An Akuffo now holds Sway over Justice

Ghanaians must be in such good moods since the weekend, when news came that Madam Sophia Akuffo is going to take charge over the judiciary, as Chief Justice after Her Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood exits the scene in June, this year.

That her name came up in the Holy Month of Mary, and in the weekend of the canonisation of the two youngest child saints in Catholicism, one of which is a female, and in the weekend of the celebration of Mothers’ Day, cannot be mere coincidence, but God-sent.

On behalf of all Christians, we pray that Auntie Sophia will be obedient to God, offer sacrifices to God for the good and benefit of mankind, and be a motherly figure for all Ghanaians.

This is in no way suggesting that Auntie Georgina did otherwise, no, she was just as good and God-fearing as any other. We are only praying for Auntie Sophia.

That we are going to have another female Chief Justice is good for Ghana and Ghanaians, since some people still do not accept that women should be put into positions of honour. In some traditional areas, women do not have title to properties and estates; women cannot be heads of families, and women cannot lead the community and society.

Last week, when Sophia’s name was included in the list of favourites to be nominated as Chief Justice, some man got irritated and demanded that we should not have another female Chief Justice. What an insult to womanhood to say women are not fit for certain positions and offices.

I do not know the qualities and attributes of Auntie Sophia, but I am told one thing, she is a no-nonsense, well vested in the law type of judge. Too hard to bend, I am told, and she knows and can see from afar, all the tricks and cunning ways of lawyers and people put in court.

I am looking forward to some good and positive changes in law in the country.

I pray that education on the law should begin in Junior High School (JHS) through to Senior High School (SHS), as core or elective, so that our young will learn about the law. At the same time, simplified text on the law, with court room and judgment examples, be published and sold at an affordable cost.

I also pray that our courts dispatch justice in quick time, and not allow cases to trail for years and decades. Investigations into cases must follow a certain format, so that they should be done quickly, for justice to begin.

Like most African nations, Ghana must have a term period to deal with electoral issues. A period of, say, thirty days should be adequate. And this follows that we must review our electoral calendar to make room for court cases and transition periods.

I also pray that the Supreme Court must come with strong internal mechanisms to battle corruption in the judiciary. Such a mechanism should work in such a way that corrupt judges, magistrates, lawyers and court workers, who fall short of laid down terms of references, could quickly be dealt with, as deemed fit, without the public even knowing. Of course, this calls for a PIP version of the courts to be created, so that anyone who has problems with members of the judiciary, lawyers and court workers could easily go and lodge a complaint.

Auntie Georgina Theodora Wood set up some reforms, and I only pray that Auntie Sophia will continue from there and bring the justice system close to the doorsteps of the people.

One tough hurdle is that of effectively doing away with all traditional practices that are not in conformity with human rights. Some of such practices like child marriage, female genital mutilation (FGM) and some widowhood rites have been declared illegal, but are still practiced in some cultures.

The issue here is how to implement the law. For example, what happens to a parent or guardian who allows and or pushes the child into early marriage, or makes her to undergo FGM or both?

The law has a remedy, but the problem could be the remedy itself. For, if because of a single child the parents or parents/guardians face jail sentences, what would happen when they come back? Can the law make adequate provision for that fallout? What happens to prominent chiefs and elders who endorse such violations of the child’s human rights, all in the name of tried, tested and trusted tradition?

Some of such tradition practices are even supported by well-educated and highly placed academics in society. The late Professor Awooner was bold in his support for fiashidi, better known as trokoshi, which is, putting young virgins into perpetual slavery in shrines, where they stay for life never to come home, and when they die, they are buried like common domestic animals. These young girls commit no offence at all, but are held in bondage for crimes committed by some other members of the family.

Auntie Sophia, welcome aboard, and we pray that you safely and firmly handle the steering wheel of justice in this country. May Jesus be your companion in all this.

We also pray for the President for your appointment, and also for Hon. Gloria Akuffo, who we know will partner with you to bring justice to the table of all Ghanaians.

Source: Hon Daniel Dugan || The Chronicle

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