Opinions Fri, 12 May 2017

Akuffo triumvirate and justice for the people

It is reported that the president of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appointed Justice Sophia Akuffo for a consideration as the incoming Chief Justice (CJ).

“President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has settled on Justice Sophia Akuffo as the new Chief Justice of Ghana, Starrfmonline.com can confirm. An official announcement is expected today after consultation with the Council of State and approval by Parliament” (Source: starfmonline.com May 12, 2017). Let me pretend to be writing an Elizabethan romantic sonnet of fascinating rhyme to a jilted lover.

An ace attorney, Ace Annan Ankomah of apolitical organization fame: Occupy Ghana, educated me on the king’s justice during Joy FM Newsfile program on the remission of three contemnors.

The king’s justice refers to the royal executioner of the iron fisted monarch. The main task of the executioner is to kill anyone sentence to death by the order of seven kingdoms or small council (Wikipedia, July 5, 2016). Is justice in Ghana for the king (the president) or for the people? If it is for the people then can the son of Madam Adjoa Abene from Kumawu Bodomase be treated fairly when someone from Akropong Akuapem manhandles him? Can justice be assured if the Akrokong Akuapem “man-handler” relates to Madam Gloria Akufo; Justice minister, Justice Sophia Akufo; CJ, and the President Akufo-Addo? Can we smell conflict of interest (maintaining social trust and the difference between breaching that trust and temptation to breach that trust) in the Ghanaian justice system?

Romanian-born American Jewish writer, Elie Wiesel stated that “there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” I think protesting against injustice is like embarking on a snipe hunt especially when our maker himself could declare: “Jacob I loved, Esau I hated” (Malachi 1:2-3). The nature of political cleavage in Ghana calls for a second look at the justice system in Ghana. A constitutional amendment is the way to go. Let us cut down the powers of the president.

What prevents Ghana from having a Chief Justice (CJ) through promotion by virtue of seniority? In India for example, the appointment of chief justice is shrouded in a convention. The outgoing chief justice recommends name of the senior-most judge, by virtue of their dates of appointment to the Supreme Court for the appointment by the president of India. Although Prime Minister Indira Gandhi breached the above convention when she appointed Justice A. N Ray in 1973 thereby superseding three senior judges on the grounds of political expediency, their system is better than Ghana. Discerning readers can follow this link: https://www.quora.com/Who-appoints-the-Chief-Justice-of-India

If CJ is retiring, her next in command must be promoted? The excuse that Justice William Atuguba will be retiring soon is neither here nor there. The Indian convention on CJ appointment is not only worthy of emulation but equally essential to the appointment of some state institutions heads like Police Service, Bureau of National Investigation, Electoral Commission and others.

The social comparison theory claims that individuals dictate their own social and personal worth based on how they compare themselves with others. Human beings constantly make self-examination within different domains of life such as wealth, intelligence, success, experience and the likes. Man is prone to engage in unconscious hypocrisy by suppressing his envy and social comparison, even so, the true feelings could come in a subliminal way. Simply put, per the above theory, individuals feel good when they are divided into lower and higher status. This means that counter-production and sabotage cannot be overlooked when Judges’ juniors are promoted over them. Let us rid the judiciary of too much executive influence. The most trumpeted independence of the judiciary is Janus-faced and a mere window dressing. This is the fault of the constitution.

Leadership becomes best when it is transformational: a situation wherein a leader attempts to develop his followers into the peak of their potentials. The Akufos’ justice triumvirate: Madam Gloria Akufo, and Justice Sophia Akufo and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufu-Addo, is very intriguing. We must consider the Indian procedure in future. Congratulation, Justice Sophia Akufo! God Bless Our Home Land Ghana.

By Nana Yaw Osei, Minnesota, USA


Columnist: Nana Yaw Osei