we saw was a Supreme Court that was constantly putting hurdles in the way of the petitioner in terms of adducing evidence to prove the petitioner’s case. I am sure for ordinary Ghanaians or the electorate generally, the fact that the Supreme Court judges – all nine of them – on almost every application was unanimous in rejecting and dismissing the case of the petitioner was very telling in terms of the open-mindedness or otherwise of the Justices as far the petition was concerned and for me as a Lawyer,” Dr. Dominic Ayine had said.
These statements by him, attracted a petition from the Chief Justice, who has petitioned the General Legal Council , where he is accused of questioning the independence of the Judiciary.
The petition, which has since received backlash from many, who believe that, its against his freedom of expression read that, “These comments are made against the backdrop of the Supreme Court discharging Dr. Ayine on a charge of contempt for similar comments made against members of the Supreme Court during the Election Petition hearing. Dr. Ayine apologized profusely when he appeared before the Court on the Contempt charge and admitted to having made comments which were unbecoming of a Lawyer of his standing and a former Deputy Attorney-General.
“His Lordship the Chief Justice therefore finds his alleged disparaging comments totally unacceptable and would like you to investigate this matter further,” the statement concluded.
However, in a fast twist, renowned Professor and Lawyer, Kwaku Azar in his Facebook post, has shared his thoughts on the judiciary in Ghana, citing examples, many are very familiar with, juxtaposing the thought, with how our society may be emboldening error. He writes that:
"The Rastafarian parents did what my parents and most other Ghanafuo parents would not have done. They stood their grounds and fought power rather than the expected fa ma nyame approach. Standing for principle, as they did, may appear costly in the short run compared to the fa ma nyame approach, but it is also the only way to change our society that is built on a foundation of power abuse.
Similarly, apologizing, when one has done no wrong, is another manifestation of our fa ma nyame society. From Sammi Awuku to Dominic Akuritingayine, lawyers and family members prevail on people, needlessly summoned by the Lords, to profusely apologize for proffering their opinions, something that is the hallmark of democracy and is entirely constitutionally permissible.
Such apologies may appear costless, in the short run, but is actually very costly in the long run because it emboldens the Lords to spread their control to other domains while sending a signal to others that the impugned behavior is actually wrong.
The primary purpose and sole effect of the publicized apology ritual is to silence others and legitimize the abuse of power. We must go beyond the fa ma nyame society to start insisting on our rights, even if it exposes us to a short term peril. This is not a call for lawlessness. Rather, it is a call to close the chapter on apologizing for lawfulness or tolerating abuse from those in power.
A condition precedent for that call is to engage in lawfulness. We have too many public institutions run by autocrats who get away with their abuses because we allow them and even apologize for being victims. Do not apologize just to get along. Apologize only when you are clear in your own mind that you have done wrong. Do not go to another school just to move on. Go to the school that you are entitled to and litigate if you have to vindicate your rights.
Do not apologize for saying that your opinion is that the judiciary’s handling of an election petition shows that it is the most independent institution in the world. But equally do not apologize if your opinion is the exact opposite. Da Yie!" He wrote.
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