Founder of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Professor Kwame Karikari has advised President Mahama against heeding calls from party supporters to intervene in the jail sentence of Montie FM trio.
Speaking to the media, Prof. Karikari said that no serious democratic president would heed to such calls from a section of the electorate, especially at a time like this when the elections are imminent.
According to him, the President’s decision on the jail sentence of the Montie FM trio will largely influence his performance in the upcoming elections and for that reason, it will be “politically suicidal” for him to intervene in the case.
“There’s no serious president in a democracy that will cede to a call like that under our circumstances. It will be politically suicidal for the president to accede to the call of his party.”
Professor Karirkari warned Mahama never to allow the threats of his party supporters to make him bow to ordering the release of the contemnors. According to him, the punishment is meant to serve as a deterrent to other media personnel and such move will on the contrary, encourage others to indulge in similar infamous acts.
“If he does [release them], that he will be giving the orders to all the radio stations who will raise mayhem in this country. What he’ll be saying is that, the radio stations can do as they please, court or no court. They can bastardize the courts, incite violence, threaten people’s lives and even go ahead and get people to carry out the threats.”
The Montie FM case has so far raised unimaginable dusts among the populace. Most especially, supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) who seem to be greatly in love with the ‘Pampaso’ host, Mugabe have staged vibrant protests against his imprisonment, threatening to withhold their votes from the president should he refuse to order his release using his prerogative of mercy powers.
They had also held a candle-light vigil where they bemoaned the broadcasters’ fate, as well as issued a 24-hour ultimatum for the President to intervene in the situation or otherwise lose their support.
Meanwhile, a petition book was opened yesterday [Thursday], wherein lawyers of the trio intends to petition President Mahama to order the release of their clients – Alistair Nelson, Godwin Ako Gunn and Salifu Maase, aka Mugabe. But, there are fears that the President may not possess such powers as are being demanded of him by the people.
The Montie FM trio who are currently at Ghana’s major prison facility at Nsawam were on Wednesday, July 27 issued four-month jail sentence each by the Supreme Court after they were found guilty of contempt. This was after they had threatened on radio to ‘finish’ Supreme Court judges over their handling of the suit on the credibility of the voters’ register.
Reading the sentence, the presiding Judge Sophia Akuffo, said the two panelists willfully issued death threats on the judges. She also said they lowered the authority of the court by insisting they will not accept its judgement on the controversial matter of the voters’ register.