BY: Mary Quartey
The Minority Caucus in Parliament has expressed their displeasure over the invitation originating from the office of the Judicial Secretary, requesting the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to investigate alleged statements made by Hon. Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, the NDC Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga East.
He was alleged to have made the Statements at a panel discussion hosted by a Civil Society Organization, Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), on the Theme; “Presidential Election Petitions and their Impact on Africa’s Democracy”.
The Chief Justice’s petition hence was said to be based on hearsay, as he says his attention was drawn to the statements allegedly made by Dr. Dominic Ayine during the panel discussion. The Minority Caucus thus finds this invitation to be in utter bad faith, which is meant to be an attack on free speech on Parliament, as an institution, and also an affront to democratic and academic freedom.
Again, the invitation is also 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. Addressing members of the parliamentary press corps on the matter on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, they emphasized that Dr. Ayine was speaking as a Member of Parliament, Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament, and not only as a Lawyer. Again, the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu who led the address further explained that Dr. Dominic Ayine also has a duty and responsibility as a Member of Parliament and the Chairman for the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament to speak on matters of public interest as he did at the forum of the Presidential Election Petition and its impact on Africa’s democracy.
“Why must the tangential fact that he is a professional lawyer deprive him of his right to free speech, first as a citizen of Ghana, secondly as a Member of Parliament and thirdly as a Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament?” He questioned.
“The Chief Justice’s position is an infringement of Dr. Ayine’s right to free speech on all scores and intended to render him ineffective as a representative of the constituency and as Chairman of the Subsidiary Legislation Committee of Parliament”. He stressed further.
However, they noted with regret that the Chief Justice is on record in recent times to have demonstrated his intolerance for dissenting views, particularly those emanating from Minority Members of Parliament. They, therefore, call on the Chief Justice to reconsider his request to the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council to investigate the alleged statements made by Hon. Dr. Dominc Ayine in the interest of peace, national cohesion and safeguarding our democracy.