NDC, stop intimidating the judiciary, it will not work

The NPP wishes to draw the attention of the public on what we see to be deliberate, disturbing trend on the part of the ruling NDC in their commentary on the election petition.

On the 10th of December 2012, shortly after the NPP gave notice of filing a petition to challenge the results of the presidential election, senior Government communicator, Lawyer Kakra Essamua, said on Asempa FM,“The NPP and its appendages should not elude themselves into thinking that “their agents in the law courts will help them because government will not allow them to perpetrate lawlessness in the country. If anybody with two regions wants to be president of this country; I, from the Central region, will support a coup.”

In recent times, as the trial of the election petition peaks, the President, his Ministers and communicators appear to be preparing the minds of their supporters to rejecting any decision of the Supreme Court that may declare his election invalid.

Majority caucus on Multi TV On Tuesday, a day after the Justice William Atuguba court gave its final warning to the public against utterances that could bring the judiciary into disrepute or disturb the peace of the nation, The NDC’s posture of not accepting the verdict of the Supreme Court was re-echoed by host of MultiTV’s Majority Caucus, Ali Dawood.

On Tuesday 25th June, Mr Dawood said on MultiTV, “I do not see any Supreme Court over-turning any decision made by the EC. In other words President Mahama’s presidency is going to be intact. If anything at all, it is going to be confirmed by the Supreme Court and that there is never going to be a time, whether 2013 or the years to come, where we will have over-turning of verdicts in the Supreme Court, it is not going to happen. For all of you NDC, including NP, neutral minded persons watching me, nothing is going to come out of the Supreme Court case. No Supreme Court is going to over-turn any decision, take it from me.”

Before that, a leading communicator of the NDC, Gabby Assumeng on the 21st of June 2013 on Okay FM called for a “civil war” should the Supreme Court declare that Nana Akufo-Addo rightfully won the 2013 elections.

He said, “I tell you that, look this election which the NDC has won genuinely, there is no place for Nana Addo; H.E President Mahama will make his 4 years mandate and there is nobody, Nana Addo, on the face of the pink sheet, to be a President, then maybe we are calling for civil war in this country, I am telling you.”

Dr Clement Apaak and Mr Bernard Mornah, members of a newly formed pro-NDC Government group, Coalition of Ghanaian Voters, said at a public forum in Tamale, on the 22nd of June 2013, that the Supreme Court has no power to declare Nana Akufo-Addo, the 1st petitioner, President. Indeed Bernard Mornah at the event told sympathisers of the NDC, not to entertain any fears that the ongoing election petition could be declared to favour the petitioners. The PNC General Secretary added that what the court could do was to give recommendations, if any, to the Electoral Commission to implement, “but the court cannot reverse the decision of the EC and declare anybody the winner of the 2012 elections.”

On the 25th of June, a day after Justice Atugubah’s directives asking all to refrain from contemptuous comments, a defeated parliamentary candidate of the National Democratic Congress in the Binduri constituency, Stephen Atubigah, went on Asempa FM’s Ekosi Sen programme threatening that the NDC would not obey the Supreme Court if the ruling went against them and that they were preparing for civil war if the Supreme Court dared overturn the disputed declaration of December 9th, 2012 in favour of the Petitioners.

He said, “If the NPP wins the court case; it will be a bitter-sweet victory because Ghana cannot contain all of us. The foot-soldiers of the NDC are prepared to protect the presidency to the peril of their lives. We will not allow President John Mahama to hand over power even if the Supreme Court rules in favour of the petitioners. We are prepared to meet the NPP boot for boot. We are ever ready; we will not hand over. It will be absurd for anyone to think that after official declaration of results and swearing-in of President Mahama, the court can overturn the verdict of the EC.”

When he was asked by the host of the programme to retract these statements, he refused and stated that he had the authority of President Mahama to make these statements.

Stephen Atubigah subsequently granted an interview to Kumasi-based radio station, Boss FM, on the 26th of June 2013 and said, “The NDC will never vacate the presidency, should the Supreme Court declare Nana Addo and NPP victors of the case. We are not and will not in the future get out of government; whatever the Court will say will not be practical, unless such comments are in our favour. There will be mayhem in Ghana if the Court in anyway call victory for the NPP”

We believe strongly that these blatant inflammatory threats to the constitutional authority of the Supreme Court are orchestrated and by minds that do not have the interest of the nation at heart. They appear to have the implicit support of the Government because no action whatsoever has been taken and they feed on similar statements from the President which give the false impression that the Supreme Court has no option but to decide in his favour.

