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Supreme Court isn't 'divine'; they're not above criticisms - Kwesi Pratt replies critics

Kwesi Ibn Pratt Peace FM Kwesi Pratt Jnr

Sat, 12 Mar 2022 Source: ghanaguardian.com

Seasoned journalist, Kwesi Pratt has lashed out at those slamming the critics of the Supreme Court verdict on the right of Deputy Speakers to participate in voting in Parliament when acting as Speaker.

Following the court ruling that said a "Deputy Speaker is entitled to be counted as a member of Parliament for quorum" and can as well "vote and take part in the decision of parliament", there have arisen some people who disagree with the ruling.

Objections

Some of the notable critics are former President John Dramani Mahama who describes the ruling as ''shocking but not surprising" and fears the Supreme Court has set a ''dangerous precedent of judicial interference in Parliamentary procedure for the future" and Member of Parliament for Ningo-Prampram, Sam George who tweeted ''the sham called Justice delivery in our Republic. Despicable!''.

Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu also believes the verdict is to award the majority the opportunity to pass the e-levy bill.

Counter-Arguments

But some members of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Majority in Parliament have descended on the critics, wondering why they are speaking against the court ruling.

President Nana Akufo-Addo has questioned the opposition's logic in objecting to the verdict.

''I'm astonished about how much public energy has been wasted, I say so with the greatest of respect, been wasted in an area on an issue where there is so much clarity and I'm happy that the court...the Supreme Court, when it is declaring the meaning of the constitution and it does so unanimously. That is the most emphatic way in which the court can pronounce!'', he said as he expressed shock over the opposition remarks.

''Our Speaker is expressly not a member of the Assembly, that's why he doesn't have the right to vote. In fact, he is really not even to participate in the deliberations of the House. He is the referee making sure that the debate is conducted properly and the rules of procedure or the orders of the House are complied with. That's his role'', he argued, emphasizing if the Deputy Speakers are ''denied the right to vote, [it will mean] it is tantamount to denying the right of the people you represent to have a say in the decision of the Assembly. That will not be right. So, I couldn't understand all this furore and controversy artificially generated''.

Also, a leading member of the NPP and former Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayensuano constituency, Samuel Ayeh-Paye has asked the opponents to leave the Supreme Court alone stating "the Supreme Court has the authority to say what you're doing contravenes the constitution, so cancel it...we can't put any order in our standing orders which infracts the constitution''.

He urged the law makers to "admit that if we accept separation of powers, the Executives, the Judiciary and the Legislature, then we must give the Supreme Court the room to do its work".

Supreme Court Isn't Divine

Reacting to this matter during a panel discussion on Peace FM's ''Kokrokoo'', Kwesi Pratt stressed the Supreme Court is not above criticisms.

He explained that the constitution of Ghana gives every citizen the right to comment on a court ruling, hence can speak against it without fear or intimidation.

''The Supreme Court is not a divine institution. Supreme Court is a creation of the constitution. The constitution also gives us the right to review its provisions. We can even rewrite the constitution.

"The people of Ghana, the sovereign people of Ghana, they are the ultimate decision makers in everything including judicial matters. In fact, the continued existence of the Supreme Court is subject to the will of the sovereign people of Ghana'', he told host Kwami Sefa Kayi.

He asserted; ''When the Supreme Court make the decisions, we are entitled to examine the decisions of the Supreme Court and to comment on the decisions of the Supreme Court.''

On his position on the verdict, Mr. Pratt argued that the purpose of the ruling is to give the Majority in Parliament an upper hand in decision making in the House.

''What is the purpose of this interpretation? The purpose of this interpretation is to allow the so-called majority to carry the day even as we have 137/137. That's the effect. That is the effect; no other effect! Is this right thing? For the Judiciary now to be making decisions about how voting can be carried in the House?'', he expounded.

Source: ghanaguardian.com
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