General News of Wednesday, 11 September 2013
The harsh criticisms heaped on NDC lead counsel Tsatsu Tsikata, for accusing one of the Supreme Court justices who heard the election petition of political bias, are not showing any signs of abeyance.
Minority Members of Parliament Wednesday called a press conference in the opposition stronghold of Kumasi and described Mr. Tsikata’s comments as “irresponsible, reckless, cowardly and a clear manifestation of low standards in professional ethics.”
New Patriotic Party MP for Bekwai, Joseph Osei Owusu, who addressed the press conference, said the NDC lead counsel’s grounds for accusing Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah of political bias were tenuous and curious.
Mr. Tsikata, barely 48 hours after a nine-member panel of the Supreme Court in a 5 – 4 decision dismissed an election petition challenging the validity of John Mahama’s election at Ghana’s 2012 presidential poll, singled out Justice Anin Yeboah for blame.
He claimed that the judge, probably remaining loyal to former president John Kufuor who appointed him to the Supreme Court, and motivated by political bias, consistently disagreed with the respondents – John Mahama, Electoral Commission and National Democratic Congress - during the hearing of the case.
But Mr Osei Owusu insists that grounding the allegation of bias against Justice Anin Yeboah on the basis of who appointed him was a rather risible argument.
“…Tsatsu knew, or ought to have known, that as provided under Article 144 (2) of the 1992 constitution, the appointment of the justices to the Supreme Court is made by the President on the advice or recommendation of the Judicial Council in consultation with the Council of State and with the prior approval of Parliament; no president on his own volition can appoint any justice of the Supreme Court,” he stated.
The Minority Spokesperson on Constitutional and Legal Affairs of Parliament said Mr Tsikata deliberately distorted the facts in order to unjustifiably malign the judge.
He said if the NDC lawyer had attacked Justice Anin Yeboah’s legal reasoning in his judgment, “that would have been a normal exercise in legal brainstorming.”
Instead, Mr. Tsikata, according to Osei Owusu, “attacked the justice’s integrity by labeling him as biased when the facts do not support the charge.”
“An attack on members of the Bench,” the MP said, “is an attack on the fundamental principle of the rule of law and access to judiciary.”
Extolling the virtues of the judiciary and emphasising the importance of the sacred nature of judicial authority, Mr. Osei Owusu said “the judiciary is the haven of refuge for those who might otherwise suffer because they are helpless, weak, outnumbered, or are victims of public excitement; it is the bulwark against constitutional tyranny.”
He, therefore, admonished Ghanaians to protect and defend the judiciary at all times, “even when they hand down unpalatable decisions to us [because] it is the only true protection for all Ghanaians, rich and poor, weak and strong, government and opposition, young and old, and so on.”