Parliament, by consensus yesterday approved the nomination of Mrs Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo as the Chief Justice (CJ) of Ghana.
Almost two weeks before her approval, the Minority in Parliament had given the hint that they would vote on the approval of the CJ nominee only when they had procured the Supreme Court’s reasoned judgement in the matter which had led to the annulment of the election of one of them, James Gyakye Quayson, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for the Assin North Constituency.
The Supreme Court released the official document containing that judgement on June 6.
The availability of the reasoned judgement and the subsequent approval of the CJ nominee, therefore, put to rest all headaches that had to be suffered by the appointment authority, the Majority, the nominee herself and the family, as well as others who cared about the matter.
We are happy that finally, the NDC Minority have given their approval of the CJ nominee because the 1992 Constitution demands it as a prerequisite.
Under the Constitution, a presidential nominee for a high-profile office like those of a minister, a Justice of the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice requires the prior approval of Parliament.
Fortunately or unfortunately, the Constitution itself has not regulated the procedure for approval, leaving it as the privilege of Parliament to do it by its own procedures.
We have experienced situations where Minority members (not only from NDC) always give some reasons why they would not approve certain nominees.
We wish in future, the crooked edges will be straightened to save certain public pronouncements that cause avoidable headaches.
We believe that once Parliament has its own way of vetting the President’s nominees for appointments, their focus should be on their own criteria.
We are saying this because in a press conference in Parliament on Tuesday, the NDC MP for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, said something significant about the CJ nominee.
He said the curriculum vitae of the President’s nominee shows that she is a person of considerable experience, having served as a judge from the High Court to the Court of Appeal and ultimately to the Supreme Court and that the Minority find her qualified to occupy the high office of Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.
Now that the dust has settled, we congratulate and welcome you, Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo, as the Chief Justice of the country.
We believe you would prove your mettle by doing more than your predecessor female CJs, Justices Georgina Theodora Wood and Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo, and, of course, all your predecessors in order to meet the demands of the changing times.
We pray that as you try to meet the demands of the changing times, you will always remember the advice by the Tamale South MP, Haruna Iddrisu, that you should go and administer justice without fear or favour and without political interference and that as a judge, you must be influenced only by the law,
We would like to say that you must help to kill corruption in justice delivery in the country.
Once again, congratulations!