Tsatsu Tsikata Should Be Punished

Wed, 11 Sep 2013 Source: Nyarko, Kingsley

How on earth could a senior lawyer and an experienced one as such stoop so low? For me, Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata’s status as a legal luminary ended when he made those atrocious comments about Justice Anin-Yeboah. The judiciary, like any other human institution is not infallible. However, we must not create the impression that will make the citizenry lose trust in its role of dispensing justice. I, through my training, have come to the conclusion that human institutions cannot, and will never be perfect in this corrupted and unfair world. As a result of the imperfections in our world, we are expected to ensure that the imperfections that try to undermine our lack of development, and at times our judgment, are brought to the barest minimum.

It will be wrong for anybody to assume that our justice system is without controversies. Cases abound, across cultures that demonstrate that the justice system in the world is not emancipated from imperfections. Even in the United States of America, some of these controversies abound. Quite recently, the jury that handled the murder trial of Trayvon Martin came under an avalanche of criticisms. The jury was accused of travesty of justice by acquitting George Zimmerman for murdering Trayvon Martin. If the Supreme Court can review its own decisions, then its fallibility should not be in contention.

The controversies that surround some judgments given by our judges clearly show that judges, at times, even with the best of intentions do not get it right. That is why I believe that civil society, and those who are willing to ensure that our democracy thrives in the midst of difficulties should be encouraged to constructively criticize judgments of our eminent Justices. If we are convinced that they can, and do at times err, we should provide the citizenry the platform to challenge some of their controversial rulings. However, this does not mean we should allow our personal interests, biases, and other untenable considerations to cloud our sense of reasoning and judgment to desecrate the judiciary—which is the third arm of government. And this is exactly what Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata has done. He deserves to be severely punished for bringing the name of the judiciary into disrepute!

The foregoing is the principal reason why I think Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, a renowned lawyer, and a former law lecturer should have known better, and not to have allowed his personal and selfish interest to denigrate an institution that is supposed to bind the soul and body of our nation. His attacks on Justice Anin-Yeboah were not only despicable and condemnable, but also diabolic. His deliberate attempt at impugning the integrity of the eminent judge, which was not borne out on facts, but mischief, has succeeded in undermining the integrity of our judges. What Mr. Tsikata has done suggests that some judges (or all of the judges) on the Ghanaian bench do not have a mind of their own, and therefore, their judgments must be placed within certain absurd context. He has, by his misguided comments, brought the verdict on the election petition into disrepute. Those who think that the judgment was a clear case of miscarriage of justice could be justified by Mr. Tsikata’s aspersion.

It is true, that as humans, we are likely to be influenced by our ideological orientations, beliefs, tribes, religious and political affiliations, among others; but we should be very careful in casting insinuations without alluding to evidence. Mr. Tsikata, in seeking to tarnish or rent into shreds the reputation of Justice Anin-Yeboah, did not provide evidence to support his case, which is very atrocious and farcical. According to him Justice Anin-Yeboah voted consistently against the respondents because he was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Kufuor—which is an obvious misrepresentation of the facts. In fact, the eminent Justice voted against the petitioners on three out of the six issues—duplicate serial numbers, duplicate polling station codes, and unknown polling stations, but upheld the petitioners’ claim of over-voting, voting without biometric verification, and lack of presiding officers’ signature on the pink sheet. And he was not alone in this line of thought; three other Justices also shared in his line of thought. How on earth then could a sincere mind accuse the Justice of bias, if not to rent apart his envious reputation, and, also to bring the judiciary into public ridicule?

If Mr. Tsikata cares to know, and I think he is already aware. Three of the Justices (Justice William Atuguba, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, & Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo) who voted consistently against the petitioners and by extension for the respondents were all appointed by the government of the National Democratic Congress. These eminent Justices voted against the petitioners on all the six issues. Even in this, you cannot accuse them of bias stemming only from the source of their appointment without evidence. It is only their conscience that knows the motivation of their judgment. Therefore, it will be wrong for mortal fallible souls like me, and any other person, based on the source of their appointment, to ascribe motives into their judgment, though, we have the constitutional mandate to question and critize their judgments. And this we will be doing in the coming days.

Now, Mr. Tsikata is on record to have said that he owes nobody an apology. To be specific, he says that he owes neither President Kufour nor Justice Anin-Yeboah an apology. But, sir, who is demanding an apology from you? We do not need any apology from you; in fact, I dare you to stick to your nation-and institutional-wrecking comments about the judiciary. That in a way makes you a man; but I will be flabbergasted if you are not charged for contempt by the Supreme Court. I expect the Supreme Court, in order to uphold the sanctity of our judicial system to bring this man to justice. If this is not done, the confidence we have in our legal system will be eroded, and their earned respect will be soiled forever. Again, the silence and inaction of the Supreme Court or the General Legal Council will mean that our judicial system is what Mr. Tsikata thinks it is: a discredited institution. I hope Justice Atuguba reads this! God bless Ghana!

Source: Kingsley Nyarko, Psychologist, Accra (kingsleynyarko73@yahoo.com)

Columnist: Nyarko, Kingsley