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Sophia Akuffo explains ‘my mouth has been ungagged’ comment



Retired Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, has explained a recent comment that suggested that she was free to express her views insofar as she is no longer the head of Ghana’s judicial arm of government.

She made the now famous ‘my mouth has been ungagged’ comment a week ago (February 10) while speaking with GhanaWeb at the forecourt of the Ministry of Finance in Accra.

Mrs. Akuffo had joined picketing pensioner bondholders protesting inclusion in government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP).

In an interview this week (February 15) on Joy News’ Upfront programme, she explained what she meant by “ungagged” stressing that it had to do with her role as a judge of the Superior Courts.

“Ungagged in the sense that when I was in government service as a judge, you don’t go shooting your mouth off about anything, because you don’t know what is going to be in the docket before you.

“And when you are a judge in the final court, you should not shoot your mouth off and be unguarded so that you would have to recuse yourself on every other case. You become a waste.

“So, you keep to your corner, you don’t let yourself be heard too much on national and topical issues that have a potential of landing before the courts,” he added.

What Sophia Akuffo said:

“There are quite a number of people here today, who retired last year, last two years. When they retired, they put everything into government bonds and now all of a sudden, you virtually want to, at gunpoint, force them to agree with you that the repayment of their investment or yields of their investments should be as you dictate it. Why?

“Why are we in the mess we are in, nobody has fully explained it to us, yes debts, we took debts, what was it used for? Where is the accountability? You are not telling us about how you are going to make things better but just ‘help me and I’ll help you’ no, you help yourself first.

“Let me see you doing something serious because we’ve seen these sorts of things for a very long time. I’m over 70 now, and I’m no longer a government employee. My mouth has been ungagged and I’m talking and I’m saying what I feel and it is important that, the elderly in this nation,” she explained.

She became the first CJ to be appointed by president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2017, she retired in 2019.

She stated that while she is not going to be affected by the government’s DDEP, she finds it wicked for the government to sacrifice the profits of retirees – people who have sacrificed for Ghana, just so that it is able to solve its own problems in managing the economy.

“This is just by God’s grace that I’m not included and it’s very heart-breaking to see people of, particularly, this age group – some are a bit older than me, some are somewhat a bit younger than me, but these are all people who have worked, worked very hard.

“They could have left the country when others were leaving, they left, they stayed, they worked for the nation and we’ve had our ups and downs and everything but bit by bit.

“A lot of us are from the generation where you were encouraged to save for tomorrow. We’ve been through times when all your savings become nonsense because of some government policy. Then over the years, bit by bit, people have become more confident in the economy, in investments and all that,” she added.




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