President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Yaw Acheampong Boafo is insisting that the appointment of judges to the bench is based on merits.
According to him, appointments to the lower courts are advertised in the dailies.
Speaking at the 2023 Ghana Bar Conference in Cape Coast on Monday, Mr Acheampong Boafo explained that applicants are not asked to provide their political ideologies or affiliations for such appointments.
“It is instructive to state that same as the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court where nominations are made by three parties namely the government represented by the Attorney General, the judiciary, and the Bar, appointments to lower courts bench and high court are pursuant to advertisements in the dailies inviting persons qualified to apply,” he said.
“There is never a requirement that an applicant has to show his political affiliation,” he added.
The issue has become topical recently due to former President John Mahama’s allegation that President Akufo-Addo has packed the courts with NPP-inclined judges.
Mr Mahama speaking at the NDC Lawyers Conference in Akosombo on September 2, accused President Akufo-Addo of appointing members of his party to the bench to influence decisions in their favour.
He then charged NDC lawyers to prepare themselves to take up positions on the bench to balance out its composition.
“Our lawyers, some of you must be prepared to go onto the bench, I know that some of you have very lucrative legal practices you will not want to leave and go onto the bench. But you can see what the current President has done; he appointed the largest number of judges onto the bench. More than 80 towards hundred and counting.”
“He’s packed the court and we know that they’ve packed the court because they want to avoid accountability after they have left office.
“So, all manner of people who have been known to be partisan, to have been executives of their party who are in the legal profession have been leapfrogged onto the Superior courts and other places,” he said.
However, President Akufo-Addo rejected the allegation and described same as unfounded and should be disregarded.
The President said the comment by Mr. Mahama is very dangerous to the progress of the country and thus should not be made by someone of his stature.
Addressing the Ghana Bar Conference at the University of Cape Coast on Monday, September 11, President Akufo-Addo said this is the most brazen attack the Judiciary has faced in Ghana’s history.
He thus urged the public to call out the former president for such “reckless” comments that he says sought to jeopardize the Judiciary.
“I have gone into this matter in detail because of a new issue which has been introduced into our public discourse by no less a public figure than the fourth president of the fourth republic perennial NDC Presidential Candidate John Mahama who has told the world that I have packed the courts with so-called NPP judges and that one of the key purposes a putative NDC victory in 2024 will be to enable him to balance the courts with so-called NDC judges.”
“Not only are these concepts new in our public discourse but they are also extremely dangerous and represent the brazen attack on the independence of the judiciary by allegedly responsible politicians,” he said.