Former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo has revealed her plans to engage more in advocacy and public discourse.
According to her, events characterizing the aftermath of her participation in a protest by pensioner bondholders against the government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme have motivated her to add her voice to matters of public interest.
“Don’t you ever feel empathy with people or with persons, with causes or with groups who have nothing to do with you? Who are not necessarily in the same position as they are?
“Well, I am. In part because I do have some government bonds that I used my pension money to purchase, but even if I didn’t, what is wrong with that? Can’t a person take a stand out of principle?
“If by the grace of God, I’ve got a voice why shouldn’t I use it? In fact, I’ve decided that after this I am always going to find a voice to espouse. Why shouldn’t I? I think that is why God has given me a life beyond retirement and I think that every day after retirement I must use it to worship God,” she said during an interview on Joynews (February 15).
Sophia Akuffo’s participation in the protest, first on February 10, 2023; attracted various reactions including criticism from some elements within the government and the ruling New Patriotic Party.
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a leading member of the NPP called out the retired CJ describing her participation and position on the DDEP as ill-informed.
Some of her critics have also pointed out that Sophia Akuffo by virtue of her position is entitled to benefits that may insulate her from the effects of the program. Others believe her position on the matter is wrong considering her status.
But reacting to the criticisms, the former chief justice emphasized her liberty to participate in public discourse adding that her remaining days in retirement will be dedicated to the same.
“That is why I have decided that yeah, I have rested enough since retiring and the strength I have, I am going to use it positively as much as I can. It is that we like to package people into silos; this one is this and should be doing this, this one that and ought to be that, this one is related to this person and so this is how the person should be thinking.
“Nobody tells me what to think, except God and nobody can tell me what to do with my time and what to say about anything going on in this country. Thank God we have a constitution, flawed though it might be but at least the right to say what I want to say and the freedom of conscience, that’s mine and nobody will trample on it however influential they are,” she said.
Sophia Akuffo speaking to the media at the pensioner’s protest had described the decision by the government to include pensioners in the DDEP as wicked, disrespectful and unlawful while threatening to sue for breach of contract.