The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah to withdraw a petition filed with the General Legal Council against Dr Dominic Ayine for alleged derogatory comments made on the 2020 presidential election petition.
The party said Dr Ayine’s views about the independence of the Judiciary are views he was entitled to, in line with his freedom of expression guaranteed under the 1992 Constitution. It thus noted that his invitation to appear before the Council was an act of intimidation.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, said this at a press conference held by the party in Accra on Monday.
He said the NDC shares in the opinion expressed by Dr Ayine. He added that the opinion is not “actionable and does not violate any rule or professional conduct rules for lawyers.”
“…Neither Dr Ayine nor we in the NDC can be compelled to increase our confidence in the independence of the Judiciary even when the Court has not given us any basis or reason to do so,” the General Secretary said.
The Chief Justice, through the Judicial Secretary, has written to the Ghana Legal Council over comments made by Dr Ayine at a public forum organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD).
The comments allegedly questioned the independence of the judiciary.
This followed a similar one made by the former Deputy Attorney-General, which cast a slur on the administration of justice. Dr Ayine had earlier appeared before the Supreme Court and apologized for his earlier conduct during the election petition hearing.
The NDC General Secretary said the leading opposition party is concerned about the “seeming judicial dictatorship that is fast festering under the leadership of the current Chief Justice,” adding, “…Justice emanates from the people and is administered on our behalf.”
Public confidence in the independence of the Judiciary, he noted, “must therefore be earned and not forced on us.”
Mr Nketia said the Judiciary, like Parliament and the Executive, is not above criticism, and that the country’s progressive march as a constitutional democracy would allegedly suffer a grave setback if the Disciplinary Committee of the Council proceeded to hold an inquiry into the matter.
“Our Constitution and laws protect the integrity and independence of the Judiciary and not the sensibilities of judges.
“Judicial vanity is a threat to justice and must not be countenanced in any democracy,” he said.
“We, therefore, join well-meaning Ghanaians to demand that the Chief Justice withdraws his petitions against Dr Ayine,” the party added.