Ghana’s Judiciary system has seen lots of transformation under the Fourth Republic. One such notable transformation which has sent thousands of tongues wiggling is the appointment of justices to the apex courts, the Appeals Court and the Supreme Court (SC).
Many Ghanaians believe the mode of selection or nominations to that high office is based on political partisanship or patronage. Hence the sometimes unnecessary agitations by the populace, especially political opponents who think the ruling class stock pal the bench to work in their favour.
Some past antecedents in the course of the apex court’s ruling in matters of partisan political nature have given credence to the perception held by many of the citizenry.
The recent appointment to the SC bench which broke the camel’s back is the four new nominations made by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo. The nominees had already gone through parliamentary vetting waiting to be, sworn into office.
The four brings the tally to eleven (11) justices President Akufo-Addo has appointed to Ghana’s Apex court since becoming the president of the land in less than three and half years.
Nana Addo made his first four appointments unto the SC bench on the 13th July 2018 barley 17 months into his administration. The four justices were: Samuel K. Marful-Sau, Agnes M.A Dordzie, Nii Ashie Kotey, and Nene A. O. Amegatcher.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in 17 December 2019 again appointed Justices Mariama Owusu, Avril Lovelace-Johnson, and Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo to the SC bench.
The President of the Republic of Ghana on February 2020 once again nominated four additional justices to serve on the SC bench bringing his tally of his appointments to eleven within three and half years of his reign.
The four new additions are: Clemence Hoenyenuga, Emmanuel Yoni Kulendi, Prof. Henrietta J. A. N. Mensah-Bonsu and Issifu Omoro Tanko.
Data from the Judicial Service of Ghana shows that between the years 2000 to 2008, former President John Agyekum Kufour, the second president under the fourth Republic, appointed only four people in eight years unto the bench. The four are: Justices Julius Ansah (July 2004), Jones Mawulom Dotse, Paul Baffoe-Bonnie and Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, the current Chief Justice in June 2008.
Again the third president under the fourth Republic, late Prof. John Evens Fiifi Atta Mills made just one appointments Justices Nasiru Sulemana Gbadegbe (October 2009) during his short stay in office between 2009 to July 2012.
Then Ex. President John Dramani Mahama, the fourth president under the same fourth Republic, also appointing three justices to the bench. Alfred Anthony Benin (11 November 2012), Yaw Appau, and Gabriel Pwamang (both in 29 June 2015).
Nana Addo aside this huge number of justices he had appointed in to the SC on Tuesday, 17th December, 2019, swore, into office, 45 Justices.
The 45 Justices comprises: 34 High Court and 11 Court of Appeal justices. Out of the 34 Justices of the High Court, there are 22 women and 12 men, whiles the 11 Justices of the Court of Appeal, had five (5) women and six (6) men.
Story Franklin ASARE-DONKOH