Former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo did not understand the very issue he picketed about, President Nana Akufo-Addo’s cousin, Mr Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, has said concerning the ex-CJ’s description of the government as “disrespectful” and “wicked” when she joined her colleague pensioners to march in front of the finance ministry in protest to the inclusion of pension funds in the ongoing debt restructuring programme.
Justice Akuffo said on Friday, 10 February 2023 that the government must show respect to the elderly rather than be wicked toward them by including their pension funds in the domestic debt exchange programme.
Speaking to journalists among the picketing pensioners, the former Chief Justice said: “We have had our ups and downs. A lot of us were from generations where we were encouraged to save for tomorrow and all that”.
“We have been through times where all your savings become nonsense because of some government policies, then over the years, bit by bit, people have become more confident in the economy and investments”.
Quite a number of people here today, when they retired last two years, put everything into government bonds; it is a contract and, now, all of a sudden, you virtually want to force them to agree with you that the repayment of the yield of their investment should be as you dictate it. Why?” she asked.
“Why are we in the mess? Nobody has fully explained to us”.
“Yes, we took loans, what was it used for? And where is the accountability? Exactly what was it used for? You are not telling us about how you are going to be able to make things better but just that, ‘help me and I help you’. No, you help yourself first, let me see if you are doing something serious because we have seen these sorts of things too many times”, she noted.
“I am over 70 years now. I am no longer government-employed, my mouth has been ungagged, and I am talking, and I am saying that we have failed, and it is important that the elderly should be respected”.
I find this wicked, I find it disrespectful, I find it unlawful, I find it totally wrong.”
Mr Otchere-Darko, however, said in a series of tweets on Sunday, 12 February 2023: “For a former CJ to take up a noble cause such as she did but at such late hour when all was done and for all that publicity, she owed it to herself and her social standing to have understood the issues far better than what she exhibited last Friday. She is bigger than that”.
Read Mr Otchere-Darko’s tweets below:
(1) As an individual bondholder myself I wish to join the others in thank ling those like Senyo Hosi, Gayheart Mensah and co, who volunteered to lead the advocacy resulting in a far better offer for individual bondholders (particularly pensioners) than the original offer. Ayekoo!
2) While I have sympathies for those picketing, I think we should be bold enough to ask them what really is the purpose? Why picket over an offer which you have the liberty not to accept? You are asking to be exempted but from an improved offer programme which is voluntary!
(3) The former Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, may mean well but she erred big time in her basic appreciation of the issues. Rather than asking the Govt for exemption at this late hour, why did she simply not ‘exempt’ herself from exchanging her original bond for the new one!
4) Why picket over something you don’t like (the improved offer) when you have the right not to sign up? Sorry, but I struggle to get her emotional outburst over exemption! I hope she won’t volunteer to picket tomorrow and on the same issues when the time to sign up has expired.
5) I was among those who pleaded for the exemption of pensioners. But, the Govt had to balance all that with the need to protect the economy for the 33m population and settled on the 15% yield maturing in 5yrs instead of 15, and that the individual was FREE not to participate.
6) For a former CJ to take up a noble cause such as she did but at such late hour when all was done and for all that publicity, she owed it to herself and her social standing to have understood the issues far better than what she exhibited last Friday. She is bigger than that.