Former President John Dramani Mahama has said he is entitled to make comments on all manner of issues of national importance, more so with his status as a former Head of State.
In an exclusive interview with Accra-based TV3 on September 12, Mahama opined that he has a strong voice in the country, thus, he comments on issues to draw attention to them for action to be taken.
Justifying his recent comment that the judiciary has a “broken image” and that it needed a new Chief Justice to initiate reforms to engender public confidence in the institution, the 2020 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress said it was a call to action.
“[My statement was] that the perception of the Ghanaian people [about the judiciary] is low and I was making a call to action that we should do something to change that perception. Why can that be imprudent? I didn’t put the judiciary where it is.
“If you occupy a high office of the land you shouldn’t speak the truth? Is that what it means? Do we believe that if we go to court, we will get justice? We hear everyday instances of perverted justice and all that,” Mahama said.
He added that since his comment, he observed that Chief Justice Kwesi Anin-Yeboah has also made a similar call.
He indicated that the Chief Justice in a statement read on his behalf by Justice Jones Dotse admonished judges to dispense justice in a free, fair, and transparent manner in order for citizens to have confidence in the judiciary.
“Recently, the Chief Justice himself in a statement read for him by Justice Dotse raised some of these issues himself. I will applaud him for it because I had said in my statement that I had lost faith in the current leadership to be able to do anything about reforming it and I had hoped that a new Chief Justice will do that.
“Since then he’s made this statement that Justice Dotse did and I saw some positive jewels in it, that he was calling judges to dispense justice freely and fairly, transparently so that people will feel that confidence to go to the judiciary because the judiciary is the last arbitrator,” Mahama observed.
To this end, the 2020 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress said he will not allow Attorney General Godfred Dame to deny him his right on speaking on issues.
He stressed that he remains committed to pointing out what he sees as wrong in the country for changes to be made to that effect.
“We can disagree and have quarrels in Parliament and everything, eventually when we are unable to agree, we all go to the justice system. We must have confidence that it will do so fairly and will do so according to the law and in the public interest.
“That’s all I was saying. And how he [Godfred Dame] can interpret that I am imprudent and blah blah…so if you’re a former president, you see something going on wrong in the country you have no right to talk about it? Is that what he is saying?
“No, I won’t let him take that right away from me. If I see something going wrong, I will point it out. It is my duty to do so. I have a voice that is listened to in this country and I think that if things are going wrong and I talk about it, it makes it topical so that something can be done about it and that’s why I continue to make the statements that I make,” the former president said.
Attorney General Godfred Dame speaking at the 2022/2023 Ghana Bar Association annual general conference at Ho took a swipe at John Mahama in what he says is the latter’s “systematic and caustic” attacks on the courts.
He described the comments by Mahama as deplorable, coming from someone who has been a former president.