A former Deputy Chief of Staff says the gavel of Justice William Atuguba and eight other justices which came crushing heavily on loose talkers has rescued Ghana from going down the abyss.
Alex Segbefia explained that the contempt sentences handed to Sammy Awuku, Ken Kuranchie, Stephen Atubiga, and recently Sir John and Hopeson Adorye, in the wake of the Presidential Election Petition, has in many significant ways sanitized the airwaves and restored the credibility and authority of the Supreme Court.
He was speaking on Joy FM and MultiTV news analysis programme Newsfile on Saturday on the conviction of the NPP General Secretary, Sir John and the NPP communication team member Hopeson Adorye.
According to Alex Segbefia, ever since Ghana returned to democratic rule the insults on political leaders only assumed alarming proportions.
Ex-presidents John Rawlings and John Kufuor received their fair share of insults; “President John Mills took his to his grave,” he said, adding, the country did not have a clue how to resolve the problem.
As if that was not enough, Segbefia said the Supreme Court also had its own perceptional challenges with many thinking the Court was under the influence of the executive.
He said the situation got worse when the initial 5-4 verdict handed in favour of Tsatsu Tsikata in the Fast Track suit was over turned to 6-5 following the addition of two more Supreme Court judges.
Even though there were other allegations of the executive interfering with the judiciary in the past, he said the Tsatsu Tsikata case increased that perception all the more.
Segbefia said with the rampant use of foul language on the airwaves and growing perception that the judiciary was no longer independent, the country was definitely heading towards the abyss with no clear solution anywhere.
However, in the era of contempt charges and sentences, Alex Segbefia is now convinced Ghana’s airwaves have been sanitized and the power and authority of the Supreme Court buoyed in no small measure.
He said the sentences gave a clear indication that: ‘Whatever you as a politician may or may not think or desire to say, please don’t bring it into my hometown (Judiciary) because if you come to my space, we will deal with you regardless of who or what you are. And I think that message has gone down leaps and bounds.
“In fact there hasn’t been in the last month the quietness on our airwaves on a case that is so high up there and yet people have shied away from commenting because you have Nsawam looming in your sleep when you try to enter into that area,’ he said.
Whilst conceding in part that the situation may affect freedom of speech, he said people should able to walk that fine line of commenting on issues in court without necessarily bastardazing the court and the judges handling such cases.
But the Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, who was also on the show said the story about judicial bastardisation must be put in the right perspective.
He said even though trained lawyers in the NDC fold knew too well that there is always a compulsory addition of judges when a case goes for review at the Supreme Court, they still run down and bastardised the Judiciary when the 6-5 verdict was reached.
He said there was a time in Ghana’s most recent history when a Deputy Attorney General, called a judge a drunkard merely because he disagreed with a judgement he delivered.
He also chronicled how the judges who jailed Tsatsu Tsikata and Dan Abodakpi were vilified and called all sorts of names by NDC trained lawyers.
Baako said if the long arm of the law has now caught up with Sir John, the impression should not be created as though bastardising the judiciary began with Sir John.
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