Some Ghanaians are demanding the
immediate resignation of the chief justice for what they described as
arrogating powers exclusive to a sitting president. They threatened to petition
newly elected President John Atta-Mills to sign an executive order to begin an
impeachment process of Chief Justice Georgina Woods if she fails to resign
Monday. The Chief Justice came
under heavy criticism after allegedly ordering a Fast Track Court to adjudicate
a lawsuit filed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on a public holiday, an act
they claim is only reserved for a president under Ghana's constitution.
supporters of Chief Justice Woods have described the resignation demand as a
witch-hunt vendetta calculated to soil her impeccable judicial reputation. The
law suit sought to prevent the Electoral Commission from declaring results of
the December 28 election run-off.
analyst Alhaji Idrissu Bature told VOA the chief justice's action nearly plunge
the country in a constitutional crisis.
you would recall, prior to her appointment and subsequent vetting and approval
by parliament, a lady sent a petition to parliament on how the chief justice
helped her (chief justice's) father to annex the lady's father's land. But the
parliament of Ghana refused to hear this petition. You would also recall that
this lady (chief justice) was the chairperson of a committee constituted by the
government of the then NPP administration to look into the missing of a 72
parcels of cocaine onboard MV Benjamin (ship). And those who were very active
on the committee realized that there was a massive cover up by the then government
to unravel the missing cocaine," Alhaji Bature pointed out.
said Chief Justice Woods was accused of working in collusion with the past
administration led by former President John Kufuor.
Woods being the chairperson of that committee played a significant role in the
massive cover up to the extent that some of the willing witnesses who appeared
before her committee were jailed even though no exhibit of cocaine was found on
them," he said.
Bature said some Ghanaians believe the chief justice was given the job by
President Kufuor not based on merit.
was a judge of the Appeals Court, and immediately after this job that she did
(investigating the missing cocaine) she was rewarded by the government by being
appointed as Ghana's Chief Justice. She also overlooked while the executive
interfered in the judicial process under her supervision, which is contrary to
the tenets of the constitution of Ghana," Alhaji Bature noted.
said the chief justice unconstitutionally appointed a judge to adjudicate a
lawsuit filed by the New Patriotic Party that sought to prevent the electoral
commission from declaring a winner of the December 28 election run-off. Alhaji
Bature adds that the chief justice directive nearly plunged the country into a
the NPP and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) failed to garner more than
50 percent of the votes needed to win the December seven general election,
which necessitated the election run-off.
had arrogated the power of a president of the republic of Ghana when
she granted permission for a court to sit on an election dispute on a statutory
national public holiday in the last election. Under the constitution, it is
only the president of the republic that can grant a waiver for anybody to go to
work. And in this case no executive instrument was published; we were not told
the President His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor had done that. Yet the chief
justice granted permission for the court to hear election dispute, an election
dispute that nearly brought constitutional crisis to Ghana because we couldn't
have met the seven January hand over as required by our constitution," he said.
denied the chief justice is being politically witch-hunted.
is mainly a democratic and administrative issue; there is nothing like NPP,
NDC, CPP (Convention People's Party) here. The fact that she helped cover up in
the missing 76 parcels of cocaine does not bring partisanship into this. The
fact that she allowed the executive to interfere in the administration of
justice does not bring partisanship into this. So, I don't buy that criticism,"
Alhaji Bature noted.