This week, National Security Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah told judges that when justice delivery is seen to be ineffective or tainted, the security of the State is in serious danger.
“If the interpretation of the law is so much tilted in our favour [he means the NPP government?] all the time, people will start accusing the judiciary and will not have the confidence that they need.”
What an unfortunate and embarrassing exhortation. The judiciary is a human institution and it is public knowledge a few unworthy individuals find themselves on the Bench and give the noble institution a bad name.
Imagine how judges in that national security strategy policy sensitisation meeting felt. I mean those who keep to their oath of fidelity to the law without fear or favour, ill-will or affection, what was their unexpressed reaction to such a call?
I get attacked by the unprincipled partisans for defending judges, even though I am not unwise to do that blindly.
But why won’t the minister fear that our collective security is compromised because a family dispute over a small land took forty years to resolve, and Chief Justice Georgina Wood felt compelled to describe that as “a parody of justice”. Don’t tell me that is an exception. It is as indefensible as it is a blight on the system.
Sometimes, it is not exactly inaccurate the statement that the law is logic or common sense. By our Constitution, justice emanates from the people and it is to be administered on their behalf by judges.
But there have been judgments that did not only upset ordinary people for their obvious perverseness and poverty of reasoning undergirding them but even those trained in the law got equally appalled at the manifest injustice and illogic in the decisions.
They say bad news spreads, and citizens are left with the perceptions the minister complains about to justify resorting to conduct that endangers our peace instead of recourse to the courts to ventilate their grievances.
This week, Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare wrote criticising the judgment declaring the Assin North seat vacant, and many share his view that the decision causing fights in Parliament is irrational.
He said the case against the MP had nothing to do with him being a dual citizen because he is not.
He argues that the MP who filed to renounce his Canadian citizenship a whole year before contesting the election had no power over when a certificate of renunciation would be issued to him.
In fact, when the issue came up, the EC assessed and took the firm view that he could contest, and he got lucky his application was granted in November 2020.
He argues that by the time he was elected and sworn in, he had given up his Canadian citizenship and therefore satisfied article 94(2)(a) of the Constitution that requires that “a person shall not be qualified to be a member of Parliament if he owes allegiance to a country other than Ghana” if the provision had anything to do with dual citizenship at all.
He refers to section 20(d) of the Representation of the People Law, 1992 (PNDCL 284) to further argue that to cancel the results of an election it must be proved “that the candidate was at the time of his election a person not qualified or a person disqualified for election.”
Again, the Supreme Court had held in the Dr Zanetor Rawlings case that the election being referred to is not party primaries but State-run elections.
Prof. Asare criticises the Cape Coast High Court judge for holding that James Gyakye Quayson owed allegiance to another country other than Ghana, and asks if it will make sense to hold the view that the beleaguered MP owes allegiance to Canada even if his renunciation application was ignored by that country and he had returned their passport and relocated to his constituency.
What if Canada passed a law that it no longer allows renunciation of citizenship? He calls it the political savagery of the MP.
If the system works, why should the assessment and decision of the independent State entity not suffice? After all, it is the body with expertise in the business of elections and must have the capacity and the competence to examine and pass nominations as being compliant with the law.
May he overcome the procedural obstacles in the appeals he has mounted so that we can benefit from the wisdom of three, five or more judges to settle this matter to stop the poison it spreads against the judiciary on account of the decision of a sole judge.
Wednesday, I was in the Circuit Court in Adenta. An accused person got into the dock and complained bitterly that he was being starved in police cells. The judge had to give out money for his feeding until the next court date.
I asked the investigator why that was so. He told me that, like many of his colleagues, he does that from his own private pocket. So, the reality is that suspects under his watch will starve if he doesn’t have money to buy food for them?
Dear minister, the threat to national security is real not only in an inefficient justice delivery or criminal justice system, but in many sectors, and who is supervising anything for being paid each month without fail?
MPs who enjoy long periods of vacation can afford to absent themselves from work without permission for months and without any consequences unless when we have a hung Parliament and a political party’s interest is adversely affected.
The poorly paid civil servant who doesn’t get ‘free money’ for a V-8, free fuel, or fat allowances for doing the job for which they are employed to do or ex-gratia may get punished or sacked for staying out of work for a day or two without permission.
If you are serious about fighting corruption, you should not find it okay to appoint MPs to serve on boards. And for now, with the exception of MP Ministers who must serve by virtue of statutory compliance, it is surprising why no MP refuses such appointment.
The President refuses to listen to the CDD on this clear conflict of interest situation.
Just how do these MPs oversight the institutions they serve as board members. 1st Thessalonians 5:22 is the summary of the law and the most effective approach to fighting corruption and it is this “[avoid every appearance of evil.”
Suffering citizens breaking their backs to survive the harsh realities of the broke economy and teaming jobless youth saw the President jet off to attend church in America a day after talking austerity, banning wasteful travels by state officials, and saddling them with a stealth E-Levy on their already taxed income.
They see the tweets by respected citizens like David Ofosu-Dorte and Bright Simons.
In Africa we prevent officials from experiencing the very problems we elect them to solve- they have outriders to avoid traffic, guards for their safety and to jump queues, coupons to escape the pain of buying petrol, etc. How do we expect them to solve problems they don’t face?— David Ofosu-Dorte (@ODORTE) April 8, 2022
Let’s the systems work to benefit all especially the poor and vulnerable and we would have succeeded in removing or dousing the flames igniting those threats to national security. That’s My Take.
Ghana seems to have exported its State-owned Enterprise gloom. Most folks don’t pay attention to Ghana International Bank, a Bank of Ghana subsidiary in London. From profit of ~$17m 6yrs ago to a loss of ~$16.5m today. And, oh, they tripled staff costs during the same period. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/gtCFz5DdIJ— Bright Simons (@BBSimons) April 6, 2022
Samson Lardy ANYENINI
April 9, 2022