Thursday, 21 September

'Were your judge appointees NDC’? – Ex-CJ slams Mahama; says his 'NPP judges' comment 'puts unnecessary pressure on judiciary'

Justice Sophia Akuffo

Former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has wondered whether the judges appointed to the bench by Mr John Mahama were elevated because they were sympathetic to the National Democratic Congress.

Commenting on the former president's recent accusation of President Nana Akufo-Addo packing the courts with pro-New Patriotic Party judges, Ms Akuffo said such comments put undue strain on the judiciary.

Mr Mahama, in his accusation, said the president was stuffing the courts with tainted judges so as to, allegedly, avoid accountability after he exits office.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the 3rd Annual Lawyers Conference of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Saturday, 2 September 2023, Mr. Mahama said: "Currently, the judiciary is packed with NPP-inclined judges because this government has carried out a deliberate policy of putting their people onto the bench".

“He [Akufo-Addo] has appointed the biggest number of judges onto the bench, it is more than 80 towards 100 and counting", the flagbearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress said.

Mr Mahama added: "You can see what the current president has done". 

"He has packed the court, and we know they have packed the court because they want to avoid accountability after they have left office", he said.

Mr Mahama, thus, urged NDC legal practitioners to aim at serving on the bench to balance the political scale of the judiciary.

"So, I encourage some of you to look at careers on the bench so that we can balance out what the current situation is", he said, adding: "We must be prepared as NDC legal persons to also go onto the bench so that we can balance out the judiciary".

Condemning the comments, Ms Akuffo told Accra-based Asaase Radio in released snippets of a yet-to-be-aired interview that: "He [Mr Mahama] has been through the process of appointing other people before, so, was it because they were NDC?"

She complained: "It always upsets me when you get comments like, 'this one is an NPP judge, this one is an NDC judge', and, yet you have never seen that person on any party’s rally and platform".

"And these are some of the unnecessary pressures that are put on the judiciary", she damned, asking: "What difference will that tag make to me, my career, my work?"

"I'm already there", she noted.

"You think I'm NDC; at the end of the day, so what?"

'Sometimes it gets to you", she said.