Ghana Needs Bold, Selfless, Aggressive, Impartial Judiciary.

Wed, 8 Feb 2012 Source: Berko, George

Of Our Democracy and the Likes of Judge Lawrence L. Mensah: Ghana Needs Bold, Selfless, Aggressive, Impartial Judiciary.

In the midst of the current colossal Public discontent with the Government on Woyomegate, many are those who have faulted our Judiciary for its complacency or nonchalance in facilitating an incident of such potential monumental Financial Fraud against the Nation and her general Citizenry. Therefore, it comes as no small breath of fresh air and inspirational vector for hope, to discover someone like Judge Lawrence L. Mensah of Tamale with his recent bold Public aversion to the indiscriminate sale of Land to our National detriment.

The Judge is reported on Ghanaweb.com edition of February 2, 2012 to have sounded a caution on encroachment on our National Lands, during his address to a gathering on Regional Land Administration Project II. This is a most patriotic appeal, if not a warning. I am glad that, finally, I have come across a Judge who seems as Patriotic. Kudos, Judge! You surely seem like a member of our Judiciary who really has the Nation's and the common Citizenry's wellbeing at heart.

But is there anyway the Judge could even go further by taking on the Government itself and any other entity which has helped in anyway to illegally or unwisely given away or stolen our State Land?

Many people might have forgotten that in most of the instances of Government acquisition of Lands, some compensation was paid to the original Landowners with Taxpayers money. Even in its exercise of the exigent privilege of Imminent Domain, the Government simply couldn't take away People's Land without some compensation. This means the State didn't necessarily get the Land for free. But never have I learnt that any of these current waves of Government Land release, legally or illegally, has been accompanied by recouping of any cost to the Nation for acquiring those pieces of Land. Any reported payments for such transfer of State Land to individual entities could not establish the Payments adequately covered our Costs for acquiring the Land.

So, are we not simply wasting our money to give the Land away, or allowing it to be stolen without paying back, at least, what we paid for it? More depressing is the fact that such Land sales don’t seem to have been done with a background assessment as to how it would affect our National interest in the future. We must expect, then, that if the Government itself would release any such Land, it should ensure that the State, at least, recoups its original Cost (with some embedded interest worked on the mean Inflationary adjustment). Even if the Government does not want to sell any such Land at the prevailing Market Price, it ought to sell them at a Price that could match what we originally spent in acquiring that Land.

The only situations where I would deem acceptable for the Government to give away such Land are: 1). When there is an Act of God that has displaced certain Citizens who must be resettled in the vicinity of their original home and the State Land is the only available space for them.

2). When the Government would regard the uncharged Cost to the new owner as some necessary incentive to some Business entities, especially local Entrepreneurs that need the Land, hoping such Businesses would boost our Economy with their Products or Services and new Employments. Even in this case, a due diligence examination would have to be done to assess the Opportunity Cost in terms of our future needs.

What makes this pronouncement by the Judge so important is the fact that stream of Land releases in recent years can hardly be isolated from the soaring rate of Corruption in the Nation among our Political Elites and other forms of Authority, under the pretext of doing legitimate Business in pursuit of greater financial success as encouraged by our over-emphasized “Property-Owning” Democracy.

As I have mentioned elsewhere, on the Ghanaweb.com Forum, we must be very careful in how we manage our so-called "Property-Owning-Democracy". It might have been better, I believe, to see it as our "Property-Earning or -Creating" Democracy, instead. Because as things stand right now, all we notice is that People with connections and special access have been clamoring to take away from the State and the rest of us with impunity. The trend is obvious in that regard that such unscrupulous predatory individuals have been using the cover of Business to justify their gargantuan heist of State Resources, my apologies to the recently retired Attorney General, Mr. Amidu. We are witnessing an influx of inglorious, highly sophisticated resurrected “Kalabule”. I hate to raise the specter of June, 4th by the recurrent mentioning of the word “Kalabule”. But I think that is necessary to reflect on how serious the situation has gotten.

There is no moral or ethical justification to excuse this behavior of milking mother Ghana to death, even if legally a crime cannot be established to have been committed by its perpetrators. We seem to have entered a new phase of white color robbery in Ghana. The one-time ‘Kalabule’ has now metamorphosed, in fact, re-incarnated, into a hydra-headed monster of an Economic vice, permeating almost all spheres of our Economic endeavor where the hands of our leaders could reach. And it is being very much helped by our officially christened environment of “Property-Owning-Democracy”. Please, let no one be misled into thinking this is some anti-Capitalist bashing. It is in fact, far from it. But I can see how those who would rather keep the status quo and retain the advantage to easily rip us off slap anti-Capitalist labels on those of us who worry about their unrelenting dizzying Economic thimblerig.

