President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has asked Ghanaians to guard jealously the country’s democracy and resist persons who make disparaging comments against the Judiciary and the Electoral Commission for selfish, parochial and partisan interests.
According to President Akufo-Addo, just as the country continued to deepen the rule of law and reinforce the confidence of the people, “there are some who have made it their political agenda to disparage systematically the image of the Judiciary for selfish, parochial, partisan reasons.”
“These are the plaintiffs, who go to Court, indeed, to the highest court of the land, provide not a single shred of evidence to back their claims, and, yet, insist that their claims be upheld, despite the elementary violation of the ancient, common-law rules for the discharge of the burden of proof that such a result would entail,” he stated.
A political figure has recently criticised the country’s Court, especially the Apex Court, stating that the Judiciary was badly in need of a rebirth that only a new Chief Justice can help achieve.
But President Akufo-Addo told members of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), in Ho on Monday that, Ghana was governed in accordance with the rule of law, and not based on political considerations.”
The President said it was important that all Ghanaians, especially lawyers, who cherished Ghana’s fledgling democracy, “say no to such persons, and guard jealously our democratic way of life, which we have done so much to bring into being.”
Independent judges, administering the law, protecting the human rights of citizens, and ensuring public accountability, he indicated, were strong pillars of the country’s democracy.
President Akufo-Addo said just as an independent Electoral Commission was one other such pillar, the Country’s Electoral Commission (EC) was predictably the object of the same anti-democratic attacks as the Judiciary.
“Mercifully for all of us, these attacks have not shaken the confidence of the people in these institutions,” the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo said the government has, since 2017, introduced several policy measures to help bridge the technology gap in the administration of justice.
“We have launched the e-justice system, which is designed to leverage technology in the delivery of justice, and we are also addressing the challenge posed by the inadequate numbers of courts in various parts of the country, resulting in citizens travelling long distances to gain access to courts, and, thereby, weakening the rule of law,” he said.
Through the Administrator of the District Assembly Common Fund, the government is constructing 100 new courts and bungalows for Judges in all 16 Regions of the country. 60% of these courts and bungalows have been completed and scheduled to be commissioned before the start of the legal year in October.
The remaining 40% will be duly completed and commissioned by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
Six new Regional High Courts are also being constructed in the newly created regions- Ahafo, Bono East, North East, Oti, Savannah and Western North. Three of the Courts, that is those in Ahafo, Bono East and Oti Regions, will be completed and ready for commissioning, again, before October.
The other three, that is those in North East, Savannah and Western North, which are at 80% completion, will be ready for commissioning by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
A new, modern Court of Appeal complex in Kumasi, together with 20 townhouses and a guesthouse to serve as permanent residences for Court of Appeal Judges based in Kumasi, who will be mandated to handle appeals from the northern sector of the country, will also be completed and commissioned before the end of October.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD