The action by the Chief Justice, in the view of the party, was inimical to free speech.
NDC demands withdrawal of disciplinary petition against Ayine
The opposition NDC has asked Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah to immediately withdraw his disciplinary complaint against former Deputy Attorney General Dr Dominic Ayine.
“Even as the action taken against Dr Ayine is unjustified, it is but a symptom of a larger problem. It is no coincidence that virtually all the lawyers who have been reported to the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Counsel by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, in recent times are aligned to the NDC,” he lamented.
At a press briefing in Accra, Mr Nketiah expressed worry as he listed other NDC lawyers being hauled before the Disciplinary Committee, including Abraham Amaliba, David Annan, and Rockson-Nelson Etse Dafeamekpor.
The General Secretary of the NDC said this action was part of a grand agenda by the Chief Justice to intimidate, cower, and muzzle all dissenting voices, particularly those in the NDC.
“What is the Chief Justice’s personal interest in the punishment of NDC affiliated lawyers that he initiates unwarranted actions against them?” he quizzed.
He added, “We, therefore, join well-meaning Ghanaians to demand that the Chief Justice withdraws his petition against Dr Ayine forthwith.”
Mr Asiedu Nketia explained that the petition threatened justice and constitutional democracy and must therefore not be accepted by any Ghanaian.
As such, he said, “We further serve notice that as a political party, we are keenly following events and shall resist judicial tyranny with all our might.”
Why Dr Ayine faces disciplinary action
Justice Anin-Yeboah, on June 3, 2021, petitioned the General Legal Council to investigate the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga East over comments he made during a panel discussion.
It was a Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) roundtable discussion on ‘Presidential Election Petitions and their Impact on Africa’s Democracy,’ held on May 5, 2021.
During the discussion, Dr Ayine, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolga East, questioned the independence of the Judiciary due to the manner the Supreme Court adjudicated the 2020 election petition.
He noted that the failure of the Supreme Court to apply the rules of procedure and consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioner’s applications or reliefs were questionable.
However, these comments were not received well by the Chief Justice, who then dragged the lawyer before the General Legal Council for investigation, describing his comments as “disparaging and totally unacceptable.”
Earlier, the Minority Caucus in parliament had also kicked against the petition against the Bolga East legislature, describing it as an attack on free speech.
The caucus said the attempt by the Chief Justice was a way to bring back a silence of culture on dissenting views.
“This invitation is seen to be an attack on freedom of expression and deepens the growing concern about the culture of silence, which is gradually lingering its ugly head in our democratic dispensation,” the caucus said in a statement.