Private legal practitioner and Director of Legal Affairs for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Edudzie Tamakloe, has justified former President John Mahama’s assertion about how the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) is allegedly packing the courts with NPP-inclined judges, and his advice to NDC lawyers to gear up to balance the composition.
While speaking at the NDC Lawyers Conference in Akosombo over the weekend, the 2024 NDC presidential candidate accused President Akufo-Addo of appointing members of his party to the bench to influence decisions in their favour.
He thus charged NDC lawyers to prepare themselves to take up positions on the bench to balance out its composition.
“Our lawyers, some of you must be prepared to go onto the bench, I know that some of you have very lucrative legal practices you will not want to leave and go onto the bench. But you can see what the current President has done; he appointed the largest number of judges onto the bench. More than 80 towards hundred and counting.
“He’s packed the court and we know that they’ve packed the court because they want to avoid accountability after they have left office. So, all manner of people who have been known to be partisan, to have been executives of their party who are in the legal profession have been leapfrogged onto the Superior courts and other places.”
But his comments have received some condemnations with the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in particular calling him out.
The Public Relations Officer of the GBA, Saviour Kudze, has said Mr Mahama’s comment is inappropriate and not backed by evidence.
He said while there’s nothing wrong with Mr Mahama advising a group of lawyers who have identified themselves as NDC lawyers to take up appointments on the bench, running down the same judiciary – an important institution that he seeks to superintend as a President in future is wrong.
But a private legal practitioner and Director of Legal Affairs for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Edudzi Tamakloe, who attended the NDC lawyers’ conference, disagrees with the critics of Mr Mahama.
Speaking on Asempa FM’s Ekosiisen show on Monday, September 4, Edudzi Tamakloe justified why a group of lawyers have chosen to identify as NDC lawyers, saying no law bars them from doing so.
According to him, the NDC has different professional groups under an umbrella who use their expertise to push the party’s interest and agenda.
He said this third annual meeting of the lawyers, numbering about 150 focused on how best they could help the NDC secure victory in 2024.
“The NDC is not a proscribed criminal organization. Anybody is permitted to associate with it freely. In this country, per our laws, the only organization you cannot associate with freely is a criminal organization.”
The young respected lawyer insisted that Mr. Mahama’s comments were in order.
“This is one of the fairest and most objective comments I have heard. Many times in this country, there is so much hypocrisy and that’s what we worship. We don’t like the truth, and so when you speak the truth too much, you even become a dangerous person in the community. You are not seen as dangerous not because you’ve stolen from anyone, but because you have spoken the truth that no one can speak.”
And if you listened to John Mahama, he added that it is not going to be business as usual. Even in the Bible, God’s word says a false balance is an abomination. What we all need to know is that justice delivery emanates from the people; justice delivery is founded on strong public confidence” he added.
Mr Tamakloe referred to the time when the current National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, told judges publicly to deal with perceptions of bias in their rulings which usually tilt in favour of the ruling government, to reinforce Mr. Mahama’s comments.
“So, if a particular perception is developing, anyone who loves our democracy ought to speak” he argued.
With Mahama now, he’s not in to please anyone’s ego. He says we’ve gotten to a point where we need to have a balance; and if you don’t agree with him, he’s spoken his mind.
He [Mahama] says we need to have a balance in the system because the result will take all of us down, but because he doesn’t want it that way; he’s making us alert now. People are quiet, we see the truth but we don’t speak about it and it is destroying the country.”
John Dramani Mahama says he’s been a president before; the brassiness, the impunity in this country. It creates an impression that some people have a certain immunity and so they do what they want. Some people are behaving like they will never be accountable in this country, and Mr. John Mahama is saying that it will never happen again” he noted.
Asked by the Host of Ekosiisen, O.B., whether Mr. Mahama’s endorsement of a repeat of the very thing he’s condemning, was not at variance with his agenda of ‘Building the Ghana we want’, Edudzie Tamakloe retorted; “We strongly believe that building the Ghana we want is one that requires fairness, balance and objectivity. And so we believe that the perception is rife out there, and one of the ways to kill that perception is a semblance that the system can be fair; a Ghana where any other Ghanaian will feel that he’s part of the conversation in this country.”