Ghana: A moment of shame
Last month, a radio host and two panelists were sentenced by Ghana’s Supreme Court to 4 months imprisonment and fines of GHS 10,000.00 (< US$2,500) each for contempt of court. Not surprisingly, the Attorney General shied away from pursuing a possible criminal contempt action.
The three threatened SC justices with death for asking Ghana’s Electoral Commission to remove the names of people who registered to vote with National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) identity cards. The threat coincided with the anniversary of the abduction and cold blooded murder of three SC judges and a retired military officer in July 1982. One of the contemnors singled out the Chief Justice for a “special marriage” by a friend if the opportunity presents itself. The sentencing immediately set off alarm bells among members of the ruling NDC culminating in petitioning the president to rescind the decision of the highest court of the land. It is amazing how low, prominent citizens like cabinet ministers would go. One Minister who has surprised Ghanaians is Education Minister Jane Opoku Agyemang, a highly respected scholar. Others like ex-Attorney General Betty Mould Idrissu as well as Women, Gender and Children Minister Nana Oye Lithur also joined up in the petitioning.
In an unrelated case where a prominent opposition Member of Parliament was accused of misogyny for insulting the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, these ladies, and some played a leading role in amassing a number of protests against the MP. Unfortunately and rather selectively, none of them condemned the misogyny in the threats against the nation’s Chief Justice. Ghana’s parliament is basically toothless. The executive is riddled with corruption and the only arm of government with any power and integrity left is the SC. What the NDC ‘activists’ are doing is to render the Court impotent. The ruling NDC must be told in no uncertain terms that it does not own Ghana. So far the president has not spoken on the issue, not officially, but we think he should let the people know how he feels about it.