The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has strongly condemned the alleged harassment and victimization of His Royal Majesty, Osagyefo Oseadeeyo Agyeman Badu II, the Paramount Chief of the Dormaa Traditional Area, by the Akufo-Addo led government and the Judicial Council.
According to reliable information received by the NDC, the revered chief, who also serves as a Justice of the High Court in Ghana, was brought before a committee constituted by the Judicial Council, chaired by Chief Justice Gertrude Araba Sackey Torkonoo, over comments he made in his capacity as a traditional ruler.
The Dormaahene had made a heartfelt appeal during an event organized by the John Evans Atta Mills Heritage in Sunyani, requesting the country to consider amending the existing legal regime on the ineligibility of dual citizens to be elected as Members of Parliament—a matter of public interest that is currently under parliamentary review.
The chief had appealed to the Attorney-General to consider entering a nolle prosequi in the case of the re-elected Member of Parliament for Assin North, Hon. James Gyakye Quayson, who was facing criminal prosecution. The Dormaahene’s comments were perceived to be harmless and non-prejudicial to any pending case, as they pertained to the exercise of discretion by the Attorney General and not the Court.
The NDC believes that the attempt by the Judicial Council to victimize the Dormaahene over his statements is unacceptable and likely influenced by the ruling Akufo-Addo government’s direction. The party views this action as part of a series of coordinated attacks against the chief, following the expression of his views.
Notable figures within the New Patriotic Party, including the Minister for Trade and Industry, K.T Hammond, the Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, and a leading Member of the General Legal Council, Sam Okudzeto, had previously made threatening and insulting remarks against the Dormaahene in response to his comments.
The NDC highlights that, as paramount chief and custodian of culture and development, the Dormaahene has the right to speak on matters of public interest and call on duty bearers to act in ways that foster societal cohesion and progress.
The party emphasizes that the actions of the Chief Justice and the Judicial Council constitute an attack on the revered Chieftaincy institution and can erode public confidence in the judiciary. The NDC urges the Judicial Council not to allow itself to be perceived as an institution that bows to the ruling NPP’s wishes.
While recognizing the Judiciary’s importance, the NDC emphasizes that it must respect citizens’ constitutional right to free speech and not punish chiefs for voicing their concerns on issues of public interest.
The NDC calls on the Judicial Council to reconsider its approach towards the Dormaahene and avoid further actions that may lead to public protests against perceived judicial tyranny.