The Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Martey, has said those campaigning for the Montie trio to be freed are nation wreckers.
“A nation is an entity, a people ruled by law, so, if there are any people who are a lawless society then they are doomed. [In] a country like America, when you break the law, even if you are the President or a presidential candidate and they get you, you’ll go to jail. I hear some people are saying what the Judges did was not right. Look, threatening to kill a judge, it has happened before in Ghana, whoever has issues with the sentence of these three people are nation wreckers who must be condemned and not entertained,” Prof Martey said.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Prof Emmanuel Asante, has described as “unfortunate” pressure being piled on President John Mahama to grant the convicted Montie contemnors pardon.
The three, Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn, and Salifu Maase, aka ‘Mugabe’, were cited for contempt by the Supreme Court for scandalising and bringing the name of the bench into disrepute when they threatened to kill justices of the court during a discussion on political talk show Pampaso, hosted by Mugabe on Accra-based Montie FM. They were sentenced to a four- month jail term.
Following their sentencing, supporters of the governing National Democratic Congress, groups, friends and family of the trio have mounted pressure on Mr Mahama to grant them pardon.
As part of moves to secure presidential pardon for the three, a petition book to solicit one million signatures in support of freeing the convicts has been opened at Radio Gold. It has been signed by some Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
The Ga Traditional Council on Monday August 1, at a news conference, joined the fray. But speaking to Class News in his personal capacity rather than as Chairman of the National Peace Council, Rev. Prof Asante said the president should reject the numerous mercy pleas since yielding to such pressure could undermine the judicial arm of government.
“I think we should not interfere with what they [Justices] have done because once we do that we create a situation where we undermine one arm of government, because as soon as they come up with their judgment, somebody is going to appeal for an intervention, which will not augur well for this nation,” he stated.
“As far as I am concerned, it is unfortunate that we should come to this point where a Supreme Court comes up with decisions and some groups of people in the nation come up to say this or that. We must understand that they do not represent the entire nation.
It is the position and opinions of some sections and they are entitled to their opinions. My belief is that we should not interfere with what the Supreme Court judges have done.”
Meanwhile, the president of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Joseph Osei Bonsu, who also expressed his personal view on the matter, urged the president to uphold judicial independence by not succumbing to the pressure being brought to bear on him.
“I think we will set a very dangerous precedent. This is not the first time people have been sentenced and if groups and individuals are going to appeal to the president every time a sentence is given, then there will be chaos in the country.
So, I think we are setting a very bad precedent by this kind of pressure on the president because the Supreme Court has handed various sentences to many individuals in the past and I don’t see why in this case people are appealing to the president,” he noted.