The governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said “it is utterly shocking” for the National Communication Officer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), “who, over the years, have persistently insulted and disrespected President Akufo-Addo – someone whose legal and political achievements, the former may never be able to attain in his entire life – to lament and suggest that the spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent ought to show deference to seniors at the Bar, when, in actual fact, there hasn’t been any act of disrespect on the part of the 2nd Respondent’s team toward the Petitioner’s lawyers or spokespersons”.
The NPP’s response was contained in a statement signed by its Director of Communication, Mr Yaw Buaben Asamoa.
Mr Gyamfi, also a lawyer and one of the spokespersons of former President John Mahama’s legal team in the ongoing election petition at the Supreme Court, complained to journalists in a post-trial address on Thursday, 18 February 2021 that some of the out-of-court commentaries of fellow lawyers Kojo Oppong Nkrumah and Henry Nana Boakye (Nana B), who are part of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s legal team, against Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, the lead counsel for the petitioner, have been “disrespectful”.
“The disrespect from the spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent toward the lawyer for the petitioner in the course of these proceedings for us is very unacceptable”, Mr Sammy Gyamfi said.
“You hear them stand here and describe things that counsel for the petitioner has said as English and grammar: ‘Lawyer Tsatsu Tsikata was just speaking English and not law’,” he said.
“You do not do that, we are not trained to say things like that about our seniors at the bar. All these people are juniors by far to the people they are trying to ridicule. When we [NDC] come and stand here, we do not ridicule the likes of senior Akoto Ampaw and Justine Amenuvor; we all see how they struggle on their feet, yet we do not come here to ridicule or mock anybody”, noted.
“I mean, why do you come and stand here and talk down on somebody that you may never be able to even come close to what they have attained or achieved in life. I am not sure that even President Akufo-Addo will disrespect lawyer Tsatu Tsikata.”
Mr Gyamfi’s comments dovetailed into a similar concern raised by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in a press statement on Thursday, in which the party said Information Minister-designate Oppong Nkrumah must stop inciting the Supreme Court against former Deputy Attorney General Dr Domini Ayine.
The statement, signed by Communication Director Kakra Essamuah took issue with what it describes as the constant attacks unleashed on the lawyers of the former President by the legal spokespersons of the second respondent, President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The NDC singled out Mr Oppong Nkrumah and his fellow lawyer, Mr Henry Boakye, as the main culprits.
Read the NDC’s full statement below:
NDC STATEMENT ON ATTEMPTS BY KOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH AND HENRY NANA BOAKYE TO INCITE THE SUPREME COURT AGAINST NDC LAWYERS.
In the course of the hearing of the presidential election petition initiated by HE John Dramani Mahama in the Supreme Court, both the NDC and the NPP have sets of lawyers who meet the media immediately after each sitting to publicise their view of what has taken place in court.
It is a process from which the good people of Ghana have come to appreciate the respective positions of the parties litigating in the court.
Unfortunately, in recent times, the NPP team, led by Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has been using the podium offered by the media, to attack counsel representing HE John Mahama in the case, and even going further to incite the court against the former Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Dr. Dominic Ayine.
In addition, many NPP legal commentators in the media, appear to take inordinate delight in belittling and heaping insults on counsel for HE John Mahama and the NDC.
These attacks are characterised by constantly offering misleading comments about our lawyers and the case in court.
We consider this persistent conduct of Hon. Oppong Nkrumah and Henry Nana Boakye and their surrogates as unbecoming of professional colleagues, who have sworn to protect the ethics of their respected profession over and above partisan considerations.
The Supreme Court exists to do justice fairly and squarely to all citizens irrespective of political colours, and to attempt to incite the court against our noble lawyers, is to debase the court’s role and duty.
We, accordingly, condemn, in no uncertain terms, this unfortunate conduct of the NPP to demonise our counsel before the Supreme Court.
The truth shall stand.
The truth shall prevail.
LONG LIVE THE NDC.
ISSUED IN ACCRA THIS 18TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2021
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS
However, the NPP, in its response, said the “claim that Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah Esq. and Henry Nana Boakye Esq. seek to incite the SC against Dr Dominic Ayine is a blatant falsehood that must be rejected by Ghanaians”.
The party added: “The suggestion that the lawyers and spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent have been attacking, insulting and belittling the lead counsel of the petitioner is a plain falsehood, mischievously crafted to solicit public sympathy for the legal team of the Petitioner to conceal their poor performance, evident from the dismissals almost every major motion/application they have filed has suffered thus far”.
Read the NPP’s response in full below:
19th February, 2021
RE: ATTEMPTS BY KOJO OPPONG-NKRUMAH AND HENRY NANA BOAKYE TO INCITE THE SUPREME COURT AGAINST NDC LAWYERS
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken notice of a press release from the NDC that seeks to create the false impression that the Supreme Court is being “INCITED” to cite Dr. Dominic Ayine for contempt and also the lead counsel of the petitioner has been subjected to attacks by Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah Esq. and Henry Nana Boakye Esq.
The NPP takes strong exception to the plain lies therein and without a shred of equivocation, state:
1. It is an affront to the apex court of the land for the NDC to suggest that the venerable, experienced and learned Justices of the Supreme Court (SC) who, over time, have demonstrated to be independent and objective, are amenable to “INCITEMENT” by spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent.
2. The claim that Hon. Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah Esq. and Henry Nana Boakye Esq. seek to incite the SC against Dr Dominic Ayine is a blatant falsehood that must be rejected by Ghanaians.
3. The unfortunate comments from Dr Dominic Ayine that: “for the Supreme Court to reduce the Petition into a single-issue petition is rather unfortunate and smacks of a predetermined agenda to rule against the ‘etitioner in this matter…we think that the court by this decision has not done the people of this country a great service. In the sense that Ghanaians are interested in knowing the truth…the Justices, today, have not given us a reason to believe that they want the people of this country to know the truth about what happened”, were voluntarily uttered by Dr. Ayine and he is solely responsible for its consequences.
4. Dr Ayine has, in the past, been warned by the court for his conduct aimed at disparaging the Supreme Court.
5. The suggestion that the lawyers and spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent have been attacking, insulting and belittling the lead counsel of the petitioner is a plain falsehood, mischievously crafted to solicit public sympathy for the legal team of the Petitioner to conceal their poor performance, evident from the dismissals almost every major motion/application they have filed has suffered thus far.
6. The regrettable attitude of the lead counsel of the petitioner toward the bench has been a matter of public outrage and it is not correct to suggest that it is the lawyers or spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent that have made a case out of it.
7. It is utterly shocking for the National Communications Officer of the NDC, who, over the years, have persistently insulted and disrespected President Akufo-Addo – someone whose legal and political achievements, the former may never be able to attain in his entire life – to lament and suggest that the spokespersons of the 2nd Respondent ought to show deference to seniors at the Bar, when, in actual fact, there hasn’t been any act of disrespect on the part of the 2nd Respondent’s team toward the Petitioner’s lawyers or spokespersons.
8. We encourage the NDC team to focus on explaining to their supporters why the statistics they earlier claimed were in their favour have been abandoned in court.
9. We also admonish them to desist from misinforming the public on developments in court and also refrain from their penchant to create a false impression that the court is biased against them.
10. The Spokespersons for the 2nd Respondent’s legal team will remain forthright and continuously inform the public on the truth about developments in court and not hesitate to respond adequately to the NDC propaganda.
Yaw Buaben Asamoa, Esq.
(Director of Communications, NPP)