The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has described as “ignorant” and “irresponsible” recent comments by the Member of Parliament for the Madina constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu, about judges during last Friday’s ‘Yentua’ demonstration.
The GBA in a statement issued yesterday reckoned that the lawmaker’s outburst could court disaffection for the judges and expose them to danger.
The Madina MP, together with other MPs from the National Democratic Congress (NDC), joined protestors last Friday to decry government’s decision to introduce a levy on electronic transactions.
The protestors also indicated that the current strike by UTAG and the increasing levels of hardship in the country were part of the reasons for the street protest.
Mr Sosu in an interview with the press used the opportunity to caution judges to desist from being bias and political in the discharge of their duties. He said this undermines the integrity of the judiciary, adding that judges who conduct themselves in that manner may be dealt with politically when there’s a change of power.
He further suggested that the tenure of office of judges is tied to the tenure of the political regime under which judges are appointed, and that “political judges will be treated politically”. He also said that “political judges” would lose their offices when the political regimes whose bidding such judges do are no longer in power.
In response, the GBA described Mr Sosu’s comments as unfortunate.
“The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has noted with disquiet and grave disappointment the assertion by Francis Xavier Sosu Esq. that some Judges are ‘political judges.’ The said assertion by Francis Xavier Sosu, Member of Parliament for the Madina Constituency, was made during an interview he granted the media, and is contained in a video that is available on social media.
“The GBA finds the assertion by Francis Xavier Sosu Esq. very unprofessional, unfortunate, irresponsible and distasteful and same smacks of deep-seated ignorance, as the tenure of judges per the Constitution, 1992, and other relevant laws, is never in any way whatsoever tied to the tenure of the political regime under which judges are appointed,” the GBA said in its statement.
Judges & politics
The GBA pointed out that judges, unlike political office holders, are not elected into office, hence it is reckless for anybody to give the slightest suggestion that the tenure of judges are linked to the tenure of the political regimes under which judges are appointed.
It therefore cautioned that, “as a people we must be guided by our history. It was similar irresponsible and unguarded utterances in the past by people who ought to have known better that resulted in the abduction and gruesome murder of the three High Court Judges.”
The GBA observed that such ignorant and deliberate misinformation is gradually but steadily casting a slur on the appreciable gains that had been made in the country’s democratic experiment as a nation.
The association advised all lawyers, irrespective of their status in society, to “refrain from visiting unwarranted and unnecessary attack on members of the Judiciary and Judges for that matter.
“Again, lawyers must always be circumspect and make strenuous efforts to make or give a true representation of the position of the law on each and every matter at all times. Our society stands to benefit a great deal when lawyers communicate the true and proper position of the law on every subject matter,” the statement concluded.