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Opinions of Monday, 26 February 2018

Columnist: Prof Lungu

Defensive CJ Sophia Akuffo et al have no case vs. Professor Atuguba of UG (Legon)

"...In our neck of the woods, it is said that when you are defending, you are losing...Whether they know it or not, or care, the comments by Justice Jones Dotse and Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo....were a direct attack on academic freedom, independence of research.... It was rather unfortunate that jurists...would so misconstrue findings of an academic research presented in a public forum under the auspices of an academy... ... Is Ghana ready to ban critical research, even if 'American'..., (Prof Lungu, 22 Feb 18).

In our neck of the woods, it is said that when you are defending, you are losing.

It may be that it is simply a problem of you not listening to what is being communicated.

Or, it may be that you subconsciously recognize the likelihood that you are indeed a practitioner of that which the person making a claim on behalf of the larger society, is cautioning society (and you) about.

In Part 1 of this paper, we present a transcription of the major segment of the presentation of the findings from the research on the topic of the influence of ethnicity and politics on Supreme Court decisions since the 4th Republic, by Professor Atuguba at the recent GIMPA-sponsored event in Accra (See Source at bottom and GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(1) )-below

Next, we present transcriptions of comments in videos by Justice Jones Dotse and Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, both of whom were, in our humble opinion, unfairly critical of the "type of research" and the findings from the study. In addition, they did not quite get the "history" in the proper frame to the extent seemed to rely on the "Middle", and not the on the "Beginning" given the nature of their push-backs.
(GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(2)(3)) -below

In the segment by Chief Justice Akuffo, you will read the CJ channeling another Justice. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a copy of a video of those comments by the Justice, a woman, we were made to understand.

Finally, we present a transcription of what we believe were concluding comments by Professor Raymond Atuguba, University of Ghana, Legon, (GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(4) )-below

MEMO: Whether they know it or not, or care, the comments by Justice Jones Dotse and Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo (who was appointed merely 12 months ago by a relative of the same ethnicity), were a direct attack on academic freedom, independence of research on matters of interest to the Ghanaian public, and service to Ghana.

We base our initial conclusion in part on the singular idea that Dr. Atuguba in fact had already taken time to add "salt" to the findings by his team, before the push-back by the Justices.

When delivering the findings, Professor Atuguba expressly declared that the situation was actually getting better at the Supreme Court, NOW.

So, all that said, we now present the transcriptions of the core presentation by Professor Atuguba, the commentary by the Justices, and the concluding remarks by Professor Atuguba.


READ : "...This is the graph....Aha! So this is judgment of NDC appointees.
The green one is those who are appointed by the NDC and vote for the NDC. The blue one are those who are appointed by the NDC but nevertheless vote or the NPP...The next one represents those appointed by the NPP and voting for the NPP. And the blue one there represents those appointed by the NPP but voting for NDC

So, the data suggests, that at the beginning of the 4th Republic, the judges were voting less according to who appointed them. At the beginning of the 4th Republic, in '93.

A number of reasons account for that.

First, we had a new Constitution and some of the cases were very clear. So a lot of them would be unanimous judgments. So whether you are appointed by NDC government or NPP government, you joined the unanimous decision is saying that. This provision of this law is what, contrary to the Constitution

Do you get my point?

Then, in the middle, somehow the SC lost its way, after the first years. And the judgments started becoming clearly on the line of what, party appointments

However, in recent years, the trend is changing again.

If you look at the Abu Ramadan trend of cases and the Woyome trend of cases, the Supreme Court is finding its feet again, here it is giving more unanimous judgments on the basis of what, the law, and not the source of the appointment

However, we have to watch to see whether in these 2 cases, because of the public discussions about them, and the general feeling in Ghana, we need the Woyome money back, or we need the EC to conduct elections in a way that is transparent...Is it the public scrutiny that is getting the SC to get back on its feet and give unanimous judgments in favor of fidelity of the Constitution, or otherwise?..."
(End of video)
GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(1)


READ: "...One thing is that under our Constitution a judge will be appointed during somebody's time. And that somebody, most...until we get an independent who wins. That somebody belongs to one party or the other.

After you have been appointed it is up to any Tom, Dick and Harry to put whatever political em.. sprinkling on what has motivated your decision. But so long as it is in line with the law and it is sound and follows the facts.

At least be careful.

Talking about importation. Be careful what you are importing into our environment. They are used to that, we are not.

We can stand here and accept what you are saying without walking out.

We didn't.

We didn't walk out.

I don't think that there was a single judge who agrees with what you are saying.

But we didn't walk out

(People clapping)

But, when it goes outside, and that is why Justice Larby cautioned the way she cautioned.

When you are putting it out, maybe you need to, add a little what, what the Bible says, salt, to what you have presented. and make sure, because our society and the environment is completely different from the, from the, American one which has developed its own systems.

We've never had this kind of thing.

Em, people can think whatever they like, but when it receives the imprimatur of a professor it becomes dangerous...".
(End of video)
GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(2)


READ: "...Be careful what you say - Justice Dotse tells Prof Atuguba. Is he inviting the public to drive us out from our offices? You know it is, it amounts to, it's capable of different meanings.

So, if you are in Legon you can say that.

But immediately you go out, and so the learned professor says the time to act is now so let us act.

And then it starts.

So, please, we have had a history behind us so we must be careful what we say and do at all particular time...".
(End of video).
GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(3) .


READ: "....I will never insult any one. Not to talk of Judges of this... No, no no. I am engaged in a critical analysis of our political institutions. And critical analysis always meets opposition.

The first time I did a critical analysis of the police, the next morning 8 fully armed police officers were dispatched by the IGP to come and arrest me from my office.

So, words, are just nothing to me.

Its all good. That we have gotten to the point where we now oppose with just words. So, it is not an insult. It is just putting out analysis there from which we can improve our democracy.

Em... I have heard what the lady Justices have said and I am going to consider that.

In fact, so far, I have not released these analyses. In fact when we started I told my research assistants when we finish delete it from this laptop until I know what I am going to, what, do with it.

But I don't know when we are going to get to the point where....

I have done another research project on appointments by presidents. So, I took all the ministers from 1993, all of them, found their ethnic backgrounds, then cross-tabulated them with the presidents who appointed them. Again, the results are, like this....

(Some murmurs//light laughter/ in the audience).

But immediately I bring that thing out there will be commotion. So, the question I have for you is, what should we do with these analyses. Should we stop doing them?

Should we have another way of funneling it to the public? What should we do?
(End of video)
GhanaHero.Com Video Transcript 2018(4) .


(1) Chief Justice 'attacks' Professor Atuguba on research findings, (

(2) YOUTUBE Videos, (

SUBJ: Defensive CJ Sophia Akuffo et al have no case vs. Professor Atuguba of UG (Legon)
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