NDC Calls for Chief Justice’s Resignation Over Controversial Judge Appointments

The National Communications Officer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Sammy Gyamfi, has called for the resignation of Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo, accusing her of acting in self-interest regarding the selection of judges for the Supreme Court.

Gyamfi criticized Torkornoo’s involvement, describing it as “self-seeking” and detrimental to the country’s interests. “What she has done is totally wrong, it was totally uncalled for, it is unconstitutional and I think she must eat humble pie, concede this fact, and make amends,” Gyamfi stated.

While Gyamfi acknowledged procedural flaws in Torkornoo’s actions, he expressed greater concern over her motives. “If the CJ was only making a proposal or a request to the president to increase the number of justices of the Supreme Court to ensure the speedy determination of matters pending before the court, then, the issue of procedural lapses could have sufficed,” he said. However, Gyamfi argued that Torkornoo went beyond making a request, by proposing specific justices, which he claimed indicated her personal agenda and preference.

“This CJ is not interested in having more justices on the Supreme Court but actually has her own preference of friends, allies, or people in the judiciary that she thinks should be appointed,” Gyamfi said, highlighting potential conflicts of interest.

He expressed concern over Torkornoo’s dual role as Chairperson of the Judicial Council, which advises the President on judicial appointments, suggesting that her recommendations were based on self-serving criteria rather than the country’s best interests. “That should tell you clearly, that the main motivation for the CJ is not what we are being told or for the speedy determination of matters before the Supreme Court but to have the preferences of this Chief Justice appointed onto the Supreme Court,” Gyamfi asserted.

The controversy began with a letter dated May 30, 2024, in which Torkornoo recommended the appointment of five justices to President Nana Akufo-Addo. The recommended judges were Justice Angelina Mensah Homiah, Justice Eric Kyei Baffour, Justice Edward Amoako Asante, Justice Cyra Pamela C.A. Koranteng, and Justice Afia Asare Botwe.

On July 4, the NDC accused the President and the CJ of colluding to protect current government officials from future accountability. The party alleged that the Judicial Council initially resisted the elevation of the five judges, only to be overridden by the CJ and the President.

Fifi Kwetey, NDC’s General Secretary, voiced concerns over the nominations, calling for a transparent and fair judicial appointment process. The party fears that these appointments could lead to potential bias within the judiciary.

In contrast, Majority Leader Alex Afenyo-Markin defended the Chief Justice’s proposal, insisting that increasing the number of Supreme Court judges to 20 is within legal boundaries and that Torkornoo had not violated any laws with her recommendation.

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