Retired Justice of the Supreme Court, William Atuguba, has waded into the appointment of judges which became a controversial subject of debate a few months ago.

He has stated that appointments should be based on merit rather than factors such as protocol, cronyism, ethnicity, or improper considerations.

“Appointments to the Judiciary or any other governance institution must be made by thoroughly independent bodies based on nothing but merit and not on things like protocol, cronyism, ethnicity, or other improper considerations,” he stated.

Justice Atuguba has also emphasised the need for a realistic audit and restructuring, given that the public’s eye is now on the image of the judiciary.

“The current public image of the Judiciary in Ghana is reflected on Social Media. In view of all this what matters most is the realistic auditing and restructuring of the Judiciary and indeed all other governmental institutions because just as the cyanide of illegal mining galamsey has devastated our forest lands and poisoned our water bodies so also has the cyanide of Political Corruption poisoned our Governance Institutions,” he added.

He made these comments at a public lecture on Tuesday.

Justice Atuguba who was speaking on the theme Protecting our democracy: The Role of the Judiciary stressed that the third arm of government must be free from political pressures.

“The governance institutions particularly the Judiciary must be realistically insulated against presidential and other political pressures. Service conditions must be reasonably attractive and security of tenure of office must be enshrined.

“The Executive Powers of the President and his functionaries must be drastically curtailed. There must be a real separation of parliament from the Executive branch. The emphasis should be on good and sincere governance in the interest of the people and not on hollow over exaggerated notions of electoral conferment of power on anybody or a group of persons,” he added.

He was of the view that no meaningful political reforms can be reasonably expected even under a regime change without sustaining the Political Renaissance which has started and is growing well in Ghana.

In light of this, he commended some Ghanaians and Civil Society organisations (CSOs) in diverse fields for their work and contribution to national development.

Justice Atuguba though familiar with the names admitted he has not met some of these people personally.

“It is for this reason that I would like to acknowledge, encourage, and congratulate nationalists like Kwasi Pratt, Dr. Arthur Kennedy of the USA, Dr. Gyampoh of the University of Ghana, Prof. Bokpin of the University of Ghana, Prof Agyeman-Duah of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), recently Dr. Asare-Baah rtd, formerly of the Political Science Department, KNUST., Kwame Pianim, Dr. Nyaho-Nyaho Tamakloe, Kelvin Taylor of the USA (though he should desist from insults), Emmanuel Wilson Jnr. The Chief Crusader Against Corruption in Ghana. I don’t know most of these people I have mentioned personally but I have followed their works on social media, and I am impressed, however, I hope that they will remain nationalistic no matter the regime in power.

“I also wish to acknowledge some of the many Civil Society Organisations such as Ghana Centre for Democratic Development, Ghana Integrity Initiative, Citizen Ghana Movement, Africa Centre for Energy Policy, Parliamentary Network Africa, Penplusbytes, Media Foundation for West Africa, Send Ghana, One Ghana Movement, Centre for Democratic Development, Democracy Hub, Occupy Ghana, and Institute for Democratic Governance. I regret I cannot recall all of them but nonetheless, none of them should feel excluded,” he eulogised.

Background:

Speaking at the NDC Lawyers Conference in Akosombo on Saturday, September 2, former President John Mahama accused President Akufo-Addo of appointing NPP members to the bench to influence decisions in their favour.

He thus charged NDC lawyers to prepare themselves to take up positions on the bench to balance out its composition.

Subsequently, Akufo-Addo addressing the Ghana Bar Conference at the University of Cape Coast on September 12, said the comment is the most blazing attack the Judiciary has faced in Ghana’s history.

The President said the comment by Mr Mahama is very dangerous to the progress of the country and thus should not be made by someone of his stature.

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