‘Judges views on national issues must be made known to citizenry’

Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, the Member of Parliament for Ellembele, has given Ms Sophia Akuffo thumbs up on her appointment as the Chief Justice of the Republic but wants the views of judges known on issues of national concern.

His concern follows the reluctance of Ms Akuffo to answer questions which bothered on her personal convictions in her 20 plus years as a Supreme Court Judge.

Ms Akuffo parried away many questions during her vetting arguing that she was “uncomfortable” in expressing her personal views on matters that she has sat on or which may come before her in the future.

But speaking to The Ghanaian Times in Parliament yesterday, moments after the House endorsed the nomination of Ms Akuffo, Mr Buah said making her views known would do the country a lot of good.

According to him, that should not be limited to the CJ but other superior court judges.

According to Mr Buah, “in all the questions that were asked, she gave general answers without expressing her personal views on the issues but it was important that the people of Ghana knew the views of our Supreme Court nominees.”

He referred to one question where Ms Akuffo was asked what her views were on the death penalty in the statute books and whether or not it should be maintained or scrapped by a constitutional amendment.

In replying, she said so long as it remained on the statute books, there was the need for the Court to comply without telling the panel what her personal views on the matter were.

This, the former Energy Minister said was unsatisfactory because the views of judges on issues of national importance should be made known to the citizenry.

“I think that we should be demanding to know her views on this critical issue and going forward, we should know the views of Justices of our higher courts on matters of national concern, including abortion, gayism and lesbianism, so that when it comes to empanelling judges to deal with special issues, we will have an idea about their positions and strike a balance,” Mr Buah maintained.

By Julius Yao Petetsi

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