Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka says he is shocked at the responses of Supreme Court Judge nominee Justice Clemence Jackson Honyenuga when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointment Committee on Monday.
Appearing before the Committee, Justice Honyenuga explained that his recent remarks on President Akufo-Addo ahead of the 2020 elections were not necessarily to endorse the president but rather to wish him well.
Having come under intense criticism during the vetting, Justice Honyenuga apologised for the development, but Mubarak Muntaka insists the nominee’s comments were unconstitutional and that his defence completely saddens his heart.
“If he will tell the committee that he didn’t pay attention to the details of his statement then it goes to the very foundation of justice. It is very worrying. I almost collapsed in my chair. I don’t know if he was truly hearing himself. What he meant was that for the sake of development in his area, he may compromise himself on the bench. All those things send very worrying signals for all of us. I am really sad because I have had the privilege of vetting all the judges at the supreme court and frankly speaking what happened today at the vetting is not common. I can’t really recollect that the committee got divided because of a nominee of the supreme court. I am forced to say that he put us in a very difficult situation.”
During the vetting, the Minority walked out of the public hearing after the Chairman of the Appointments Committee disallowed a question from North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
Mr. Ablakwa was demanding the reason behind the nominee’s words of praise to the President since the constitution bars chiefs from engaging in politics but Joseph Osei Owusu, Chairman of the Vetting and Appointments Committee, prevented Justice Honyenuga from answering the question.
The turn of events Mubarak Muntaka said, did not augur well for his side of the committee.
“Judges are not superhuman, they are fallible. All we wanted him to do was to admit but it was a difficult thing. But trying to defend and run away from the fact, I don’t want to believe his handling of answers to the committee. Between man and God, I am fasting as a Muslim, when I was leaving home this morning, I knew we were coming to do our work but I didn’t know I was going to to be this sad because the nominee had forced to push at a corner that made us sad despite doing our work.”