Divisive Mahama … Releases Montie 3
Monday, August 23, 2016 will remain in history books as the shameful day on which, apart from making mockery of the judiciary, Ghana’s sitting president also subtly endorsed threats by three National Democratic Congress (NDC) thugs to kill judges of the superior courts.
This follows President John Dramani Mahama’s release of Salifu Maase, Godwin Ako Gunn and Alistair Nelson, who were thrown into prison three weeks ago, when they were found guilty of contempt of court.
The NDC foot soldiers, now christened the ‘Montie 3’, while on NDC propaganda platform, Accra-based Montie FM, threw caution to the wind and threatened to kill judges of the apex court if they did not dissociate themselves from the matter in which a former General Secretary of the People’s National Congress (PNC), Abu Ramadan and one Evans Nimako were challenging the Electoral Commission on the voters register to be used for this year’s polls.
For instance, Alistair Nelson made frightening statements such as: “Today you want to sit there and use your left hands to point at things to destroy this nation, we know your homes. Mugabe, the High Court judges, I can stand at one junction and tell you where all of them live, or most of the influential ones live.”
Even though the three, who claimed not to be afraid to go to prison expressed remorse and pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy, the Supreme Court panel, which was presided by Justice Sophia Akuffo, found them guilty of “scandalizing the court, defying and lowering the authority of the court and bringing the authority of the court into disrepute,” and subsequently referred them to the Nsawam Medium Security prison for four months.
Just yesterday, the President found wisdom in exercising his powers under Article 72 of the 1992 Constitution, after he was petitioned by top members of the umbrella family, including ministers of state, calling for their release.
A statement signed and copied to The Chronicle by the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, indicated that the President, had in consultation with the Council of State, ” remitted the remaining prison sentence imposed on three persons:
Salifu Maase (alias Mugabe), Alistair Nelson and Ako Gunn, who were sentenced to 4 months imprisonment and a fine of GHc10,000 each for contempt of court. The remission is effective 26th August 2016.”
According to the statement, President Mahama took the decision to remit the sentences on compassionate grounds, which was in tandem with “a petition submitted to him by the contemnors appealing to the President to exercise his prerogative of mercy even as they continue to express deep remorse and regret for the unacceptable statements they made against the Judiciary.”
After undermining the authority of the court, President Mahama, the statement stated, “takes this opportunity to remind all Ghanaians of the need to respect the institutions of State and exercise freedom of speech responsibly mindful of the need to preserve peace and national unity.
“The President reminds all concerned, especially persons working in the media or appearing on its platforms, to be circumspect and guard against the use of intemperate language which has the potential of causing unnecessary tension, especially in this election year.
“The President is hopeful that all will draw lessons from the events leading to the conviction of the three persons and bear in mind the consequences of injudicious utterances,” the release concluded.
By Pascal Kafu Abotsi