Former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has waded into the issue of politically leaning judges as recently espoused by former president Jon Dramani Mahama.
The retired CJ, in a yet-to-be released interview with Asaase Radio described political labelling on members of the bench as unnecessary pressure that sometimes gets to the judges in the line of their work.
In the case of the comments by the former president, she stated that Mahama during his time as president had also made appointments across the bench before asking rhetorically whether these appointments were politically influenced.
“He has been through the process of appointing other people before, so, was it because they were NDC?” she quizzed.
Akuffo, who served as Ghana’s second female CJ said the labelling was upsetting because of its potential impacts and that it was even more worrying when people who have no known political allegiances are tagged.
“It always upsets me when you get comments like this one is NPP judge, this one is NDC judge and yet, you have never seen the person on any party’s rally, platform. And these are some of the unnecessary pressures that are put on the judiciary.
“What difference will that tag make to me, my career and my work. I am already there. You think I am NDC, at the end of the day, so what? Sometimes, it gets to you,” she admitted.
What Mahama said:
“You can see what the current president has done, he has appointed the biggest number of judges onto the bench, it is more than 80 towards 100 and counting,” he noted in a virtual address to the 3rd Annual Lawyers Conference of the NDC on Saturday, September 2.
“He has packed the court and we know they have packed the court because they want to avoid accountability after they have left office. We must be prepared as NDC legal persons to also go onto the bench so that we can balance out the judiciary.
“Currently, the judiciary is packed with NPP-inclined judges because this government has carried out a deliberate policy of putting their people on to the bench.
“So, I encourage some of you to look at careers on the bench so that we can balance out what the current situation is,” he added.
The issue of appointments onto the bench has been topical under this government with allegations that politically exposed people have been appointed by the president.