Few days ago, President John Mahama under excessive pressure mainly from National Democratic Congress (NDC) faithful and persons sympathetic to the NDC government invoked the powers conferred on him by Article 72 (1) of the 1992 Constitution by remitting the remaining prison sentence imposed on Salifu Maase, Alister Nelson and Ako Gunn by the Supreme Court of Ghana after verbally assaulting Justices of the Court and also bringing the Highest Court of the Land into disrepute.
Indeed Article 72 (1) of the 1992 Constitution states ‘ The President may in consultation with the Council of State grant a person convicted of an offence a pardon either free or subject to lawful conditions’. Yet, as a student leader, I’m deeply concerned about the overall ramification this singular act by His Excellency the President has on our overall developmental quest as a nation.
I wishes to express my disappointment as follows;
(i) By this singular action, a clear opportunity to sanitize our public discourse has been lost.
(ii) The President by his action has set a precedent which has the potential to usher us on a path to a journey of no return.
(iii) The action constitutes a blot on our efforts at building a well integrated and cohesive nation anchored on the principle of one Ghana. The action clearly establishes that members of a sitting Government’s political party (in this case NDC) after committing crimes are deserving of the President’s mercy than any other group of Ghanaians.
(iv) As President of the Republic of Ghana, President Mahama has by this decision completely lost the moral high ground to admonish Ghanaians to repose trust and confidence in a judicial system highly acclaimed as one of the best on the continent and beyond.
I wish to take this opportunity to remind all, especially the President, that the powers vested in him by the constitution is to be exercised for the profit of all and not to undermine the very institutions the constitution has creates and admonishes all to jealously guard it.
It should be noted that towards our efforts at building a better Ghana, a time comes where extreme and excessive partisanship must give way to the greater good.
National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS)