The Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Dr Ernest Kofi Abotsi, has cautioned politicians to be circumspect in their utterances and accusations against the judicial arm of government.
His warning followed allegations by Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, that a Supreme Court judge tried to bribe one of his colleague MPs to vote for Professor Mike Oquaye in the recent election of Speaker of the eighth Parliament.
“So shamefully, a Supreme Court Judge calls a colleague lady, telling her what they will give her. She has children, they will help her take care of her children. She can take fuel from a filling station for the four years,” Muntaka alleged.
However, Dr Abotsi cautioned that making wild allegations against judges without evidence, could destroy public confidence in the judiciary and this may subsequently lead to conflict and chaos.
“I will urge our political class to be circumspect in their pronouncement against the judiciary, because the court generally survives on confidence in their work. Therefore, if there is an allegation, particularly one which is not established but is thrown out there, the prospect that this can create not only suspicion in the minds of people but actually undermine the mandate and the legitimacy of the court.
“In many countries that fell victim to civil wars, the starting point was to bastardise the court. Once you bastardise the court, people think that there is no avenue for resolution so they fight on the streets. I think we should be very careful about the extent to which we bastardise our Court”, Dr Abotsi told Joy News.
According to him, these kinds of allegations tend to affect the work of the judiciary and also threaten the peace and stability of the whole nation.
“Look, people have all kinds of suspicions and allegations, but saying things, particularly, when you are a Member of Parliament, should demand a certain level of responsibility because a lot of people follow you.
“I do not know the factual basis on which the statement was made, but once the statement is not being submitted to a particular forum for investigation and once the details of this are not being mentioned then what you do is that you literally put and cast the entire court in doubts and [it] creeps question marks on the minds of every justice of the court and this is not good enough”, he added.