Tue, Oct

Ministers must stop activism over Montie trio - IDEG

Nana Oye Lithur - The Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection

The Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has expressed grave concerns regarding a petition some government appointees are signing to compel the President to pardon the convicted Montie three.

The Executive Director of IDEG, Dr Emmanuel Akwetey, said such acts, emanating from state officials, fly in the face of the tenets of rule of law.

“The President is there to defend the national interest and I think the ministers must also stop activism and represent the entire nation,” he stated this at the induction ceremony of the new Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana last Monday.

More ministers signing petition:

Several government appointees have signed a petition spearheaded by a pro-governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) group called Research and Advocacy Platform (RAPS) that is seeking to compel the President to pardon a presenter, Salifu Maase, popularly known as Mugabe, and two panellists, Alistair Tairo Nelson and Godwin Ako Gunn of an Accra-based Montie FM, who have been convicted by the Supreme Court (SC).

Contempt of Montie three

The two panellists, spurred on by the presenter of the Pampaso programme, threatened to murder justices of the apex court and said they would rape the Chief Justice, Georgina Wood, over an electoral roll case in which a former Youth Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan, and Evans Nimako were challenging the credibility of the register.

They were summoned and charged with contempt. A court, presided over by Justice Sophia Akuffo, handed the three men four months jail term and a penalty of GH¢10,000 each, a failure of which would attract another month of jail term. The lawyers for the trio have made the payment.

This has led to agitations by supporters of the NDC who believe the punishment was harsh for the crime the trio committed.

Call for presidential pardon

They are against the four months’ custodial sentences handed the three men and have vowed to compel President Mahama to activate his powers contained in Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution.

 Even though the group, buoyed by some ministers, is optimistic the President will grant the reprieve if it is able to garner enough signatories, political analysts have warned of dire consequences if Mr Mahama gives in.

Nation’s democracy

But Dr Akwetey believes the President might not want to undermine and ridicule the nation’s democracy by bowing to the pressure.

“I don’t know the precedent whereby the Supreme Court decides and immediately the President interferes,” he told Joy news.

Was Supreme Court wrong?

IDEG boss said the sentencing of the trio by the judges was in the interest of all Ghanaians considering the crucial phase of the nation’s democratic development.

According to him, it will be faulty for anyone to argue that the Supreme Court’s decision on the trio erodes press freedom in the country.

Rather, the judges rose to the occasion to defend the collective interest of the nation and that is what the President and ministers should do.