It appears this belligerent posture, starting from the President down to his communicators, is to intimidate the court and let their supporters know that there is no way they can lose the case. It has been deliberately designed to intimidate and frighten the Court into acquiescing in a so-called ‘status quo’. But, the only status that matters here is the Constitution of the Republic.

The status quo
Article 64 (2) provides that the Supreme Court’s declaration will be without prejudice to the acts of a President declared invalid by the Court. This means the Court has the power to annul a presidential election and to do so will be in line with the status quo. The only “status quo” that matters is the Constitution and what can disturb it is rather the NDC’s posture that they will not accept the verdict of the Supreme Court.

If they will not accept then we will do anything per Article 3 to defend the Constitution of the Republic.

Contrary to the carefully crafted propaganda of a party prone to violence, Nana Addo chose to petition the Supreme Court under Article 64. This difficult decision not only had to boldly confront voices urging acquiescence in the name of ‘peace’ but also justify his stance to a cynical international community which usually brushes such fundamental issues aside on the basis of its observer reports. Above all, Nana had to scale the high hurdle of delivering convincing evidence to the Court within twenty one days, a monumental task challenged by the conventional wisdom of accepting the Electoral Commission’s version of ‘credible’ elections.

Every objective Ghanaian would conced
e that the very act of sending the issue to court has been beneficial to the country. That courageous decision did not only calm the country down but also is poised to foster many significant changes to politics and state institutions in Ghana. And that is why the entire nation is waiting patiently and quietly for the Supreme Court to pronounce. Why then would some start propaganda to pre-empt the decision of the Court with vile threats?

Martyrs day This is not a matter to be taken lightly. The upcoming Martyrs Day this weekend is ample testimony of what can happen if the defenders of liberty go to sleep. About thirty years ago, under the watch of the coup imposed Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), the political father of the NDC, three erudite Justices and two others lost their lives in a brutal murder in a way that the nation is yet to come to terms with.

At the time, a bold statement of intent about not tolerating lawlessness was made when Ghanaians compelled the PNDC to set up the Special Investigation Board (SIB). After a brave job, the PNDC Government only partially implemented the report, saddling the nation with a culture of impunity which the NDC has escalated to unprecedented heights. What we know, and are proud of as a nation, is that, those Justices defended our liberties with their lives. That is why we continue to celebrate them.

At that time, in their moment of pain, they stood alone. Now, in our moment of national landmark decision making, we want to assure our Justices of the Court that they will never stand alone. We will defend them to the hilt. The NDC will not have its way.

We repeat. This time, the NDC will not have its way.

This society is maturing in its democratic practice. It will not succumb to bare threats of which infamous allusions to killing cats may easily be recalled. It would be a bad mistake to take the quiet Ghanaian for granted. Long suffering, maybe, but not meek. And indeed, with long memories, contrary to what some politicians think.

Ghanaians remember the regime which stripped people of their properties, destroyed families and killed in the name of corruption eradication. Today, they have been found out by EOCO and the Sole Commissioner to have deliberately connived to steal millions from the State. The Supreme Court has confirmed the stealing, labelling it as an alliance to create, loot and share.

Rather than deal decisively with such gargantuan and mind boggling impunity and corruption, the President chooses to join his communication foot-soldier chorus to undermine the Supreme Court. Having told his party faithful that he would be declared President by the Court, he has recently added ‘God ordained’ to his rhetoric. Moreover, he has not seen it fit to respect the Supreme Court by putting in an appearance. Furthermore, he appears to have endorsed and blessed the inflammatory utterances of the coup and civil war mongers among his official communicators by refusing to condemn them or asking that they be investigated.

But we want to assure him. Ghanaians are not cowards. The Constitution is a living document. It cannot be intimidated. Ghanaians will not be intimidated. The preamble and Article 3 are emphatic about our commitment to protect and defend hard won freedoms. Article 41 is a clear call to defend national resources. Our intelligence reports have been confirmed by the latest posture of the NDC. It is as, in the view of the NDC, “if we can’t fight the evidence let us fight the judiciary.”

We want to assure the nine Justices sitting on the election petition panel that the people of Ghana are with them and urge them to do what is just and right.

Nana Akomea,

From: Director of Communications, NPP

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