Justice Isaac Douse, a retired Court of Appeal judge, has warned former president John Dramani Mahama not to damage the Supreme Court’s reputation since doing so could endanger the nation’s democracy and have an impact on all Ghanaians.
On Sunday, August 28, 2022, Mr. Mahama lamented that the court had descended to the status of the butt of jokes due to its politically motivated verdicts and decisions. He was speaking to a conference of lawyers for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
He stated that Justice Anin-leadership Yeboah’s of the nation’s judiciary is “broken,” and he hoped that a “new Chief Justice” would lead an image-cleansing campaign in the future because, in his opinion, the current Chief Justice cannot lead such a process.
He stated that recently, “our judiciary’s reputation has degraded so dramatically that many of our citizens openly make fun of our justice system and of our justices.”
“The phrase, ‘Go to court’ is, these days, met with derisive laughter, instead of hope that one will truly get justice if he went to the court”, Mr. Mahama clarified.
Justice Douse responded to Mr. Mahama’s criticism of the judiciary on the Class Morning Show on Monday, August 29, 2022, which Ghanatodayonline.com was listening to. Justice Douse said those who criticize the system should take lessons from the past.
He remarked, “It is tough to concur with him [Mahama] on the filthy image of the judiciary, the judiciary has a spectrum from the magistrate court all the way to the supreme court.,” in a statement to the show’s host Kofi Oppong Asamoah.
According to what I’ve read, he has an issue with the cases that the highest court has heard, and history has taught us that this is something we shouldn’t do too frequently.
He recollected “In 1970 one of the highest proclaimed democrats in this country, Kofi Abrefa Busia after he lost a case in court went on radio and announced that no court can compel the government to follow its decision. It was a very poor decision and we must be very careful on how we make some of these decisions.”
The supreme court is a crucial institution that we all will occasionally consult, and if we drag it through the dirt too often, it will have an impact on everyone, according to Justice Douse.
He informed Mr. Mahama that, in accordance with the requirements of the constitution, any attempt to reorganize the judiciary would be very challenging.
“The constitution the way it is made, will make it very difficult for any new government to reshuffle the supreme court as it is. I’ll caution the ex-president to be very careful about some of these things because if an attempt is made to demolish the supreme court because of one or two cases, it can be a very big disaster for our democracy. Democracy depends on the efficiency and respect and the trust people have in the Supreme court,” he warned.
I think it’s time to leave it at that level so that the people who are being accused of “destructing” the court would change their attitudes, he continued. “I’m glad the national security coordinator himself has had the occasion to caution the supreme court on the perceived ills that afflict it,” he said.