Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood
The Chief Justice, Her Ladyship Theodora Wood, in her belated post-election petition judgement observations, cuffed the media and others whose commentaries about the Atuguba-led panel were anything but complimentary.
The media observations were important critiques which Her Ladyship claimed judges were not apprehensive of and which were tabled largely without malice.
We find it interesting though that the many legal queries posed by a broad-spectrum of Ghanaians who watched the proceedings on television and the legal luminaries who squirmed in disapproval of the outcome of the proceedings were ignored by the Chief Justice in her remarks.
Picking on the media alone under the circumstances makes better reading perhaps, and Her Ladyship might have, therefore, been counselled by her speechwriter appropriately.
Thanks to the Danquah Institute sponsored symposium on the election petition judgement, Ghanaians had the rare opportunity of listening to a plethora of senior lawyers whose dissection of the subject enabled them to identify the grey areas in the decision of the panel without wigs.
While we share with Her Ladyship the pain and regrets over the waning public confidence in the Judiciary occasioned by the commentaries following the judgement, we are unhappy that her remarks suggest the media is responsible for the unwholesome circumstance.
The Judiciary is one arm of government whose integrity we toy with at the peril of our democracy and national civility. So too is the media which requires the support of important personalities such as Her Ladyship and others to flourish to the betterment of governance and democracy.
Like other segments of society, we too have our shortcomings and indeed also suffer the corruption contagion, which has infected the Judiciary also. There is room for improvement in the performance of both the Judiciary and the membership of the fourth estate of the realm.
We are surprised that the real adversaries of the Judiciary, who have stood against the proper functioning of this important arm of government, eluded the radar of Her Ladyship by commission or omission as she poured out her heart.
At the time that a senior lawyer Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata found it appropriate to descend upon one of the Supreme Court judges, Mr. Justice Anin Yeboah, by politically labelling him and disparaging his position, Her Ladyship ignored the aberration.
We thought the silence was informed by a wise decision to let bygones be bygones; unfortunately, however, Her Ladyship has reopened aspects of the reactions to the judgement.
We wish to remind Her Ladyship about the solidarity a section of the media showed the Judiciary when some irate NDC youth from the North virtually besieged her offices in Accra threatening mayhem a few years ago. Her opprobrium, if there was any, was suppressed given the proclivity of their party to violence.
Those responsible for the obnoxious ?many ways of killing the cat? did not attract a remark from Her Ladyship and we were worried that she chose silence as an option at the time.
Former President Rawlings? offer to clean the Judiciary although laughable still stands. Her Ladyship?s acceptance or decline would make interesting reading.