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GBA suit against Apau, Pwamang: Dr.Omane Boama messes up

Sat, 4 Jul 2015 Source: Yawose, John

The happenings and comments on the suit filed by the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and three others; Messrs Nene Amegarctcher, Justin Amenuvor and Beecham at the Supreme Court praying the court to declare the recent appointments of Justices Yaw Apau and Gabriel Pwamang as the apex court's Justices as unconstitutional are interesting , though varied. In the laymans language, the plaintiffs are also accusing President Mahama of disregarding the advice of the Judicial Council and failing to comply with constitutional provisions pertaining to their appointments. The plaintiffs also want a declaration from the Sureme Couirt that upon true and proper construction of Article 144 clauses (2) and (3) of the 1992 Constitution, all appointments made by the President of the Republic of Ghana to the Supreme Courts are valid only to the extent that such appointments are made in strict accordance with the advice of the 2nd defendant herein, the Judicial Council- - all amongst others.

The reactions to the suit from Dr Omane Boama, the Communications Minister in :-https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/GBA-suit-against-Apau-Pwamang-absurd-Gov-t-365642, under the caption:-'' GBA suit against Apau, Pwamang absurd – Gov't'- was disappointing and appalling to the extent that he sought to openly denigrate the genuine attempt by the learned lawyers to stabilise Ghana's constitutional stipulations with regard to appointments of Justices to the Higher courts once and for all. Although Dr Omane Boamah admitted he was yet to see the suit filed by the Ghana Bar Association and other top members of the Bar, he still went on to brazenly describe the writ as preposterous and pooh-poohed the suit saying; '' I say this because I am not sure particularly the president of the Ghana Bar Association, can put his right hand on his left chest, and say that in all honesty and loyalty, he can indicate that Justice Yaw Apau and Justice Gabriel Pwamang as we speak now, respected justice of the highest court of the land, were not considered by the Judicial Council and subsequently names sent to the president," He aso charged that the writ sought to- "diminish the intelligence" of the Chief Justice and other justices of the superior courts who were at the swearing-in ceremony of the two, last Monday.

What broke the camels back was his aggressive remark that if the GBA President, Mr Amergatcher has any preferences to be at the Supreme Court, he should wait until he becomes the President of the Republic of Ghana," Haabaai, Dr Omane Boamah, is it the case that too much power is eating you up to the extent that you sounded so arrogant and so haughty? Dr Boamah reduced the whole matter into a simple political 'anansesem' fit to be staged in a village Cantata show and my esteem for him waned totally. To the extent that Dr. Boamah had not seen the suit, his remarks were childish, distasteful, unmatured and NDC typical takashie ways of doing things to play to the gallery to win undeserved political points. Dr. Omane Boamah should have given some modicum of respect to the efforts of the lawyers for seeking to enhance our democratic process by challenging aspects of governance in our teething democracy to straighten things instead of intimidating them. That's how progress is made in governance in modern states.

On the other hand, my heart jumped when I noticed a great degree of sobriety, discipline and maturity from an NDC lawyer's observation on the matter. Refer to the caption-' Supreme Court appointments: Mahama followed due process', reference:- https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Supreme-Court-appointments-Mahama-followed-due-process-365821. Here, NDC Private Legal Practitioner, Victor Kojoga Adawudu defended President John Mahama's appointment of two new Justices to the Supreme Court, saying he followed due process. Lawyer Amewuda spoke on the issues and made his points and avoided emotions, gallerism and deviated from the stinking takashie arguments of Dr Omane Boama.

Adawudu beautifully argued that :-"If it is on the advice of the Judicial Council, the second step is in consultation with Council of State and the third one is approval by Parliament so it is three different criteria.You cannot say that what the first criteria decides should ban all of them. If that is it, it should have been just the advice of the Judicial Council , you need not go to the Council of State to also do their enquiries, do their background check and then go to Parliament so if you are saying that it is only Judicial Council then the rest should not have been important but the framers of the constitution put in this approach that you go through," I doff my hat to Lawyer Adawudu for not sounding abusive and confrontational in his responses. Adawudu, you are the type we need in our democracy to enhance matured jaw-jawing in the face of even extreme provocations.

My joy became complete that we are after all on the road to democracy of respect, when I read a legal luminary Mr Sam Okujeto, on the same subject, under the caption-'' Critics of GBA don't understand the legal system'' in- https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/Critics-of-GBA-suit-don-t-understand-legal-system-Okudzeto-365883 . According to Sam Okujeto, persons who are condemning the GBA for heading to the Supreme Court do not "understand that the courts are there in order to enhance and stabilize the system in that country and that the suit has the tendency to change the nation's governance and ensure stability. Mr Okujeto further posited in these loaded statements that: "One person in power or a couple of people in power think that because they are in power, they can do anything or say anything. I have seen it in all these years of practicing the law... They don't look at it and the ramifications of it, the consequences of it; they don't look at it from that angle''.

In conclusion, it is clear that Dr Omane Boama, as a Minister of Communications did not do well in his commentary on the GBA suit. He messed himself up badly. He was hasty, pompous and unnecessarily insulting and it will be in his own interest to learn to build his political image on honesty, integrity, tolerance and the rule of law. Let Sam Okujeto's resounding advice to him be repeated that - whether the suit is purposeless or useless, let it be determined. And it will be determined. After all, my lawyer friends tell me despite the coincidence, the suit and its outcome will not affect the two judges just appointed to the SC or others who were appointed earliar without full compliance to the relevant Constitutional stipulations, that is, if the SC upholds the reliefs being pursued. All we are saying is that persons in government positions should exercise tolerance and calmness in the face of any constitutional legal challenges. Our future governance style will then be properly guided by the SC determinations. After all, they will not be in power all the time.

Down Dr. Omane Boama, Kudos Lawyers Adawudu & Okujeto

John Yawose

Columnist: Yawose, John