Tsatsu Tsikata hits Kufuor for shielding his Nkawie hometown Judge
The lead Counsel for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the just ended election petition, Tsastu Tsikata, has responded to the vile attacks on his person and also defended his stance that Ghanaian judges ought to separate their judicial task from their political affiliation.
Mr. Tsikata, dismissed calls on him to apologize for saying one of the nine-member panel of judges, Justice Anin-Yeboah, who according to The Herald’s independent checks comes from Nkawie near Kumasi, same as ex-President John Kufuor, has had difficulties separating his political affiliation from his judicial oath.
He insisted neither Justice Anin-Yeboah nor ex-President Kufuor, who took offence following the comments, deserved any apology from him.
The respected lawyer cited how extracts of Justice Anin-Yeboah’s decision on the Election Petition was being circulated on the internet before and after the verdict, particularly when the respondents are yet to have access to the judgment, as evident of what he meant.
He also cited how the same Justice Anin-Yeboah as Court of Appeal judge, wrongfully used a law to grant immunity to the International Finance Cooperation (IFC) operating here in Ghana, apparently to satisfy the Kufuor regime, but got slapped at the Supreme Court in the matter of the Republic versus Tsatsu Tsikata.
Mr. Tsikata, challenged ex-President Kufuor to apply his so-called objectivity and truth to his concerns for national stability by addressing the dirty language being used against President John Mahama.
“When President Kufuor says I am a threat to stability or when he say something like that, it is a wonder to me. Has he assessed the way in which President Mahama has received the vilest insults, the most demeaning language, being a thief and so on since 2012, has he assessed that as a threat to the stability of the country and has he commented on it?
“When I make a comment which is nowhere similar to those kinds of ridiculous and vile attacks, I make a comment about judicial balance and its importance and I say that particular judge lacked that in my observation.
“I think that you need to address the truth in the observations that I made. And I think you need to do it in the context of what all of us observed [during the election petition hearing]”, he told an Accra-based radio station, yesterday.
He was, however, surprised that nobody has taken the trouble to look into the facts he stated, but are only interested in taking sides.
“It is interesting that not one of the comments that have been made attacking what I said, has actually addressed whether what I said is true, objective or not. And not one of the comments including comment of the former president considers the issues that I really raised and it was not simply an issue about bias in a particular case”, he said while speaking on the Accra-based Radio Gold.
“I raised an issue about the conduct of a judge and the requirement of what I described as judicial balance in the adjudication of cases. That for me is a very important issue and nobody in responding has really tried to address that and the reason is really important and we choose our words carefully in these matters”, Mr. Tsikata explained.
“So I think that the suggestions that I also read about some invective and so on certainly cannot apply to anything that I said there was no language of invective”, he insisted.
“The reason for judicial balance is absolutely essential” he said. This is because “we all tend to hold to our political positions but if these political positions so cloud our judgments, especially when we are in a position to adjudicate an important case like the election petition, they cloud our judgments and prevent us from doing what is the legally appropriate and constitutionally right kind of decision-making. I think that is a danger to our country. That is a danger to our stability”.
The former Ghana National Petroleum Commission (GNPC) boss stated in clear terms that he owes no one an apology over his comment, adding the truth can be very uncomfortable.
Last Saturday on TV3’s news analysis programme Hot Issues Mr. Tsikata told show host, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, that Justice Anin-Yeboah, allowed his political affiliations to cloud his judgment.
Mr. Tsikata said Justice Anim-Yeboah, consistently took an opposing stance against the NDC’s arguments and position as far as the case was concerned, from the onset, adding that he was not really surprised by Justice Anin-Yeboah’s persistent and consistent opposition to the stance of the NDC, because he was appointed to the Supreme Court by ex-President Kufuor.
He has since come under severe criticism for the comments with a former president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Mr. Sam Okudzeto, demanding that Mr. Tsikata withdraws the statements and apologize.
Former President Kufuor issued a statement calling the accusations unfortunate and unjustified.
But reacting to the criticisms, Mr. Tsikata asked, “Why should I apologize to the former President?”
He said he only mentioned the fact that Justice Anin-Yeboah was appointed by former President Kufuor as a background fact, and hence does not see how that should warrant an apology from him.
He said, he stood by the comments and will not apologize to the Supreme Court judge either.
Although some persons have indicated that Mr. Tsikata’s comments amounted to contempt of court, he rebuffed such assertions.
“I can tell you for certain that there is a world of difference between what I said; remarks that I made and the remarks…of other people…there is a world of difference”, he emphasized.
He said, he would instead like to encourage the former President and other people condemning his remarks “to pay attention to the words that [he] used in respect of Justice Anin-Yeboah and the importance of judicial balance and indeed the importance of all of us of having a balanced and a measured approach irrespective of our political perspective.”
“I think Judges, particularly, more than anybody else are people we expect to rise above partisanship and we need to hold them accountable and that is really what I sought to do”, he added.
He said, Justice Anin-Yeboah, can attest to the fact that he (Tsikata) has nothing personal against him, noting that there is the need to address the truth and objectivity of whatever position we articulate.
“I mean he has been consistently against even the NDC being joined as a party and consistently in Court, I mean, it was quite clear that he was taking positions against everything that was put forward from our side, I mean, there was a very consistent way”, Mr. Tsikata observed in the interview on Saturday.
But Mr. Tsikata, who is unperturbed by attacks from the NPP, President Kufuor, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the National Peace Council (NPC), questioned why Mr. Kufuor in particular will in his statement say he (Tsatsu) was a threat to the stability of the nation when in actual fact, remarks from others against President Mahama had been the “vilest” and had the tendency to destabilize the country.
“I mean you need to talk to people who have been in court, during this particular election petition and is just an observation, it is not everything we necessarily want to speak about on air. I think that the issue is about the truth and objectivity”, he said.
“He dispelled suggestion by former President of the GBA and a member of the NPP, Lawyer Sam Okudzato that he could be liable for contempt saying, “I don’t think so”
“when somebody like that claims that I am rather liable for contempt for comment I have made, which he has not alleged in anyway lacking in objectivity or truthfulness, but he just says you know, I mean I don’t think the power of the court to commit people for contempt is just used whenever they is any critical comment, that is not the meaning of contempt”, he said