Despite disagreeing with her reasoning in the Michael Ankomah-Nimfah v. James Gyakye Quayson & 2 Others case, the Minority in Parliament has given the green light for the approval of Madam Getrude Araba Esaaba Sackey Torkonoo as the Chief Justice of Ghana’s Supreme Court.
The minority group said though they disagree with her reasoning, other qualities qualify her to hold the high office of the Chief Justice.
The caucus noted that her Curriculum Vitae (CV) speaks volumes of the work she has done in the legal sector and hence would not withhold her approval. They also indicated that aside her work, a woman with such vast experiences should be given the opportunity to occupy such a position, hence their decision.
“We will not withhold our approval of the Chief Justice nominee by consensus. Her CV reveals a person of considerable experience, having served as a judge from the high Court to the Court of Appeal and ultimately to the Supreme Court.
“Women who have acquitted themselves should be given opportunities to occupy key national offices. Even as we disagree with her jurisprudence, we find her qualified to occupy the higher office of CJ of the Republic of Ghana,” Mr Mahama Ayariga, MP for Bawku Central indicated at a press conference in Parliament yesterday.
But despite this decision, the Minority did not miss the opportunity to let Ghanaians know why they disagree with Madam Torkonoo’s reasoning.
The caucus said that the Chief Justice nominee at her vetting indicated to the committee that she uses a Textualist approach in interpreting the constitution of Ghana, but that did not reflect in the case under contention.
Mr Ayariga indicated that the text in dispute was article 94 (2)(a), which states that “A person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana.”
He noted that the facts of the case shows that Mr Quayson at the time of being sworn in as an MP had successfully renounced allegiances to any other country and the only country he owed allegiance to was Ghana.
He said that based on the facts, if the CJ nominee was a Textualist, as she indicated, she would have based her decision on the words ‘qualified to be a Member of Parliament’ and would have arrived at a different reasoning.
“Fidelity to the constitution of Ghana would have dictated that controlling provision of the resolution of the dispute are the words ‘qualified to be a Member of Parliament.
“Disappointingly, a professed Textualist like our CJ nominee abandoned the text and chose to read into the text of the constitution, a replacement text “qualified to file nomination papers to context the elections as a Member of Parliament'”, Mr Ayariga said.
He said the CJ nominee succumbed to a floored precedent set by the Supreme Court in the Ex parte Zenator case.
Mr Ayariga, however, noted that despite the flawed reasoning, the embattled member, Mr James Gyakye Quayson, has already declared his interest to contest the Assin North seat again, which is an indication that he has put the issue behind him and has decided to move on and that is why the minority is also doing same.
He, however, implored the incoming CJ to restore the good name and dignity of the judiciary arm of government because several opinion polls point to the fact that the judiciary has lost its dignity.
“The image of the judiciary is not in a good shape; several opinion polls say that. We hope that Justice Getrude, as a lady CJ, will restore the dignity of the judiciary”, Mr Ayariga said.