The creeping threat of judicial tyranny against Ghanaian journalist is picking up momentum with the Chief Justice Anin Yeboah writing to online news portal Ghanaweb to query it on why it dared report on a petition written to him before he had the time to settle down to read the petition himself.
The Paramount Chief of Lolobi Traditional Area, Nana Akoto Masakyi III, and Adontenhene of Akpafu Traditional Area, Nana Tetteh-Attu IV on November 11, 2020, petitioned the Chief Justice over what they are calling ‘judicial frustration’.
In the petition, which was apparently intercepted by Ghanaweb, the chiefs complained that they have been seeking legal redress over “a gaffe” by the Justice Brobbey Commission to lump their communities into Oti Region and Buem constituency although they had made it clear that they did not want to be in Oti Region.
“A gaffe by the Commission lumped us into Oti Region and Buem Constituency respectively; although we the legitimate Chiefs of the two traditional areas, as well as the Kade (custodians of customs and traditions), Queenmothers, opinions leaders and the generality of the people made it abundantly clear that we did not want to be in Oti Region. In fact, we did NOT petition the President at all to begin with,” the petition read.
The chiefs say that since filing their case to protest their inclusion in Oti Region, “it appears the entire judicial system has become a black hole as far as our quest for justice and fair hearing is concerned,” and they, therefore, want the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, to impress on the Courts to give their cases a fair hearing and redeem Ghana’s judicial process from being compromised.
However, the move the Chief Justice would make is to aim a warning at the media organisation doing an “on-the-spot” reporting of a developing issue, to consult him first before doing any such story that mentions him because the publication caused insults to be hurled at him by random readers of the news story.
“His Lordship the Chief Justice has also noted that the said publication resulted in insults on his person by some readers of the said articles,” wrote Judicial Secretary, Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo on behalf of Justice Anin Yeboah in a complaint letter addressed to Ghanaweb today, November 18, 2020.
The letter to Ghanaweb warned that the independent online news portal should have waited for the Chief Justice to read the petition before the media organisation could publish their news.
“The Chief Justice travelled out of Accra to attend to official engagements including the Chief Justice’s forum in Sunyani and was therefore unable to attend to the petition immediately; a petition which had only been lodged at His Lordship’s secretariat a day before his departure,” the Judicial Secretary wrote in the rather bizarre letter to a media organisation which owes the head of judiciary no obligation to when public interest news issues must be published.
This incident is almost similar to a recent hounding of Whatsup News whose editor was arrested like a common criminal for publishing content from a press statement issued by the opposition National Democratic Congress.
The Editor, David Tamakloe was bundled up in handcuffs from Accra to New Edubiase in the Ashanti Region in the middle of the night to face trial for allegedly publishing “Fake News”.