Former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo has expressed disapproval of former President John Dramani Mahama’s recent comments, in which he accused President Akufo-Addo of appointing judges affiliated with the NPP to the judiciary.
Akuffo believes that such comments unjustly tarnish the reputation of the judges and could create unnecessary pressures within the judiciary.
During an interview on Asaase Radio’s Townhall Talk, Akuffo questioned whether appointments made by Mahama during his tenure were also based on political affiliation. She emphasized the importance of avoiding such labels when discussing judicial appointments.
“He has been through the process of appointing other people before, so was it because they were NDC?… It always upsets me when you get comments like, ‘Oh, this one is an NPP judge,’ ‘Oh, this one is NDC,’ and yet you have never seen the person at any party’s rally or on political platforms.”
“These are some of the unnecessary pressures that are put on the judiciary. What difference will that label make to me, my career, and my work?… Sometimes it gets to you,” she added
Mahama made these allegations during the third annual lawyers’ conference of the NDC in Akosombo, where he claimed that the NPP had filled the courts with judges aligned with their party. He suggested that NDC lawyers should be prepared to be appointed to the bench to restore balance if the NDC wins the 2024 elections.
In response to Mahama’s comments, President Akufo-Addo criticized them as “very dangerous” and a “brazen attack on the independence of the judiciary.”
The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) shared concerns about the independence of the judiciary but disagreed with the president’s approach.
The GBA stated that the best way to protect judicial independence is to ensure that all politicians, regardless of their party affiliation, respect the rule of law and the separation of powers.