Accra – Ghana’s President John Mahama has pardoned a radio presenter and two panellists jailed after threatening to kill judges who had ordered the removal of names from the voters’ register ahead of December elections.
Communication Minister Edward Boamah said in a statement released on Monday that the presidential pardons were granted for compassionate reasons.
“The decision of his excellency the president to remit their sentences on compassionate grounds follows a petition submitted to him by the commentators appealing to the president to exercise his prerogative of mercy,” Boamah said.
In July the Supreme Court of Ghana had ordered the electoral commission to remove anyone who applied to vote using a health insurance card, ruling that it was not proof of identity for voting purposes.
The opposition had voiced concerns that the health cards could open the door to fraud since cardholders do not have to be Ghana citizens.
Following the court ruling over 56 000 names were deleted from the electoral register.
Salifu “Mugabe” Maase, a presentor at Accra-based station Montie FM, and two pro-government panellists were convicted of contempt after threatening on air not to accept the court’s ruling on the electoral register and calling for the judges to be killed.
They were sentenced to four months in jail and fined 10 000 cedis ($2 500).
Maase is known in Ghana for provocative comments on his show, which are invariably supportive of the ruling party.
Ghana is set for presidential and parliamentary polls on December 7 with Mahama’s ruling National Democratic Congress seeking a second, five-year term against the New Patriotic Party’s Nana Akufo-Addo.