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Opinions of Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Columnist: Akyeampong, Prince

Is The Supreme Court Afraid To Discipline "Sir John"

And Hopeson Adoryeh?

Justice Atuguba specifically mentioned the presidency in his note of caution to Ghanaians to refrain from making unguarded comments about the on-going election petition. He clearly wanted Ghanaians to know that not even President Mahama would be allowed to get away with contemptuous comments.. Wow! This was hailed by many Ghanaians as an effective way of finally cracking down on the various loose tongues that plagued the airwaves/print media on a daily basis - which had the potential of undermining public confidence in the judges. That said, the big question remains: is the SC implying that "Sir John" and Hopeson Adoryeh are above the law? If the answer is no, then why have they not been summoned to answer to the court for making inflammatory comments that are clearly contemptuous.

To refresh the memory of readers, "Sir John" is reported to have attacked the credibility of the SC by accusing them of being hypocritical and selective in their views about contemptuous publications. This was in addition to certain unsavoury remarks he made about Justice Atuguba. Hopeson Adoryeh on the other hand, reportedly threatened to behead NDC supporters if the SC affirms President Mahama's election. If I remember correctly, Justice Atuguba has already indicated that the court has taken judicial notice and intends "advising" itself on the matter - which incidentally comes on the heels of another note of caution sounded by the court stating clearly that they would not be influenced by any acts of intimidation from any person or group in coming out with its final verdict. These words from the court sounded like music to my ears. I thought the timing was good. What I didn't envisage, however, was that some individuals would be let off the hook. What in the world is stopping these judges from disciplining "Sir John" and Hopeson Adoryeh?

Could it be that that the court is beginning to develop cold feet as a result of the public debate on the sentencing of Stephen Atubiga and Ken Kuranchie to prison terms for contempt of court? Or, could it be that the learned judges have decided not to "touch" Sir John for fear of incurring the wrath of NPP supporters who might decide to go on rampage? Lastly, could it be that the highest court in Ghana has decided to gloss over "Sir Johns" comments because he is the NPP general secretary, thus suggesting to Ghanaians that indeed the law takes into account who you are before administering justice? What I find both puzzling and irritating is; why caution all Ghanaians, including the President to watch their words and then turn around to give others a pass? Folks, let's be reminded that this is not something that can be easily swept under the carpet without subsequent repercussions where "justice for all" is concerned.

Stephen Atubiga and Ken Kuranchie are not less human than "Sir John" and Hopeson Adoryeh. In fact, these two are also special to their families and friends! Their relatives and loved ones were not enthused when these men were sentenced to prison terms. They grieved in their hearts and minds because life in prison is not like staying in a five-star hotel. But, I fully endorsed the actions of the SC because like Justice Atuguba said, they crossed the final touchline of proper coverage. If I were either of these two men, i would be asking myself - am I less a Ghanaian than others who have defied the SC warnings? The court is scheduled to reconvene on July 31st, after which the final ruling could be made a couple of weeks later. Folks, this leaves very little room for justice to be done. By this, what I mean is, the likelihood of these men being summoned to court appears to be increasingly shrinking. In my opinion, the credibility of the SC is somewhat tied to how they eventually treat this contempt of court case and they had better take it seriously! You can't say one thing and do another.

How can the SC expect Ghanaians to accept their ruling in good faith when clearly, they've so far shown what appears to be selective justice? Your Lordships, we, the good people of Ghana demand justice for all. The law is no respecter of persons and thus, "Sir John" and Hopeson Adoryeh are not above the law. If a whole Supreme Court cannot be true to their words, then they have no business deciding who should be our president. That said, there's still a little time so I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions now, so let's wait and see. All I am asking Justice Atuguba and his panel to do is, stay the course, period! God bless Mother Ghana!

Prince Akyeampong, e-mail: desavagist@gmail.com