Former President Jerry Rawlings says the humour brought to bear on the election petition hearing by the President of the nine-member panel, Justice William Atuguba, largely reduced political tension in the county.
Justice Atuguba intermittently dropped witty and funny comments which sometimes threw the entire court into laughter during the 46 days of the substantial hearing of the case.
The last of such string of humorous comments was on the last day before the court adjourned to July 31.
Justice Atuguba mirthfully mocked the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan about the latter’s “got to court” comment on December 9, 2012 before declaring the presidential results of the 2012 elections.
Speaking at a national peace summit organised in Accra with the aim to preparing Ghanaians to accept the final verdict of the Supreme Court, Mr. Rawlings commended the Bench, especially Justice Atuguba for his jovial comments during the hearing.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to commend our Supreme Court Justices for the composure and moderating influence throughout the hearing process. Their performance so far under the scrutiny of television cameras is worthy of mentioning,” Mr. Rawlings applauded.
According to him, “The efforts that the [President] was making, to also lower the temperature, the humour that he would provide everyday no doubt all designed to make sure that the situation did not boil over when the time comes. We must give thanks to God and to him for making it so humorous and making it so palatable”.
Mr. Rawlings said: “At the end of the day our response to the ruling will indicate how mature we are as a people and how our political process has also evolved. We cannot, once again, afford to fail this test”. He, however, implored the Justices to ensure they deliver a fair judgment.
“We will of course also expect our judiciary to deliver a ruling that will inspire the confidence of both the winners and losers and further go to strengthen and protect our political process, national cohesion and self-belief. “Justice is perhaps one of the most essential and intrinsic contributions to the internal equilibrium of the soul. It is, therefore, important that we protect this equilibrium. It is, therefore, important that we make sure that justice is done”. He noted that “there are serious battles ahead of us” including “corruption, economic decadence, the burning down of our markets and crime in general” as well as the need to tackle the “behaviour of some foreigners in Ghana that is tending to reduce our people to secondary citizens”.
“Let us get this one out of the way and take on the others. We need to move on.”