Former President John Mahama has expressed concerns about what he perceives as an attempt by President Akufo-Addo’s administration to stack Ghanaian courts with sympathetic judges to evade accountability once they leave office.
Speaking at the closing session of the 3rd Lawyers Conference organized by the NDC Lawyers Association in Akosombo, in the Eastern region, Mr. Mahama raised issues about the appointment of judges with known political affiliations to key positions in the judicial system.
He noted that President Akufo-Addo had appointed a significant number of judges, more than 80 to nearly a hundred, to various positions, indicating that this move was aimed at securing a favorable environment for his government after leaving office.
Mr. Mahama called for judicial reforms to restore public trust and confidence in Ghana’s judiciary, emphasizing that these reforms should not be imposed by the Executive branch but should involve collaboration with the judiciary itself.
He highlighted the decreasing public trust in the judiciary, citing surveys that revealed its reputation was at an all-time low. Mr. Mahama attributed this loss of trust to perceptions of monetary influences on judgments in both civil and criminal cases.
He also referred to the Anas Aremeyaw Anas investigation that led to the dismissal of some judges as a contributing factor.
The former President further pointed out that the judiciary’s problems had evolved into partisanship, resulting in “bizarre” decisions in political cases. He stressed the need for judicial reform to enhance the judiciary’s reputation as an independent institution.
Mr. Mahama proposed collaboration between the judiciary and the executive to improve the stature of the judiciary. He encouraged the legal team of the opposition NDC to discuss how the executive and the judiciary could work together to enhance the image of the Ghanaian judiciary.
He believed that an improved judiciary would benefit all stakeholders, including those who work in the court, judges, and judicial service workers, as well as instill trust in foreign investors and anyone within Ghana’s jurisdiction.