The Minority in Parliament has criticized the Chief Justice of trying to institute culture of silence with his recent petition to the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council for Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine to be investigated over his alleged comments.
The Minority contends that Dr. Ayine is a Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament and not only as a Lawyer, therefore, he has a duty and responsibility as a Member of Parliament and a Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament to speak to the public on matters of public interest as he did at the forum of the Presidential Election Petition and their impact on African’s democracy.
Mr Haruna Idrrisu who addressed the media noted that “Dr. Ayine as an academic and legislator was making one of those contributions to the deepening of democracy, rule of law and frontiers of jurisprudence generally, rather than an attack on the Judiciary”. And therefore, consider the petition a “disproportionate interference” with his rights to freedom of expression and therefore not necessary in our democracy.
“Why must the tangential fact that he is a professional lawyer deprive him of his right to free speech, first as a citizen of Ghana, secondly as a Member of Parliament and thirdly as a Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament? The Chief Justice’s position is an infringement of Dr. Ayine’s right to free speech on all scores and intended to render him ineffective as a representative of the constituency and as Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament.”
They said “this is the first time that any Chief Justice in Ghana is descending into a pure matter of discourse to prevent a Member of Parliament and a lawyer from freely expressing his right to free speech in a matter not pending in court but a judgement of the Supreme Court.” And wondered if this could be fighting a proxy electoral battle on someone’s behalf?
The Minority considers the actions of the Chief Justice a restriction of political speech or on debate on matters of public interest, and indicated that the hostility emanating from the Chief Justice’s office will only negate his right to free speech.
They therefore urged the Chief Justice to reconsider his request to the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to investigate the alleged statements made by Hon. Dr. Dominc Ayine in the interest of peace, national cohesion and to safeguard our democracy.
The Chief Justice has petitioned the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to investigate an alleged statements made by Dr. Ayine at a panel discussion hosted by a Civil Society Organization, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), on the Theme; “Presidential Election Petitions and their Impact on Africa’s Democracy”.