The Member of Parliament for Tamale Central in the Northern Region, Murtala Mohammed, is the latest to take on the Chief Justice over his petition to haul Bolgatanga East MP, Dr. Dominic Ayine before the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council.
Speaking on Citi FM and Citi TV’s The Big Issue on Saturday, the MP said the Chief Justice was seeking to “deny Mr. Ayine’s right to speak” by filing such a petition.
In a letter written by Judicial Secretary, the Chief Justice took issue with the views expressed by Dr. Ayine on the 2020 Election Petition Judgment on a CDD-Ghana platform.
The letter addressed to the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council, accused Dr. Ayine of stating that “the Supreme Court’s failure to apply the rules of procedures as well as the consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioners’ applications or reliefs were the basis of his assertion”.
Murtala Mohammed said the Chief Justice was only being hypocritical with his stance on Dr. Ayine’s comments, as he had also participated in programmes that sought to attack a decision made by Justices of the Supreme Court on a specific case.
“The hypocrisy of the Chief Justice is telling. Just a few weeks before this petition, the Chief Justice participated in a similar political programme that was considered to be attacking a decision made by the Justices of the Supreme Court. The purpose [of the programme] was to challenge the decision of the Supreme Court. I am just exposing the hypocrisy- that he participated in a programme that sought to attack the decision of the Supreme Court in the Re: Akoto case.”
Before this petition, Dr. Ayine had been charged with contempt by the Supreme Court during the hearing of the 2020 election petition for words he used in his commentary on the election petition case.
Murtala Mohammed however believes for the sake of objectivity, the development during the petition involving Ayine, should be delinked from the Chief Justice’s current petition.
“It does not matter what lawyer Ayine went through during the petition case. Let us insulate the processes of the petition case and what happened with regard to the issues that were heard by the Supreme Court justices and what is happening now. What matters is that he is adding knowledge to the legal fraternity. Views he certainly could not have expressed when the petition was being heard by the Supreme Court,” he asserted.
Murtala Mohammed believes the focus should rather be on attempts by the Chief Justice to discourage freedom of speech, rather than comments made by Dr. Ayine during the hearing of the election petition case.
“I do not think the right to speak is limited to a particular group of persons. Unfortunately, the Chief Justice and the judiciary, in particular, are doing everything possible to truncate this process and trying to deny people their right to speak,” Murtala Mohammed said.
Minority angry with Chief Justice
The Minority in Parliament has already called on the Chief Justice to reconsider his petition against Dr. Ayine .
According to the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, the action of the Chief Justice is in bad faith and an assault on free speech.
Addressing the press on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, Haruna Iddrisu indicated that the Chief Justice will set a bad precedent if the case is allowed to proceed.
The Minority Leader added that Dr. Ayine is duty-bound to speak to the public on matters of public interest and that is what he did.
He described the petition from the Chief Justice as an attack on Parliament as an institution, and one that will deepen the “growing culture of silence” in the country.