Former President Jerry Rawlings says the Presiding Judge of the nine member panel of Justices that heard the election petition case, Justice William Atuguba, must be celebrated for saving Ghana from implosion.
Rawlings told a congregation at the University of Development Studies on Saturday, where an honorary doctorate degree was conferred on him, for his personal contribution to the establishment of the school that: “…Just when this country appeared to be at the brink of anarchy; the tension that was created [and] the distortion using the media, about what was going on during the trial…it was almost as if we were coming close to some explosion”.
He said the Supreme Court, under the leadership of her lordship the Chief Justice and the resolve of Justice Atuguba, “restored order and sanity” in the country during the hearing.
According to Rawlings, Justice Atuguba ensured that “reckless talk was replaced with cowardly silence”.
“Logic and humility then prevailed”, he noted.
The former President said: “The great Justice Atuguba’s brand of leadership on the bench, helped to restore some of the image that the judiciary has lost over the years”.
“His ability to stomp his authority and expose the indiscipline that some of the parties in the case were exhibiting, served as a greater compliment to all the peace initiatives that we all lent a hand to”, Rawlings observed.
He mentioned that: “The dedication and integrity of Justice Atuguba is the kind of ideal that June 4 and December 31 stood for. Yes!”
He said: “It is unfortunate that rather than celebrate and discuss this forthrightness and sense of discipline, media commentators and contributors and their controllers…in their petty political mindedness, could not bring themselves to see or recognise…a gem of a man”.
“For me, justice Atuguba is the man of the last decade”, Rawlings said.
“And this has nothing to do with the direction of himself at the end of the Court proceeding. It has nothing to do the judgment in favour of the NDC. My respect for him has to with the fearlessness and capacity to confront the obvious without inhibition”, he pointed out.
“He dealt with the weaknesses that both the major parties and most of the other parties, suffer from, because there is a bottom-line that a society must maintain; that it must not cross. We’ve crossed it over and over. We have the money; we have the media and we use it to destroy values”, he bemoaned.
“The search for a positive ideal as exhibited by Justice Atuguba, a true citizen of this land is what academic pursuit is all about”, Rawlings asserted.