Election petition case: Justice Atuguba laments, Ghana is breaking down

Election petition case: Justice Atuguba laments, Ghana is breaking down

Justice William Atuguba

Hearing of the NDC’s application to be joined as a respondent to the NPP’s Presidential Election Petition, arguably the biggest court case in Ghana’s history, started on a controversial note.

The President of the panel of nine justices of the Supreme Court sitting on the case, Justice William Anaam Atuguba astounded lawyers and observers when he burst out into an emotional lecture of nationalism.

“This country is solid but is breaking down because principles are being chopped down to pedestrian level. The Court must be strong and truly independent. The health of [our] country depends on us,” he stated, banging the table.

It is neither clear what provoked the outburst nor the target of the judge’s comments but it appears his membership of the panel is being objected to by the petitioners who are opposing the NDC’s application to be joined to the case.

The National Democratic Congress has applied to the Supreme Court to be joined as third respondents but the petitioners, New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and Jake Obetsebi Lamptey are objecting to this.

The case, called Thursday, had to be adjourned indefinitely after the petitioners, in chambers, raised an objection to the composition of the panel.

Lead Counsel for the petitioners, Philip Adisson wanted the substance of his objection to be taken in camera but opposing counsel, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, representing the NDC, opposed the move, stating he preferred a full public hearing on Mr Addison’s objections.

Even though the petitioners did not say exactly who amongst the nine justices they have concerns with, Myjoyonline.com has learnt that petitioners are concerned about Justice William Atuguba whose cousin, Dr Raymond Atuguba has been appointed the Executive Secretary to the president John Mahama.

The president is the first respondent in the election petition.

The court adjourned the case sine die and asked the petitioners to file a formal objection with the court instead of the verbal objection they sought to raise.

The Nine justices empaneled to sit on the case are, W. A. Atuguba, (Mrs) Rose C. Owusu, Sophia A. B. Akuffo (Ms.), P. Baffoe Bonnie, Julius Ansah, S. O. Adinyira (Ms.), Jones V. M. Dotse, Anin-Yeboah, and Mrs. Vida Akoto-Bamfo.