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Media, EC, courts... must be protected from elected autocrats – Asiedu Nketia

The General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Johnson Asiedu Nketia, is advocating for the protection of certain key institutions from control and abuse by politicians.

Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of NDC

Asiedu Nketia, popularly known as General Mosquito, said this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of a forum organized by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) on Friday, April 22.

According to him, some politicians, whom he referred to as elected autocrats, who see such vital institutions as limitations on their power if left independent, will do everything possible to compromise them in order to have a field day.

A report by 3news.com said he mentioned the Electoral Commission (EC), the courts, tax authorities, and the media as some of the institutions that power-hungry politicians would always want to capture and silence.

"The institutions we are talking about, the courts are very important, the media are very important, other civil society organizations, the Electoral Commission, the tax authorities, Parliament.

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"These are institutions that are calibrated in very democracy to regulate the use of power and check abuse of power but these are the very institutions when they fall into the hands of autocrats they begin capturing them, sort of compromising them, weakening them because the autocrats want to see those institutions as limitations on their power, or incumbrances that needs to be removed," General Mosquito said, as quoted by the news website.

In similar news, the Member of Parliament for the North Tongu constituency, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has instructed his lawyers to cite the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) for contempt of court over the e-levy implementation.

According to him, Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah’s declaration that his outfit would go ahead with the implementation although there is a pending injunction filed to halt its implementation amounts to disrespect to the judiciary and the rule of law.

The GRA boss is reported as saying that the implementation of the E-levy will still take effect on May 1, 2022 as planned and announced, despite the injunction suit.

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"I heard the GRA Commissioner and I have instructed my lawyers to cite him for contempt. He said he was going ahead with implementation of the E-levy. People must be careful, we are operating a constitutional democracy. All of us including the president are under the rule of law," Ablakwa said on Accra-based Citi FM’s Eyewitness News.

The Ranking Member of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee warned that the continuous disrespect for the rule of law by people in positions of authority is dangerous for the country’s shaky democracy.

"It is in the interest of those in power to make sure that they walk the narrow path of constitutional order. If they start setting such bad examples, practicing impunity and engaging in contempt of court, when things get out of hand, we cannot guarantee what will happen.

"Our constitution calls on us to rise up and defend the constitution. So, if you know there is an injunction and you decide that because you are commissioner or government official you will go ahead, I can also decide to mobilize people to stop you from violating the constitution. Let us send a clear message to these people who want to destroy our constitutional democracy. They don’t have monopoly over these unethical tactics."

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