Samson’s opinion: non-functional and inefficient systems, a real threat to security

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This week, National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah told judges that when justice is found to be ineffective or tainted, state security is at grave risk. “If the interpretation of the law leans so much in our favor [he means the NPP government?] all the time people will start accusing the justice system and won’t have the confidence they need.

What an unfortunate and embarrassing exhortation. The judiciary is a human institution and it is common knowledge that a few unworthy individuals end up on the bench and give the noble institution a bad name. Imagine how the judges felt at that National Security Strategy policy outreach meeting. I mean those who keep their oath of allegiance to the law without fear or favour, without rancor or affection, what was their unspoken reaction to such a call?

I get attacked by unscrupulous supporters for defending judges, although I’m not reckless to do so blindly. But why isn’t the minister concerned that our collective security is in jeopardy because a family dispute over a small land took forty years to resolve, and Chief Justice Georgina Wood felt compelled to describe it as ” a travesty of justice”. Don’t tell me that’s an exception. It is as indefensible as it is a blight on the system.

Sometimes it is not entirely inaccurate to say that the law is a matter of logic or common sense. According to our Constitution, justice emanates from the people and must be administered in their name by judges. But there were judgments which not only shocked ordinary people for their obvious evilness and the poverty of reasoning behind them, but even those trained in the law were equally appalled at the manifest injustice and illogical decisions.

They say bad news is spreading and citizens end up with the perceptions the minister is complaining about to justify resorting to behaviors that endanger our peace instead of going to court to air their grievances.

This week, Professor Stephen Kwaku Asare wrote to criticize the judgment declaring the seat of Assin North vacant, and many share his view that the decision sparking fights in Parliament is irrational. He said the case against the MP had nothing to do with him having dual citizenship because he was not. He argues that the MP who applied to renounce his Canadian citizenship a full year before running for office had no control over when a certificate of renunciation would be issued to him.

In fact, when the issue was raised, the EC assessed and strongly believed that he could challenge, and he was lucky that his candidacy was accepted 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 section 94(2)(a) of the Constitution which states that “a person shall not be qualified to be a Member of Parliament if he must allegiance to a country other than Ghana” if the provision had anything to do with dual nationality.

He refers to Section 20(d) of the Representation of the People Act 1992 (PNDCL 284) to further argue that in order to invalidate the results of an election, it must be shown “that the candidate was, at the time of his election, a person not qualified or a person disqualified for the election”. Again, the Supreme Court had ruled in the Dr. Zanetor Rawlings case that the election referred to was not party primaries but state-run elections.

Prof Asare criticizes the Cape Coast High Court judge for ruling that James Gyakye Quayson owed allegiance to another country other than Ghana, and asks whether it would make sense to argue that the embattled MP owes allegiance to Canada even if his waiver request was ignored by that country and he surrendered their passport and resettled in his constituency. What if Canada passed a law prohibiting the renunciation of citizenship? He calls it the member’s political savagery.

If the system works, why shouldn’t the assessment and decision of the independent state entity suffice? After all, it is the competent body in matters of elections and must have the capacity and competence to consider and vote on candidates that comply with the law.

May he overcome the procedural hurdles in the appeals he has mounted so that we can benefit from the wisdom of three, five or more judges to settle this case to stop the poison it is spreading against the judiciary due to of the decision of a single judge.

On Wednesday, I was at the Adenta Circuit Court. One defendant stepped into the dock and complained bitterly of starvation in police cells. The judge had to give money for her food until the next court date. I asked the investigator why this was so. He told me that, like many of his colleagues, he does this out of his own private pocket. So the reality is that the suspects under his watch will starve to death if he doesn’t have the money to buy them food?

Dear Minister, the threat to national security is real not only in an inefficient justice or criminal justice system, but in many sectors, and who oversees anything to get paid every month without fail?

MPs who take advantage of long vacation periods can afford to be absent from work without leave for months without any consequences, unless we have a suspended Parliament and the interests of a political party are affected. The poorly paid public servant who does not receive “free money” for a V-8, free fuel or grease allowances to do the job for which he is employed or gratis may be punished or fired for staying out to work a day or two without permission.

If you’re serious about fighting corruption, you shouldn’t find it acceptable to appoint MPs to boards of directors. And for now, with the exception of deputy ministers who must serve under statutory compliance, it is surprising that no MP refuses such an appointment. The President refuses to listen to the CDD on this manifest situation of conflict of interest. How do these MPs oversee the institutions they serve as board members? 1 Thessalonians 5:22 is the summary of the law and the most effective approach to fighting corruption and it is this “avoideveryappearanceofevil”[éviteztouteapparencedemal”[avoideveryappearanceofevil”

Suffering citizens breaking their backs to survive the harsh realities of the failing economy and teaming up with unemployed youth watched the president fly off to church in America a day after speaking out on austerity, banned unnecessary travel by state officials and charged them with a stealth E-Levy on their already taxed income. They see tweets from respected citizens like David Ofosu-Dorte and Bright Simons.

Let’s make the systems work for everyone, especially the poor and vulnerable, and we would have succeeded in eliminating or extinguishing the flames that ignite these national security threats. It’s my point of view.

Samson Lardy ANYENINI
April 9, 2022

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