Paul Twum-Barimah — MP for Dormaa East
Paul Twum-Barimah — MP for Dormaa East

Protect sanctity of state institutions - Dormaa East MP to politicians

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament  for Dormaa East, Paul Twum-Barimah, has appealed to political leaders in the country to refrain from comments that “vilify and bastardise” critical state institutions.

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He said passing unhealthy comments about the Judiciary, the Electoral Commission and the security agencies only undermined public confidence in them.

“We do not need to bastardise and vilify our democratic institutions and come back to think that they do not have the credibility that we need to grow our democracy,” he said.

Let’s build institutions

Speaking to the Daily Graphic in an interview in Parliament last Wednesday, Mr Twum-Barimah said “It is time we focused our energy and thoughts on strengthening state institutions to perform their constitutional roles.

“The sanctity of the Judiciary, the Electoral Commission (EC) and the security agencies must be protected, and we should not take our political activities to these institutions since it will not help us,” he said.

He was reacting to a recent comment by former President John Dramani Mahama who accused the government of “packing” the Judiciary with judges sympathetic to the NPP.

Addressing the closing ceremony of the 3rd annual lawyers conference of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on September 2, 2023, Mr Mahama accused the government of appointing NPP judges in a bid to help it avoid accountability once the party was out of office.

“Currently, the judiciary is packed with NPP-inclined judges because this government has carried out a deliberate policy of putting their people onto the bench,” the former President said.

Disagreement

Mr Twum-Barimah said he disagreed with the former President that the judiciary had been packed with judges affiliated to the ruling party.

He said the judges were appointed based on their competence and qualifications.

He indicated that former President Mahama had worked with some of the judges at various courts, where he appointed a few judges too.

“Assuming the NPP decided to bastardise those judges appointed by the former President, can they think that they can go to them and find confidence in them?

“I think we need to take our politics out of certain institutions and rather focus on helping them to become stronger,” he said.

He added, “The challenge is that when these institutions at a point become frustrated and begin to fail, we say they are not working”.

As human institutions, the MP concurred that such state institutions were not immune to mistakes, and, therefore, needed to be corrected when they erred.

“We must criticise and point out to them when they go wrong but we must equally praise them when they get it right,” he said.

Allow system to purge

Buttressing his stance against the assertion by the former President, Mr Twum-Barimah cited an instance in the United Kingdom where the government appointed someone affiliated to the party in government.

“This judge handled a case that went against the government and this shows that it does not matter who the government appoints to the judiciary.

“If you strengthen the institutions and one gets an appointment to the judiciary, the system will automatically sanitise and purge you of any political bias.

“But when you politicise the judiciary, immediately one is appointed and gets there, the person will feel the urge to work in the interest of the government,” he said.

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