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The Detrimental Impact of Politicizing Sensitive National Matters in the Light of Ghanaian Law

 

Nana Kweku Ofori Atta, Security Consultant

 

In recent years, there has been a worrying trend of political parties using their platforms to politicize sensitive national matters, especially those currently before the courts. This practice, often seen on radio and television shows where party representatives serve as panelists, undermines the integrity of our judicial system and hampers the effective functioning of governmental institutions.

 

Sensitive national matters, particularly those pending in court, should be regarded as high-profile cases requiring utmost respect and discretion. Political parties, in their quest for public support, often exploit these issues, turning them into fodder for political debates and sensationalism. This not only compromises the fair trial of these cases but also erodes public trust in the judicial system.

 

One of the core principles of any democratic society, including Ghana, is the separation of powers, which ensures that the executive, legislative, and judicial branches operate independently. This principle is crucial for maintaining checks and balances within the government. When political parties interfere in judicial matters through public discourse, they blur the lines between these branches, leading to a perception of bias and interference in judicial processes.

 

Moreover, politicizing alleged court cases undermines the rule of law. The judiciary must be allowed to operate without external pressures or influence. Article 125 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana states that justice emanates from the people but shall be administered in the name of the Republic by the judiciary which shall be independent and subject only to the Constitution. When political parties publicly discuss ongoing alleged cases, they exert undue pressure on the judiciary, potentially influencing the outcome. This not only jeopardizes the fairness of the trial but also threatens the independence of the judiciary, a cornerstone of democratic governance.

 

To mitigate this issue, it is absolutely important that political parties refrain from discussing sensitive national matters that are sub judice on public platforms. Instead, they should focus on constructive debates that do not infringe on the autonomy of the judiciary. Political shows and party communicators must exercise restraint and prioritize national interest over partisan gain.

 

Furthermore, the judiciary should take a firmer stance against such interference. The offense of contempt of court exists to protect the integrity of judicial proceedings from external influence. According to Section 207 of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), anyone who disrespects or scandalizes the court can be held in contempt. It is high time the judicial system actively invokes this offense against those who attempt to interfere in cases before the courts through public commentary. By doing so, it can deter political parties from turning judicial matters into political spectacles.

 

In conclusion, the politicization of sensitive national matters, especially those before the courts, is a detrimental practice that undermines the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. Political parties must exercise restraint and respect the sanctity of judicial proceedings. Simultaneously, the judiciary should enforce contempt laws more rigorously to preserve its integrity and independence. By collectively upholding these principles, we can ensure that our governmental institutions function effectively and maintain public trust, in accordance with Ghanaian law.

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