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16.03.2006 General News

Adjaho Blasts Kufuor

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The deputy Minority Leader, Edward Doe Adjaho has taken issue with president Kufuor's comments on his legal suit against the Speaker of Parliament saying they are prejudicial to his case.

While swearing in two new Justices of the Supreme Court at the Castle on Wednesday, President Kufuor cited Doe Adjaho's writ and a petition by an Accra-based lawyer, Bright Akwetey alleging abuse of power against the Chief Justice.

The President said these legal interventions challenge the unique and sensitive positions held by the people involved.

He went further to say they could also threaten the country's young democracy and respect for the rule of law.

Reacting to the president's comments in an interview with Joy News, Mr. Adjaho argued that every citizen has a duty to protect the Constitution.

“ He was swearing in the Supreme Court Judges who will be the final arbiters in this matter and virtually telling them what he likes and doesn't like and its rather unfortunate.

But I must add quickly that I cannot speak for Mr Bright Akwetey, I can speak for myself. But putting the two cases together are absolutely different.

Mine is upholding the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana by virtue of article 106 Clause 14 and I think all Members of Parliament have taken an oath and indeed that should be the attitude of all responsible citizens of this country to defend, protect and preserve the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana,” he said.

The Avenor Ave MP filed a writ at an Accra High Court to restrain the Speaker from allowing further proceedings in Parliament on the Representation of the People Amendment Bill, which has now been passed into law.

He said dialogue could have been used in the resolution of such matters of national importance, as was the case in the NDC era.

In the absence of this therefore, the only option open to the minority is the court adding that the president should rather encourage people to uphold the Constitution.

“One would have expected that government will try and negotiate or have discussions with the various political parties and civil societies who have spoken against the bill and then get a common ground.

If that has been done and this discussion taken place, the problems and the brouhaha that we are having today with regards to the ROPAL will not be there.

But when you think that you can just go ahead and do it and others will not matter because you are in power is unfortunate. And I believe that the president should personally try, he may not have the time, but he has people assisting him in the administration of this country to try and open up dialogue on all these matters so that in future some of these things will be avoided,” he said.

Mr. Adjaho says he has held discussions with the Speaker and he understands that his lawsuit is not against his person.

Meanwhile, the press secretary to the president Kwabena Aygapong has explained that president Kufuor's comment was not intended to stifle public criticism of public office holders.

Briefing journalists at the castle on Thursday, Mr. Agyapong said the president only sought to draw attention to the fact that such actions could deflate confidence in public institutions.

“On the thrust of what president Kufuor was trying to say or put across, there has to be a reduction in cynicism. People are becoming unduly cynical of government institutions. We have the integrity of the police being called into question by certain sections of society.

The Judiciary is being called into question; Parliament is being called into question and the executive is also being called into question.

It is his belief that as Ghanaians we have to work for the strengthening of state institutions. State institutions are manned by human beings and of course there may be shortcomings and it is not the president's intention to stifle criticism, not at all,” he said.

Another issues that attracted comments from the castle briefing was the Front Page Story of the Independent Newspaper.

The story captioned Kufuor, Legon reject Yankah said the both the University community at Legon and President Kufuor had rejected the nomination of the Professor Kwesi Yankah by the University Council as a substantive Vice Chancellor.

But Mr. Agyapong told Journalists the publication was false.

“It must be placed on record that nothing is on the president's desk currently concerning the appointment of a vice chancellor for the university of Ghana and I want to strongly deny and debunk the assertion that Prof Yankah has been rejected by President Kufuor.

President Kufuor has the utmost respect for Prof Yankah who is currently chairman for the New Times Corporation board to which the president appointed him to,” he said.