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General News of Monday, 24 October 2016

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Accept court decision on election disputes as Akufo-Addo did – Justice Dotse

A Supreme Court judge has said the sustainability of the peace Ghanaians are enjoying in the country would be dependent on actions of politicians in the upcoming polls.

Justice Jones Dotse believes an environment in which political actors respect decisions of the court on election disputes is essential for the stability of the country.

“It is important to observe that for the judiciary to continue to play its key role in policing the 2016 elections and beyond it must have not only the constitutional guarantees of security of tenure, but also the enabling environment under which to work without any fear of intimidation,” he said.

The senior judge made these remarks at special forum organised by the Chief Justice, Theodora Georgina Wood under the theme 'Judiciary and Election 2016.' He has advised leaders of political parties to emulate the attitude exhibited by the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who accepted the court's verdict on the 2012 election dispute challenging the victory of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Despite calls by some party functionaries to reject the court's verdict on the eight-month long election dispute, the NPP leader shocked Ghanaians by his heartfelt acceptance of the decision.

In a post-verdict speech, Mr. Akufo-Addo said, “The Supreme Court of our nation has spoken and the result of the December 2012 presidential election has been confirmed as having been won by the candidate of the NDC, President Mahama.” Although he was saddened by the decision, he said, “I accept it. I accept that what the Court says brings finality to the election dispute. We shall not be asking for a review of the verdict so we can all move on in the interest of our nation.”

“Everything in my bones, in my upbringing and in what I have done with my life thus far makes it imperative that I accept a decision made by the highest court of the land, however much I dislike or disagree with it,” he added.

This act exhibited by the three-time leader of the biggest opposition in August 2013 touched the senior judge who has urged other politicians to adopt same so that the peace and stability of the country would not be jeopardized.

He wants the country to be purged from acts that tend to discredit the reputation of the judiciary as happened when a journalist and two radio presenters of an Accra-based Montie FM disparaged the reputation of the court resulting in their incarceration. President John Mahama was later to remit their four-month sentence.

“There has generally been stoic silence when the judiciary was under siege from all manner of persons and institutions,” he said, adding, politicians cannot mud paint the image of the judiciary if they want the good of the country. He wants the country to be purged from acts that tend to discredit the reputation of the judiciary.