The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin Yeboah, to withdraw his petition to the General Legal Council against a former Deputy Attorney General, Dr. Dominic Ayine.
The party insists the petition is an attempt by the Chief Justice to “intimidate and suppress views that are at variance with his.”
In a letter written by the Judicial Secretary to the General Legal Council, the Chief Justice took issue with the views expressed by Dr. Ayine on the 2020 Election Petition Judgment on a CDD-Ghana platform.
The letter addressed to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council, accused Dr. Ayine of stating that “the Supreme Court’s failure to apply the rules of procedures as well as the consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioners’ applications or reliefs were the basis of his assertion”.
Even though the Disciplinary Committee of the Council is yet to hear the petition, the NDC believes the petition is an attack on freedom of speech.
The party made these comments on Monday, June 21, 2021, at a press conference addressed by its General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah.
According to him, the Chief Justice’s action breeds a lack of confidence in the judiciary, and thus concluded that the petition against Dr. Dominic Ayine is a plot to silent divergent views.
“Our position on this matter is simple. Dr. Ayine’s views about the independence of the judiciary are views he is entitled to in line with his freedom of expression guaranteed under the 1992 constitution. He was courteous to the court and kept his language temperate and decent. He stayed within the boundary of professionalism and was neither scurrilous nor scandalous.”
“So for him to be accused by the Chief Justice of disparaging Ghana’s judicial over these tempered and justified comments is not only bizarre and unfortunate but speaks volumes about the Chief Justice himself. Clearly, the opinion expressed by Dr. Ayine which we in the NDC share without any equivocation is not actionable and does not violate any rule of professional conduct for lawyers. So we find the petition by the Chief Justice as an attempt to intimidate and suppress views are at variance with his own views. Even if the Chief Justice disagrees with Dr. Ayine’s views or deems them as erroneous, the statements made were decorous expressions of opinions about a judgment delivered by the Supreme Court of Ghana.”
The party also insisted that no “dictator” can compel it or its members to have confidence in the judiciary.
“As a matter of fact, neither Dr. Ayine nor we in the NDC can be compelled to increase our confidence in the independence of the judiciary, even when the court has not given us any basis or reason so to do. The Chief Justice ought to be reminded that according to Article 125 of our constitution, justice emanates from the people, and it is administered on behalf of the judiciary, which shall be independent. Public confidence and the independence of the judiciary must therefore be earned and not forced on us.”
“Nobody can force anyone to have confidence in a system that does not justify that confidence. It is natural, not possible. So if you want me to have confidence in you, you must demonstrate by your actions that you deserve that confidence. I cannot be compelled by any dictator to have confidence in anything that I don’t have confidence in.”