Many people are calling for John Mahama to free the ‘Montie 3’ by invoking his powers as permitted by the 1992 constitution. In their judgement, the 4 months custodial sentence is too harsh hence the petition. They believe the President, who is not a trained lawyer, is a better person to determine a more appropriate punishment (ie act as a judge) than a panel of 5 Supreme Court Justices.
It is apparent to many discerning Ghanaians that the ‘montie 3’ were doing the bidding of the ruling party. NDC was the prime beneficiary of their ‘evil’ deeds. As result, they believe it is necessary to ‘stand by and with’ them.
It has been reported that the petition has already received over 100,000 signatures. So can/should Mahama ignore the call?
The lawyer of the President, Tony Lithur, as well as many other prominent Ghanaians have advised Mahama not to heed to the call to free the ‘Montie 3’. The reason is simple – such a decision will undermine the judiciary. Already, some lawyers are questioning the powers of the President to free people convicted of criminal contempt.
In view of the foregoing, if the President alters the sentence as issued by the Supreme Court, it is very likely that someone will challenge the action at the same court (ie Supreme Court).
Imagine this scenario:
President Mahama commutes the 4 months sentence to 2 months.
Someone then takes the issue to the Supreme Court for interpretation as to the legality or otherwise of the action of the President.
The Supreme Court then rules that per their interpretation of the constitution, the President could not and should not have commuted the sentence of the convicts. Consequently, the Montie 3 should be put back in jail.
Is the above scenario possible? Yes of course! What would be the effect? Obviously that would result in a constitutional crisis.
In the light of the foregoing, should John Mahama free the montie 3? He may have the power but as the good book says, “all things may be permissible but not all things are expedient”. So NO! NO! NO!
BUT WILL he FREE them?
If he loved Ghana and wanted to set a good precedence for future Presidents, he would not.
But if he loves his party supporters and power more than protecting Ghana from avoidable chaos, he will free them.
Unfortunately, John Mahama will definitely do what will please his political party and not what will be in the best interest of Ghana. Guaranteed!! He will do it and that makes me sad!!!
Author: Kwabena Boateng
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