The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has expressed concerns over an alleged harassment and victimisation of the Dormaahene Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu in respect of a comment he made on the ongoing trial of the Member of Parliament (MP) of Assin North, James Gyakye Quayson, at an event held in Sunyani, the Bono Regional capital recently.
It said the Dormaahene who is also a Justice of the High Court made the comments under reference in his capacity as a paramount chief and for that matter, a custodian and promoter of the culture, peace, unity, stability and development of the country.
The NDC in a statement issued and signed by its General Secretary, Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, alleged that the Dormaahene has been hauled before a Committee constituted by the Judicial Council and Chaired by the Chief Justice, Gertrude Araba Sackey Torkonoo, over the said comments he made in respect of the ongoing court case of Mr Quayson.
“Like all chiefs in this country, the revered Dormaahene has a responsibility and right to speak on matters of public interest and to call on duty bearers to act in a manner that ensures societal cohesion and development,” it said.
At an event organised by the John Evans Atta Mills Heritage in Sunyani recently, the Dormaahene appealed for the country to consider amending the existing legal regime on the ineligibility of dual citizens to be elected as Members of Parliament.
On the criminal prosecution of the Assin North MP, the chief also appealed to the Attorney-General to consider entering a nolle prosequi in the light of the re-election of James Gyakye Quayson by the good people of Assin North in the just-ended by-election.
His call, however, did not go down with a section of the public.
The NDC claimed the statements did not in any way prejudice any case pending before any Court.
“The above-stated comment by the Dormaahene did not in any way prejudice any case pending before any Court.
Nor did same breach any Code of Conduct of Judges, as the comment related to the exercise of discretion by the Attorney -General and not the Court.
The NDC is of the view that the attempt by the Judicial Council to allegedly victimise the Dormaahene over the said comments was unacceptable.
The NDC further called on the Judicial Council to respect the 1992 constitution and also to reconsider its apparent persecution of the Dormaahene, adding that “the NDC will collaborate with other progressive forces and defenders of democracy to embark on a series of public manifestations to protest this creeping culture of judicial tyranny”.
“While we respect the important role of the Judiciary in our governance architecture, the Judiciary must in turn respect the rights of citizens to free speech as guaranteed by the 1992 Constitution which is the supreme law of the land.
The Judiciary cannot seek to elevate themselves above the Constitution and punish chiefs for voicing their concerns on issues public interest”.