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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mills must speak and repair damage caused by Kwabena Adjei - Dr Akwetey

Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, IDEG
Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, IDEG
The Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance, (IDEG) Dr Emmanuel Akwetey says President Mills must douse the flames ignited by the Chairman of the ruling party with his comments on the judiciary.

He said Dr Kwabena Adjei’s remarks detracted from the president’s mantra of ensuring respect for due process and the rule of law.

“I think there is a fundamental discrepancy between what he said and what president Mills as president of Ghana has consistently said and believed. Let's operate within the law,' and the [president] has said 'the law is slow, sometimes justice is slow but it ultimately catches up and the right thing is done' and those are the procedures,” Dr Akwetey told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah.

He reminded politicians that Ghana’s democracy went far beyond the borders of the country and they must desist from making irresponsible comments and “sending signals that are profoundly negative.”

“People are beginning to see a strong democracy with institutions operating [well], so there is a lot of global interest in Ghana and our politicians must refrain from making statements that at best come across as a bit irresponsible.”

NDC Chairman last week raised eyebrows when he urged the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood to clean the judiciary or the NDC will do that for her.

Those comments have attracted an avalanche of criticisms and condemnation, with the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association laying down their tools.

The torrents of criticisms forced the ruling party’s chairman to clarify his comments, saying his comments sought to strengthen judiciary.

But Dr Akwetey believes the magnitude of the comments warrant the president’s intervention “because what has happened has evoked [negative memories] not only within Ghana but I think there is an intensive global interest in Ghana now and therefore his voice and how he couches it will be extremely important in restoring confidence in the judicial system.”

He said the National Democratic Congress must distance itself from those “unfortunate statements which shouldn’t have been made.”

Dr Akwetey questioned the propriety of the comments which the Chairman said were meant to assuage the feelings of his party’s dissatisfied supporters, asking, “couldn’t he do it within the party channels? I do not think that the whole of the NDC will subscribe to that kind of approach. I think that if they were to demonstrate to their own party that, ‘look we are truly unhappy about the conduct of certain judges and the consistency with which they are dismissing cases which we put forward. Therefore we’ve taken these measures;…we’ve [petitioned the Judicial Board Council], the Chief Justice, we are asking for this specific issue to be looked at, [that way their members will feel assuaged].”

“They have an arsenal of mechanism within which to operate effectively and build confidence in the system,” he said.

The IDEG boss noted that if the prescribed mechanisms for dealing with perceptions of mistrust or grievances “...are not strong enough let us look at them but it must be done in a way that does not undermine the public and global confidence in the institution.”

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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