One would assume that any true Democracy did not need that special emphasis on its qualification as being “Property-Owning”. Property owning is to any true believer in Democracy an integral part of that dispensation of Governance. So, that makes that emphasis an oxymoron, and needless unless it is meant to stress the torrential intensity of the wave of lawless, craze in snatching Wealth from us. No one should single out the NPP which outdoored the “Property-Owning” notion. Because even if it did, the NDC seems to fully taken over and upgraded it under Woyomization. It just seems to happen that the NDC’s upgrade lacked crucial plug-ins or drives, as is known in Techie-Lingo, to get the Program work almost flawlessly.

However, as hinted by Judge Mensah, these perpetrators of Economic and Financial robbery against our Country must be forewarned that average Ghanaians are getting better at ‘hacking’ into their trade, and would eventually succeed in exposing their misdeeds.

It is paradoxical that even in the near Communist period under Dr. Nkrumah’s first Republic, where a highly Socialistic Policy of “One-man, one-car” was pronounced, there was no Constitutional Provision that abolished our age-long, “progentorial” Right to own property, per se. I use the word “Progenitorial” to allude to the biologically imperative intuition for all to own something of our own, despite the existential need to rely on the Collective, sometimes. I have a friend who explained to me that the “One-man, one-car” Policy was ironically born out of growing corruption in the CPP Government of that era, as Nkrumah took advantage of the situation to stick in that Socialist constraint to, ostensibly, curtail the despicable illegal scramble for Wealth. The friend cited for buttressing his observation the fact that none in the Private Sector was restrained to own more than one car during that period. After all, many owned Vehicles that were used for Commercial Transportation Business.

Nevertheless, while that notion still remains arguable as to the justification of that Policy, I and many believe the Policy was a start on an attempt to steadily erode our bona fide freedom to own as much Property as we could, even if ethically appropriate. So, I settled to regard the Policy’s introduction as some convenient accidental gift to the Socialist agenda by the corrupt environment. Thank God the Policy did not survive!!

Having gone through all that, it doesn’t seem like we have learnt any lessons from that era, or the subsequent horrible experiences of the AFRC era when persistent ‘Kalabule’ plunged the Nation into a spate of intense inhuman treatment by the Soldiers of those considered as enemies of the Revolution. In spite of those unmentionable, sub-human atrocities that visited upon us in what some have termed as our crude and barbaric method of cleansing the Society of Economic evils, our leaders, today, still don’t seem to have gotten the message. They are the very one’s who have led the way, once more, on the path to our eventual Economic doom and decrepit Social standards, even in the instance of a further Providential reprieve with our newly discovered Oil Resources to harness and properly manage to attain a lasting Autarky.

But we shouldn’t keep prostrating before these Elites in total helplessness. Neither should we be caught recumbent and effeminate for easy devouring by these insensitive predatory leaders of ours. We must encourage the likes of Judge Mensah to step out of the clique of avaricious leaders to help infuse some vigor back into our Laws to restore sanity and order in our Democracy. Our Citizens never relinquished our Right to own Property. Darn it!!! That ain’t ever gonna happen!!!! But we have to work hard to protect it. Protect it from external mischievous machinations. as well as from within and itself. It is only with WISE built-in checks-and-balances to help us stay within REASONABLE bounds that would keep our Democracy dynamically effective.

Owning Property is not an innovative phenomenon any leadership is now doling out on us. It is our Right to keep and protect with all out lives. But we must not allow a few to claim any special privilege in taking away from us under the guise of that inalienable Right. We should, as a necessary requirement for our Democracy, demand an open but wisely regulated access to our National Resources. The regulation alluded to, here, refers only to what is adequate to prevent such gross misuse of Democracy to virtually steal from us whilst making it seem all is legal.

At this point, most of us are aware of the growing list of instances that such egregious cutely refined Con has been perpetrated against us and Ghana and I don’t have to bore the reader with the enunciation of those indelible stains on our National record. So, let’s lift our hats to Judge Mensah and pray that more like him come out and join him to help save us and our dear Ghana!!! Ghana needs you! Help stop the vampiric sucking of our Nation’s life-blood. It is steadily rendering her a living dead of a Nation. We need bold, honest, conscientious, aggressive, impartial, Patriotic, non- or multi-Partisan, custodial Lawyers and Judges who place the Nation and her Citizens’ real and ultimate interests ahead of parochial, personal gain, and would ferociously protect our Assets and National Resources. The Vampires must be impaled legally to save Ghana. Our posterity would forever be indebted to you for saving our Democracy for them to enjoy.

Long Live Ghana!!!

Columnist: Berko, George