Nana, Mahama Battle; Be Fearless – JJ, Kufuor Tell Judges

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Ghanaians await the outcome of the presidential election petition before the Supreme Court, former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor have urged the judges hearing the case to deliver justice, impartially, without fear or favour.

Commending the nine-member justices of the highest court of the land for a job well done so far, the former heads of state pointed out that it was only an unbiased ruling and manifest justice that would ensure peace and tranquillity in the country.

The former presidents made the call at a national summit organised ahead of the impending Supreme Court ruling on the presidential petition filed by New Patriotic Party (NPP) 2012 presidential candidate Nana Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and NPP national chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

The three petitioners are challenging the Electoral Commission’s declaration of National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2012 presidential candidate John Dramani Mahama as the President of Ghana.

The hearing ended on Wednesday and the Supreme Court directed the parties, both petitioners and respondents, to file their addresses by July 30, 2013, after which a ruling would be delivered within 15 days.

As part of activities to ensure a peaceful nation after the ruling, the National Peace Council, National House of Chiefs, Manhyia Palace, the Civic Forum Initiative (CFI) and Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) yesterday organised the summit on the theme: ‘Justice, Peace and Reforms will Strengthen Ghana’.

Delivering an uncharacteristically ‘boom’less speech, former President Rawlings said the response of Ghanaians to the Supreme Court ruling would indicate how mature “we are as a people and how our political process has evolved. We cannot afford to fail this test.

“We have come a long way in our democratic journey and this is one test we cannot afford not to pass,” former President Rawlings added.

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He reiterated the call on the “judiciary to deliver a ruling that will inspire the confidence of both the winners and losers and further go to strengthen and protect our political process, national cohesion and self-belief”.

Former President Rawlings added that “justice is perhaps one of the most essential and intrinsic contributions to the internal equilibrium of the soul”.

According to him, there were serious battles ahead of the nation such as “corruption, economic battles and the burning down of our markets as well as high crime rates in the country”.

Former President Rawlings noted that as the nation inched closer to the decision of the Supreme Court, which is expected by mid-August, 2013, there were natural concerns that the high-adrenalin that characterised the country’s political competitiveness and discourse might spill over when a ruling was finally given.

However, there was the need for Ghanaians to move on after the court decision to tackle the myriad of problems confronting the country.

Eulogy of Supreme Court

Former President Rawlings eulogised the nine-member justices, Justices William Atuguba, Julius Ansah, Sofia Adinyira, Jones Dotse, Rose Owusu, Anim Yeboah, Baffoe Bonnie, Sulley Gbedegbe and Vida Akoto-Bamfo for exhibiting a high sense of fairness so far.

“Allow me to commend our Supreme Court justices for their composure and moderating influence throughout the hearing process.

“Their performance so far, under the scrutiny of television cameras, is worthy of mention,” former President Rawlings stated, particularly praising the President of the nine-member panel, Justice Atuguba, for constantly exhibiting a great sense of humour anytime tempers flared in court.

Advice To Political Parties

Former President Rawlings reiterated his counsel that political parties, especially the two opposing parties in court, had a patriotic responsibility to protect the sanctity of the country’s democratic process by properly educating their supporters on the role of the judiciary and the fact that decisions might not automatically go in favour of their party.

Media Reportage

Even though former President Rawlings commended the media for generally performing well, he blasted sections of them for unduly raising the political temperature during the petition hearing, saying “for us to achieve an incident-free post court-ruling scenario, we need the full support of the media and indeed every citizen of this country.”

The media, he pointed out, must revise their approach to reporting electoral disputes and be guided by the principle that their agenda-setting role should always protect the national interest and not be tarnished by the petty, biased and parochial political agenda some of them were pursuing.

Kufuor’s Comments

Former President Kufuor, whose speech was read by his spokesperson, Frank Agyekum, reminded the Justices of the Supreme Court that “peace will prevail if justice is seen to be manifestly upheld.

“It is in this vein that I ask all concerned to pray for the justices of the Supreme Court to have the clarity of mind and vision to be bold and fearless in the discharge of their duties, which destiny has called upon them to do,” President Kufuor stated.

This, according to him, would be the bedrock for the peace that would prevail after the ruling.

Parties’ Assurances

Former President Kufuor said it was reassuring that both President Mahama and Nana Akufo-Addo had pledged severally to abide by the court ruling whether or not it was in their favour.

“The whole world is watching them and they must be true to their word. More importantly, I urge them to carry their numerous supporters with them in the same vehicle in accepting the ruling of the court.”

He said it was the bounding duty of the two leaders to educate their supporters of the possible outcomes of the case and the need to accept the outcome in good faith no matter how bitter it would be for them.

Admonition The Media

Former President Kufuor charged the media to be non-aligned and responsible with regard to their duties as watchdogs of society.

“As mediums of mass communication, they must be the first to be aware of what is said or written in their medium, (as these) have an immediate and far reaching effect for good or for bad,” former President Kufuor stressed.

By Awudu Mahama

Source: Daily Guide/Ghana



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