The Minority in Parliament has indicated its willingness to approve of the nomination of Mrs Gertrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkornoo as the Chief Justice (CJ).
The caucus said though it disagrees with her in her reasoning in the James Gyakye Quayson case, it would not hold same against her considering her vast experience in the judicial space of the country.
At the vetting of Mrs Torkornoo in Accra a fortnight ago, the caucus indicated that it would not take a decision on the nominee until her reasoned judgement on the case, which saw the election of Mr Quayson as Member of Parliament for Assin North annulled, was made available.
Addressing a press conference in Parliament, Accra, yesterday, following the publication of the judgement on Monday, Ranking Member on the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee, Mahama Ayariga, said the Minority was disappointed by the reasoning of the nominee on the matter.
According to Mr Ayariga, MP, Bawku Central, the nominee’s professed textualist approach in constitutional interpretation did not reflect in her reasoning as contained in the judgement.
At the heart of the decided case pursuant to Article 94(2)(a) is whether or not a person qualifies to be a Member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana; a qualification the Minority argued only kicks in at the point of swearing-in.
“Fidelity to the text of the Constitution of Ghana would have dictated that the controlling provisions in the resolution of the dispute are the words ‘qualified to be a Member of Parliament.’
“Disappointingly, a professed textualist like our CJ nominee abandoned the text and chose to read into the text a replacement text ‘qualified to file nomination papers to contest for election as a Member of Parliament.’
“This is exactly why the NDC Minority Members of Parliament on the Appointments Committee wanted to wait for the reasoning to see if the CJ nominee would be true to her publicly professed textualist approach to constitutional interpretation,” Mr Ayariga stated.
He continued: “Whilst the clear language of the Constitution is dealing with ‘qualification to be a Member of Parliament,’ the Supreme Court veered off and was dealing with ‘eligibility or qualification of a person to contest as a Member of Parliament.’
“Article 94 is not talking about eligibility to contest elections. It is about becoming a Member of Parliament. This only takes place at the point of swearing-in.”
The image of the judiciary, Mr Ayariga posited “is not in good shape. Several polls have shown that” and prayed that her tenure would “restore the dignity of the judiciary.”
The Minority Leader, Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, on the expectation of Ghanaians and the Minority of the CJ nominee, said the citizenry couldn’t wait to see the transformed judiciary under her watch.
“We hope that her tenure would bring about a judiciary that is truly independent, one that would hold all state institutions to account, particularly the executive…and bring about the advancement of freedom and justice for all Ghanaians,” the MP for Ajumako/Enyan/Essiam said.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI