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ILLITERACY PLUS POVERTY EQUALS LEGAL DISABILITY: POOR NATIONS & THE NEED FOR SPECIAL LEGAL PROTECTION FOR THE VULNERABLE AND THE UNBORN
Legal capacity is founded on the ability of a person to reason and to act reasonably as demanded by a particular circumstance. Those without the capacity to reason or to act reasonably are the persons deemed by the law as having no legal capacity. Legal responsibility flows from legal rationality. All those persons deemed by the law as having no legal capacity are persons who for one reason or another, cannot reason or cannot act reasonably when required. When a person is described by the law as being legally disabled, that person enjoys a special protection the first of which is that no interest or right of his can be disturbed or affected unless approved by his guardian and trustee acting justly or unless approved by an order of the honorable court of competent jurisdiction.
THE RELATIVITY OF REASON
Undoubtedly, the ability to reason and to act reasonably is relative to the competition and to the demands of the circumstances. When cripples compete, one reason applies. When giants compete, a different reason applies. What is reasonable when one is a cave-man might be madness to the scientist. From this perspective it is clear that categories of reasonableness are elastic and relative. My theses is that in the post-modern world of technocracy dominated by softwares, hardwares and malwares, the legally disabled must include persons who are clueless
and powerless before these tools and disciplines and yet called by the law to understand, to invent and to use same to compete against the inventors and the masters of the genre. The legally disabled are persons who for one reason or another beyond their control, are compelled to do business in foreign languages; by laws founded on foreign cultures through precedents, principles, assumptions, rationales and syllogisms that are foreign, distant and unaffordable. The legally disabled are those persons have little or no competence in the scientific disciplines that
inform correct calculations and predictions of probable outcomes based on specialized laws, expensive data and costs-benefits analysis derived from summaries of highly confidential reports from one thousand nameless committees. The legally disabled are those poor and sick persons who have become so desperate and so insecure to the point where their greatest concerns can only be “me, myself and I” of the “here and now”. Because their world is burning, these persons cannot think of the welfare of others and of such luxuries as the long-term consequences of their actions and omissions. Many of these desperate people would hurriedly sell even their children to obtain some instant relief from their incurable pains and aches. The results of all these are incoherent and feeble thinking and repeated failure to take any meaningful action to protect or to advance their best interests.
The logic of the desperate, of the illiterate and of the confused must surely be madness when measured against the syllogisms and rhyming conclusions flowing from luxurious conferences led by teams of cool and fully-funded scientific teams contemplating great options. The competence of those educated under trees and half-baked colleges cannot compare to the ivyleague strategic institutions supported by greatest scientific and financial resources that the world has to offer. My simplest argument is that the law on disability must admit of a new category of disabled persons whose incapacity must be founded on their relative incompetence or on their
relative ignorance resulting from poor education, extreme poverty and scientific illiteracy made worse by a breakdown in duty of care, recurring diseases and disconnected selves forced to compete in the world run by scientific experts supported by stealth programs, androids, badroids and goodroids. The newly disabled are persons who are incapable of sufficient reason in their transactions with international competitors for the purposes of preventing repeated and irreparable injuries to themselves. Any decision made by such persons affecting the rights,
interests or the wealth of the vulnerable and of the unborn as against the learned and seasoned competitors from developed or semi-developed nations or even as between themselves, shall not have legal validity and cannot be just by any measure of justice. The law must carve out a remedy to bring justice to this new class of millions of disabled persons. They cannot be left on their own to be victimized again and again, within the law by those who are masters of the law and of the sciences, to use same to exploit others legally.
REASON-ABILITY IS NO LONGER NATURAL
The world is ruled by money. This was not always the case. There used to be times when artists, prophets, priests or chiefs ruled the world. Presently however, people with plenty of money dominate and run the world, according to their desires and ignorance. The problem is that where cash is the ruler, justice becomes a subject and subject to mischief. In a rule of cash, the rule of law can become a sophisticated instrument of the rich to work injustice against the ignorant. The main reason for this may have nothing to do with any sinister motive or on any conspiracy of the
rich against the poor. The injustice that occurs in a world dominated by technologies and by the rule of cash might be inherent in the new requirements of reason and of the rational nature of the law itself. As I have indicated previously, reason-ability can only be measured relative to the competition. These days, the ability to reason correctly on any important subject requires expertise in relevant fields and the collaboration of the right teams working harmoniously on stated objectives in a supportive and enabling environment. Reason-ability is no longer a matter of “thinking”. That is old school. Reason is the product of knowing, of imagination, of doing, of sharing and of funding of the right type of issues and events. Those poor persons who show up at meetings with only their “thinking caps” on are therefore, ill-prepared, incompetent and manifestly lacking in reason-ability.
THE LAW IS RATIONAL
To the foregoing add the rigid rationality of the law. The modern law is largely the invention of rational men. Although conventional rationality itself has its limits, the law is a set of rational narratives, imperatives and practices backed by force. The law does not admit of the irrational.
It frowns upon chaos, incoherence and the unreadable. The law is reason. It is reasonableness. The law is made up of sets of “if this, then that”. At its root then is a unique organic order whose roots are nourished by particular imagination, assumptions, arguments, procedures, justifications and conclusions. The particularity of the foundations of law make it relative to the times and empires. The modern law is not “universal” but it is dominated by a type of colored philosophizing by a type of sieved reasoning that is not given at birth to all mankind or acquired simply through so-called general education. To be competent in the modern law requires a particular education, a particular culture, a particular mindset; a particular way of thinking, of feeling, of imagining and of navigating the world. That “particular” set of systems that make up the competence in law, is a product of a specific cultural, educational and technological heritage, training and immersion. Not everyone has the fortune of being a beneficiary of that heritage. In order to act reasonably as demanded by law, one must be raised by the law and must be a child of its family. To know the modern law, one must have the culture, the language, the narratives, the history, the resources, the institutions, the tribes and organic knowledge of the foundations that form the heart of the law. This makes the ability to know and to apply the law effectively, both a matter of wealth and the result of long-term socio-political investments that are not universally accessible or affordable.
LAW IS ORGANIC
Contrary to what many people think, the law is not just a matter of so-called common sense or of the sum of what is written in reports of judicial proceedings or statutes. The law is more than words, precedents and logical imperatives. The law is organic. It is not separate and apart from the histories, the luxuries, the technologies, the arts, the languages, the teams, the industries, the conflicts, the achievements, the hopes and the expectations of the developed world. Those who differ in these experiences therefore, cannot have the same competencies in the law. Those whocannot afford the necessary investments in reason-ability and in competence in the law, must remain ignorant of and lack legal capacity to reason sufficiently as required. Those who can afford and do make the right long term investments in reason-ability and law-ability, have the “ears” of the law and can take advantage of the best that the law has to offer against the competition.
This phenomenon of law as an organic phenomenon; of law as the product of particular histories, of conflicts, of partial philosophies; of law as the product of long-term financial, technological and cultural experiences and investments is, I submit, the mother of the legal incapacity of the “strangers”, also known as the illiterate, the sick and the poor. These persons do not have the particular foundations and the necessary streets, as it were, to walk and to know reason and the law. These poor persons lack the financial, technological and other significant resources that are required to enable them to catch up so as to be able to think, imagine, plan, network, act and compete reasonably and to benefit from the rule of law. Therefore, whenever such poor actors face legal battles against the organized competition from the developed or semi-developed, they lose. The law favors the lawyer against the non-lawyer. The law favors the wise against the ignorant. The foregoing reaffirm the proposition that in a global competition subject to the rule of modern law, decision-makers from poor countries operate at the margins, at the sidelines and outside the competencies of international standards. The poor decision-makers cannot therefore,
score effectively or play to win any trophies consistently within the demands of reason and of the law. Decision-makers from poor countries are therefore, at an inherent disadvantage resulting in a competency-gap which might be so deep as to deny them the legal capacity to deal reasonably at law, to protect the interests, the rights and wealth of the marginalized, of the powerless, of the vulnerable and of the unborn. As I touched on earlier, rationality is relative to the competition and to available options. Those persons who are therefore relatively irrational or unreasonable as compared to the others; or those persons who cannot sufficiently speak or understand the
language of reason, as required by the competition, must be legally disabled. Conversely, those persons who are who understand the law, are understood by the law. It is these persons who feel at home and are protected by the law.
REASON IS UNAFFORDABLE TO THE POOR
It is clear from the foregoing that modern rationality is no longer the product of a ‘natural’ quality or of a general education. Reason-ability is the result of the right investments, and of the right resources and experiences. I repeat. The sufficiency of one’s rationality must be relative to the demands of the competition. Whether you are rational or not depends on who and what you are up against. In a world of brilliant and highly competitive school men, the rationality of the starving illiterate must be madness. Rationality in the post-modern world is a highly prized
technical commodity that is no longer affordable by the poor, by the illiterate and by the vulnerable decision-makers. Not only are the poor not having enough to eat, they are not having enough to reason.
What is reason? A person is said to be reasonable in any competition, when a). he can understand and pursue effective solutions to his problems in a manner that makes use of the best of available options and that does not make him worse off; b). he can understand the interests, the strengths, the weaknesses and the options available to the competitor; and c). he has the ability to understand the sum of the obstacles and opportunities in the game in a way that enables him to take a series of logical and effective steps and actions to minimize his obstacles to the destination whilst at the same time, maximizing obstacles for the competitor. It is clear that the foregoing demand thorough and continuing research, scientific knowledge, logical: analysis, computations, projections, simulations; testing, feedback, re-calibrations and so on. All these require generations of the right investments in persons, in infrastructures, in institutions and in the practical sciences. Those nations that have just come out of: slavery, colonialism, devastating wars and so forth, are not only behind in these types of undertakings and investments, they are so busy fighting off plagues, famines and terrorists that they cannot possibly find the energy, the narratives, the teams and the resources to start and to continue rightly. Increasingly, reason in the globalized world has become a function of foreign languages; of foreign cultures; of very expensive scientific disciplines, requiring huge financial resources, strategic investments and mountains of dollars, beyond the cowries and millets of the poor or of the average decisionmaker.
Reason is no longer a mere natural capacity given at birth. The type of reason demanded by the post-modern era, has increasingly become ‘technicalized’, institutionalized and ‘financialized’ to the extent that only certain nations, companies or institutions have the requisite capacities to act reasonably as required by “standard” or international competition and law. With a few exceptions, the poor cannot afford to reason correctly and rightly within the law. They do not even have any idea as to what it reason is anymore. Reason has become a strange art, an intimidating technical language set to alien practices exclusive to an increasingly limited few.
The languages, the technicalities, the sheer volumes, the variety, the randomness and the complexity of events, data, rules and actors that must be contemplated and “digested” before one can make sufficient sense of the consequences of any matters of national and international importance require competences in sequenced algorithms and quantum-organic computation by teams and teams of hard-nosed and dedicated masters of the magical sciences of international competitive shenanigans. These things are undoubtedly beyond the schools, the pockets, the cultures, the teams and even the spirit of the average poor nation’s decision-maker. As a consequence, whenever the poor leaders or the decision-makers of the average poor nation meet the rich schoolmen or the decision makers of the developed or semi-developed nations to negotiate or to agree on any important resource transfer, exchange or agreement, the poor men inevitably act unreasonably vis a vis the school men. The school men inevitably outsmart the poor men and “program” them to act in legal ways that foreseeably, cause irreparable injuries to their long-term strategic interests of the vulnerable and of the unborn, to the greatest benefit of the schoolmen.
This problem of increasing irrationality of the poor in the global competition is not about to get better but will get worse. The reason simply is that as life ‘complexifies’, so too does rationality.
The more sophisticated the softwares, the hardwares and malwares become, the harder the reasoning becomes. Because reason-ability depends on mastery over the demands of the competition, those at the fringes of the global race, might as sing and hope that genies will appear and grant their wishes. As reason-ability is now dollar-ability, the rich will become smarter and the poor will become dumber. As law demands and favors the reasonable, the poor
will invariably be the losers in the legal race to power. This, I submit is the true definition of legal incapacity. The poor decision-makers are for reasons beyond their control, unable to make rational decisions. They do not act reasonably because they cannot afford reason. Not being reasonable, they cannot benefit from the best protections of the law. They may have “freewill” but to add free to will does not add an inch of reasoning and of legal protection to the person.
Leaving such persons to market forces to make decisions affecting the critical interests, rights and wealth of the vulnerable and of the unborn therefore, is tantamount to setting up the crippled against the Olympians in a marathon race. The race cannot be fair. It is manifestly unjust. The crippled will always lose. This clear injustice cannot be tolerated by law or equity. It is the duty of the lawyers, of law-makers and of people of conscience to change this sad reality to ensure justice for all.
A GUARDIAN & TRUSTEE LAW FOR THE VULNERABLE & THE UNBORN
Imagine a law titled The Vulnerable & The Unborn Guardian & Trustee Act, passed and enforced in every poor nation creating a national trust and legal authority empowering that authority to represent the interests and rights of the vulnerable and of the unborn in any important national or regional transaction with any foreseeable impact on them. Imagine that under the law, the Authority has the power to issue orders and injunctions to stop or to prevent
any action or proposed action that is foreseeably injurious to the interests, rights and wealth of the vulnerable and of the unborn and that such orders are enforced by the Courts and by every institution of state across the nation. Furthermore, the law shall make it abundantly clear that any act, agreement or decision that is contrary to the Act, is illegal and of no force or effect. Also, the law would empower any citizen who has reasonable cause to believe that an existing or proposed agreement, act, transaction or project offends the Act, to take simplified legal proceedings at the High Court, to stop that project from continuing or becoming a reality.
Imagine therefore, that under this law, every transaction, project or agreement affecting the unborn, the vulnerable must go through an objective, systematic, just and transparent process to ensure that the project, transaction or agreement does not harm the nation, especially the vulnerable, the powerless and the unborn. Imagine that all great courts in every nation and in the United Nations, including the Security Council, agree to enforce this law everywhere every time and that the United Nations and the Security Council shall impose sanctions on any nation that refuses or fails to implement or enforce the Act. It is easy to see how beneficial this law would be to the beneficiaries and how strongly it would act against endemic corruption and of the unconscionable exploitation of the weakest of the nation by the powerful. Imagine further how good this law would be for the protection of the environment and for generations of the unborn.
That law is not only possible, I have already drafted it and attached it below. Join me then so we can move from imagination to reality and make that law a piece of cake in every poor nation in the world.
POOR NATIONS AS ‘WEAKLINGS’ AT LAW
Many decision-makers of poor nations of the world are beset with countless financial, cultural and intellectual challenges and problems that compound to make them behave at law as “children” or “very ignorant” folks as compared to the decision-makers from developed countries when it comes to matters of affecting the vulnerable and of the unborn. On their own, many politicians and decision-makers in poor countries cannot do much to revolutionize the communities of ignorance and infected with massive failures of duty of care in every corner of
the society. A culture of the duty of care is the critical foundation for accountability, individual and institutional competence and creativity. The culture of the duty of care is the mother of security, of equity and of justice. Unfortunately, that culture of the duty of care is missing in many poor nations. The noble concept of the law that every person foreseeably affected by our actions is our neighbor and that we must take care not to harm our neighbours or face consequences for such negligence, is alien to many poor nations. Near universal irresponsibility
and selfish carelessness rule the poor nations. Incompetence, unnecessary suffering and corruption are the natural consequences of this massive failure of the duty of care. In such a careless or selfish culture, the decision-makers cannot be expected to contemplate the needs of those outside of their boardrooms let alone those yet unborn.
On top of the foregoing, third parties pursuing their rational self-interests further compound these problems through their never-ending manipulative, diversionary and exploitative strategies aimed at getting the scarce resources of the poor at the cheapest prices and with maximum legal protection. Thus, even when the leaders of these poor nations have the will to change the status quo, they fail repeatedly because with a few exceptions, they do not have sufficient or the right cultural, intellectual, emotional, scientific and technological environments and resources to know, to understand, to plan and to act effectively to protect the interest and rights of the vulnerable and of the unborn, against injurious actions by third parties. The international earthorder has moved too far ahead of the poor. They have been left behind by every measure of sustainable progress and yet called to compete without any special support for their illnesses. To put it bluntly, many leaders of poor nations do not get it. They are not even on the sidelines of the world games. They are offside, off limits and forced to be spectators of the action. Even when they have the talents, the energies, the foresight and the will to do something effective against their increasing failure to be reason-able in the adversarial world of profit-maximization, many leaders of poor nations are either too tired, too sick, too insecure or too frustrated to take good care of the interests and the welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn.
ONLY LAW EMPOWERS THE WEAK
History has shown that only law empowers the weak. This is especially true in poor nations where as a result of the near universal failure of duty of care, there is very little or no accountability by the powerful for corruption or for causing injuries to the weakest of the nation.
Only great laws enforced by the international community can help the vulnerable in such circumstances. For law, creates and enforces duties. Law removes the dominance of force or threats of force as right and replaces it with equity, neighborliness and justice. Therefore, the solution to the problems of the vulnerable and of the unborn cannot be found in aid packages, in development programs, in campaigns against corruption and in other such nice irrelevancies. The cure to the ill of incessant exploitation of the vulnerable is law: trust law for the protection of the
vulnerable and of the unborn. Key interests and rights of the vulnerable and of the unborn need to be protected as trusts and recognized as such in every major agreement, transaction or project affecting the poor nations of the world. This must be done -whether the projects, agreements or transactions are described as commercial, pro-development or not-for-profit. The issue is very important and urgent because if the fate of the vulnerable are left to the rule of cash under the supervision of leaders many of whom are clueless and careless as to the consequences of their transactions, cash would have the same effect as physical force with the same inevitability as tyranny of the strong over the weak; of the lender over the beggar and of the monopolist over the addict. In a world in which laws are written and interpreted by the rich schoolmen, the rationality demanded by the law is necessarily foreign, too complicated and beyond the understanding, the use and the control of many leaders of poor nations. Poor nations are not well. Decision-makers from poor nations being products of such ill-societies, are also not well. Without the aid of great laws, such decision-makers are incapable of planning and acting in effective and efficient ways to protect the best interests of the vulnerable and of the unborn.
The need for the trust law is urgent because under the rule of cash, also known as free market forces, everything has a price and can be purchased by those with money. As a consequence, in many poor nations where money is urgently needed to buy everything from sunshine to clean air, nothing is sacred. Everything is for sale and would be sold at prices dictated by the money-men smart enough to outwit the clueless for maximum profits. Many poor leaders see no reserves requiring protection from exploitation. In the name of development, they are prepared to part with every resource of the nation as along as someone is prepared to give them money for it. Not being very wise, many of the leaders massively undervalue the resources and gladly sign unto deals that can be best described as madness, unconscionable and gross failure of leadership.
Whatever their justifications for their actions, many poor leaders do not contemplate and do not care for the welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn in their rush to the dispossession of their nation’s wealth. Indeed, if it were lawful to do so, some of the leaders would gladly sell their fellow citizens cheaply for quick cash, as it happened in the olden days of slave trading and of slavery. Many poor leaders want money so badly that long-term consequences of their sale of scarce community resources on the vulnerable and of the unborn, matter not to them. In such a climate of so many rich men eager to deal and to make fabulous profits, only the law can stop the
money-men from buying and owning everything in the hands or under the control of the poor leaders. Key resources of poor nations are being legally depleted and their environments destroyed at rates and at depths so alarming that unless this trust law is set up immediately, the vulnerable and the unborn are on track to queuing up for soon-to-be-rationed hourly portions of oxygen. There is the need to set up the trust law now. Otherwise, the scarce resources of the vulnerable and of the unborn would soon disappear. If things continue as they are now, the
unborn would be born into garbage nations. I am not exaggerating. It is for this reason that I am calling and all good men and women of conscience, especially those who care, to take my work seriously and to rise to the challenge passing the Trust Law for the vulnerable and the unborn.
THE FRAMEWORK OF THE TRUST LAW
The National Resources & The Unborn Trustee Act shall start with an acknowledgement that with a few exceptions, the governments and peoples of poor nations in general; and of poor nations of Africa in particular, are so poor, so uneducated, so weak, so uncompetitive and so powerless relative to other world players, that their capacity to be reasonable or to deal reasonably in the global market when it comes to the mining, the extraction or the exchange of key resources or when it comes to taking decisions to prevent actions injurious to weakest of these nations, is close to negative. Reasonableness is relative to the context, to the parties and to the consequences of deciding one way or the other. One man’s reason is another man’s madness.
The problem is that it is the reasonable standard as defined by the developed nations that is the norm and the enforced law. Add to that is the presumption of law to the effect that everyone, including leaders of poor nations, is reasonable and is bound by the consequences of his contracts or agreements. In such a world in which the leaders of poor nations have the legal authority to bind the nation, the foolish actions of many poor leaders and legislatures are justified under international law as correct and binding on the weakest persons in those nations. This means that the law as it exists at the moment, works to defend and the actions of the unwise and of the money-men against the vulnerable and of the unborn. The number of factors that combine to cause this massive and continuing injustice are so many and so deep that it might take centuries to correct them. In the meantime, something must be done to prevent irreparable injuries to the powerless and to the unborn. This is where the trust law comes in. It would
frustrate the collusion between the corrupt leader and the selfish money-man from automatic dispossession of the vulnerable. It would slow down the rate and the quantum of unjust transactions and enable fairer and more just deals to be made for the vulnerable and the unborn The legally disabled are a special class of weak persons who need third party assistance to ensure that their best interests and rights are preserved and not trampled upon. A trust Authority with the competence, mandate, resources and the will to protect the vulnerable and the unborn is what is needed to help the disabled. Without this authority, it is clear that the vulnerable and the unborn are routinely unpresented in matters that have foreseeable impact on their welfare. This clearly offends natural justice. Why should the foolish few be supported by the law, by so-called constitutions to dispossess or to injure the great majority at meetings in which the great majority are not invited and their welfare and interests ignored?
The issue of legal disability is not an exercise in hierarchies or pride. The trust law would create a healthy thinking and an imaginative space; a breathing and an elastic space; a mobilizing and a networking space; a community and a creative space to support dialogue, caution, wisdom, brotherliness and justice for the purposes of building a better world for all. The purpose of the proposed law would be to stop existing national and international laws such as freedom and sanctity of contracts, presumption of reasonableness and the sovereignty of nations, from being used to justify unpardonable injustices against the most vulnerable of all human beings.
Legal capacity is the competence to act reasonably as demanded by the particular circumstances of each case. Those persons who are incapable of reasoning sufficiently or who are incapable of acting reasonably when required as a result of factors beyond their control, have the sympathy of justice via the route of disability law. Those leaders of many poor nations who are incapable of the necessary competitive rationality for making fair, informed or reasonable agreements for and on behalf of their vulnerable citizens, for reasons beyond their control must be considered as having no legal capacity to deal for the vulnerable citizenry. None of the vulnerable or of the
unborn have authorized the poor leader to decide incompetently for and on their behalf. None of the vulnerable or of the unborn have voted for the poor leader to act incompetently or injuriously against their welfare. None of the vulnerable or of the unborn have consented to be bound by the injurious consequences of the decisions of the poor leader. Yet at law, the actions or omissions of these poor leaders are supposedly binding on the vulnerable and of the poor. The injustice of this situation is clear. Laws must not help the few against the many and certainly not the foolish against the vulnerable. A guardian and trustee for the weakest of citizens is therefore needed in order to ensure that the blind shepherd does not plunge the innocent flock into the abyss. This is what justice demands of the law. We must remember that legal capacity includes the recognition given by the law affirming the authority, the power or the maturity of a person to undertake or to refrain from doing an act and for the foreseeable consequences of that action or omission to have the correct legal effect. Repeatedly acting against one’s best interest is a sign of foolishness or evidence of legal incapacity. A person who cannot reason by virtue of death, fear, age, illness, drugs, extreme ignorance or similar things is said to be legally incapable of acting and being responsible at law. As I have shown earlier, the poor and ignorant decision-maker is so incompetent as compared to the rich and learned decision-maker that whenever he meets up against the rich decision-maker, he acts in ways that can be only described as total failure of duty.
The concept of legal disability is elastic enough to admit of the lack of capacity of the poor and ignorant decision-maker made clueless in the modern world of tough, scientific and adversarial competition for scarce resources. The incompetence of the poor and ignorant leader is a type of incapacity akin to an acquired stupidity syndrome (ass). An ass is surely evidence for lacking legal capacity to speak for and to act for the vulnerable and the unborn. No vulnerable or unborn person would appoint a person led by an “ass” as their lawful representative for any meaningful project or undertaking. We must not forget that over the years, the concept of legal disability has
expanded to enable previously unprotected persons to be classified as legally disabled and therefore, deserving of special protection under the law. It is important to note at the onset that disability under law is not a derogatory term but a useful device to offer assistance to the vulnerable. A legal disability may arise from a permanent absence at an event due to an unbridgeable separation between persons and events due for example, to death, distance, beingunborn and so forth. It may also arise from circumstances such as extreme pain and suffering affecting perception, severe mental illness and all forms of extreme vulnerabilities occurring from diseases and other forms of crippling factors. A disability may also occur from unique situations that may result in the inability of the person to act or to act reasonably as required. It is difficult to close the class of persons that might be classified as legally disabled. Minors, the deceased, the unborn, the mentally incoherent and people under duress, all members of the legal class of disabled persons. Persons overcome by fear, by pain, by mind-altering intoxicants, by deception or by extreme confusion can also be classified as temporarily disabled due to their inability to act or to act reasonably when required. All such disabled persons need effective and efficient legal representatives to defend their interests, rights and welfare.
Therefore, when it comes to important global agreements affecting the foreseeable welfare of the vulnerable and the unborn for example, it would be foolhardy to leave the poor and ignorant decision maker to be in charge of final and binding agreements on the vulnerable and of the unborn. The poor and ignorant decision maker is and would be incapable of making reasonable decisions that would protect the best interest of the vulnerable and might instead make decisions that would guarantee severe and irreparable injuries to the vulnerable. In such circumstances, it
would be just to classify poor decision-makers as having no legal capacity to deal for the vulnerable on important community, national and international matters with significant consequences upon the vulnerable. Where the poor leader is admittedly lacking in legal capacity, the only obvious solution is to appoint a competent and just dealer for the vulnerable. I would leave discussions of definitions of ‘important’ national and international matters to another day but the point is that the vulnerable of the world need a good trustee worldwide. The vulnerable of the earth need special and learned counsel. The vulnerable of the world need a special law that protects and guarantees their welfare in a world increasingly dominated by the exclusive club of the rich and often selfish schoolmen. It would be a travesty of justice to leave the welfare and the future of the vulnerable and of the unborn of the world in the hands of persons lacking sufficient rationality and lacking a duty of care, to think, plan and reasonably to protect the rights, interests and welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn.
THE NATURAL LAW
The natural law is that all persons are equal and reasonable and should be free to act and to be bound by the consequences of their actions. It is because everyone is presumed reason-able that people are held responsible for their actions. Reasonableness however depends on the learning and collective wisdom of the society in time. As knowledge and experiences change, so too does the definition of reason. What is reasonable to do in caves may be unreasonable to mention in mansions. Society works best on this principle of equal reason-able persons, for leads to a common culture that results in predictable and responsible conduct. Disability appears to be adistortion of this natural law as it results in an inequality of reason-abilities between persons. It breaks down community and makes some people less equal than their brethren. Disability is a disrupter of social cohesion and a destroyer of social equality and brotherliness. It is for this reason that the law on legal capacity was discovered to minimize the possibility of this social breakdown and to create processes and conditions that re-pair the inequality and resulting
division. The law on legal disability is an enabler of reason-abilities and of our common brotherliness.
There are two types of legal disability. The first is total incapacity such is the case with the absent, the deceased, the comatose or the seriously ill. The second type of disability is relative to the state of mind of the person due to the overwhelming superiority of opposing factors such as persons subject to overwhelming violence, dictatorial authority, deep deception or all manner of things deemed at law to result in an inability on the part of the “victim” to be reasonable or to act freely. Whether a disability is absolute or relative, the concern of the law is to prevent injustice to the disabled person and to create “fullness” in the community. The objective of the law on disability is to prevent the “able” from taking undue advantage of the “unable”. The focus and the rationale for legal disability law is to assist the manifestly weak to be able to pursue their best interests in spite of their total or relative inabilities.
One observation from the foregoing is that the interest of the law is not so much on historical categories of persons as much as is it in helping to prevent a natural or acquired vulnerability from being used by others to cause injustice to weak persons in society and to thereby injure the growth and development of the community as a whole. Legal disabilities affect the overall capacity of the community. Society takes the issue of legal disabilities seriously for at one time or another each one of us was unborn. At one time or another each and every one of us would be
disabled by age, illness or by death. Treating the disabled right should therefore, be a matter of crucial importance to the wise. Unless the legally disabled person is supported by third party representations and just actions, the total welfare of is reduced. From this angle, it follows that the applicability of the rationale for the protection of the powerless from the powerful, cannot be limited to natural persons only or to individual efforts only. If we can think of the world as a family, the nations within the family are the individual members of the family. Where such nations are legally disabled, we must craft laws that enable them to benefit from life and from the best that humanity has to offer. As I have already discussed, the class of the manifestly weak deserving of legal protection under disability law ought to admit of persons hitherto classified as legally able but who are in fact, legally incapacitated. Many decision-makers and governments of poor nations can and ought be classified as lacking the capacity to deal reasonably to protect the interest, rights and wealth of the vulnerable in many transactions or projects against global giants also known as governments or citizens of developed or semi-developed nations.
The truth is that concept of legal disability creates two “different” types of persons in the society as it were, with one being “reason-able” and the other being “reason-unable”. The phenomenon of persons who are unable to act or to act reasonably when reasonable action is required, goes against the very definition of what it means to be human and to be a citizen. This is why the equality and reasonableness of persons is presumed at law and enshrined in every written constitution in the world. In addition, the idea of the helpless being left alone, to be repeatedly exploited by the powerful, is repugnant to the natural law and to conscience. Thus, the aim of legal disability law is and must be to correct this inequality and to “restore” the disabled person to the status of equality with all persons. The law achieves this by “superimposing” the powers of the authorized able person on the weaknesses of the disabled person as it were, in a way that allows the disabled to be abled; so as to be capable of doing what he could not do on his own.
The law on legal disability then is a corrective mechanism that augments the power of the weak to enable them to act and to act reasonably for the advancement of their self-interests and to partake in the community as equal members, despite the superiority of disruptive and opposing forces. The law accomplishes the re-equalization act through the instrument of judicial transplant of powers from the able to the disabled and by protecting the critical interest of the disabled until the right thing is done. The preservation of the assets or best interests of the disabled become the duty of the trustee and such assets or interests are off limits until they are dealt with in accordance with law through the volition of the trustee. The appointment of the trustee is strictly functional. It is to make the third party stand in for the disabled person as if he were the disabled person but without the disability. The Guardian or Trustee is the legal mind, of the disabled person.
CONSEQUENCES & IMPORTANCE OF LEGAL DISABILITY LAW
When a person is legally disabled, only her guardian or trustee acting properly as required under law has the authority to deal with the property, assets, or other non-trivial interests of the person.
The effect of legal disability law therefore, is to create a safe or protective reserve or barrier between the abled and the disabled and a temporary “freeze” of transactions concerning the assets or matters of critical importance to the disabled. The disability regime at law is therefore both a formal decision-making process and fundamentally a protectorate of named resources and rights, for the purposes of justice for the disabled. Assets, rights or benefits belonging to the disabled are akin to “reserves” and are held in trust with the disabled as the beneficiary. Such
rights, benefits or assets are off limits to exploitation until further order of the trustee acting properly or by an order of a competent court of jurisdiction deciding correctly. Decisions made in breach of trust or made contrary to the rights of the disabled are not binding on them until further order of the courts or until corrected as required by justice for the disabled. The trustee for the disabled is a “watchdog”, a ”caretaker” or an “attorney” to protect the vulnerable from being unjustly or unconscionably exploited or injured by the strongest or smartest in our societies. It is obvious that the objective of the disability law is justice for the weakest, for the incapable or the most foolish amongst us. As members of the world family, the vulnerable and the unborn of poor nations qualify as legally disabled from being able to protect their rights and interests at the global conferences of the rich school men. They need special counsel to represent them and to help them be “normal’.
Those who have paid sufficient attention to the rationale for the legal disability law can perhaps appreciate the fact that in many respects, the principle of legal disability is relative to the actors, to their unique circumstances and to consequences of their interactions. For example, it is the superiority of experience and of the learning of the adult as compared to the ignorance and naivety of the minor that makes minors incompetent at law. It is understood that if left to their own devices, the ignorance and the lack of experience of the minors would make them vulnerable to more sophisticated and more learned adults. In others words, the law declaring minors as lacking legal capacity aims solely at preventing adults from using their superior learning and greater experiences to cheat the ignorant youth. Why should that be? Society abhors trickery, cheating or the taking of undue advantage of the weak by the powerful. That logic or sentiment should aptly apply to the situation of the vulnerable and of the unborn in a world
dominated by the rich school men. Laws forbid injustice. The rationale for declaring minors as legally disabled, should apply to other disabilities arising out of: illiteracy, extreme poverty and failed leadership. In all these cases, the persons are described as “reason-unable”. The objective of the law, as I have stated earlier is to add another person as it were, to the disabled person so as to make him or her reason-able.
MORE ON AFRICAN DISABILITY
In addition to what I have said earlier, when it comes to African nations, the cumulative effects 16 of the following operate so as to make many decision-makers lack legal capacity on matters affecting the interests, rights and welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn. In the first place, poor nations on the whole, do not practice cultures that nourish a rule of law based on a duty of care. The result is a destructive selfishness and individualism that stifles learned collaborations.
The “every body for himself” or the survival culture of the poor destroys the ability to think of the good of others and of the temperament required to feel and to plan organically for the good of the collective. The poor, the desperate or the insecure might be so busy looking after his own immediate survival that whether he is a leader or not, he cannot of himself find the power and the desire to be a Samaritan, let alone a good Samaritan. Thus, in such cultures, the simplest suggestion as to need to sacrifice immediate gains or pleasures for the long-term interest of the
vulnerable or of the unborn, might seem strange, unreasonable and perhaps foolish. Those caught up in this disconnected and disconnecting spaces have great difficulties in forming the types of sober or harmonious teams, communities and institutions that lead to collective rationality over generations.
THE RULER ILLITERATE
The vast majority of the citizens of poor African nations, are illiterate. Most of the citizenry have very poor or not education and they lack the capacity to read, to analyze, to interpret and to use complicated data with highly specialized rules in systematic ways in order to be able to think, plan and act reasonably in the face of algorithyms and self-evolving applications and cheat-wares. This is not the place to discuss the countless consequences of illiteracy in an era of androids, quantum physics and space explorations. Suffices it to say that in a democracy, it is the majority that choose the government. If the majority be illiterate therefore, it is the illiterate who choose the governments of their nations. A true democracy operates much like the jury system.
The person who gets elected into office by the illiterate is or must be illiterate or closer to the illiterate. If the society be ignorant, whence the wisdom of its child? All things being equal, illiterates vote for illiterates or for someone having traits akin to those of the illiterate. The illiterates relate better to; they find kinship with and they vote for those persons who either think, speak and act like them or for someone who responds to their desperate calls for immediate painkillers.
The government of the illiterate majority is therefore, either illiterate or forced to rule in accordance with the pressing dictates of the illiterate. The immediate dictates of the illiterate concern the “here and now” and rarely contemplate such luxuries as the unborn and of the longterm effects of present actions of which the probabilities of which escape their superstitious calculus. There are of course, a few exceptions to this. It is possible for the illiterate to elect the wise to rule them but on the whole, this is rare. In a world of such great technical and scientific advances, to be a leader of the illiterate should be no sufficient qualification to deal legally for the millions and millions of the vulnerable and of the unborn. Illiteracy plus poverty is and ought to be treated as a form of legal disability in this brave new world dominated by teams of rich technocrats also known as investors. Illiteracy plus extreme poverty inevitably result in relative analytical confusion, false and illusionary interpretations of reality and to a type intellectual numbness on the part of the illiterate decision-maker in a way that makes him woefully incompetent vis a vis the learned schoolmen of the developed nations. Illiterate decision-makers function much like minors in the world of sophisticated and learned decision-makers. Therefore, when it comes to important transactions between the poor decision-maker and the rich decisionmaker affecting the unborn, the rules that apply to minors in respect of their legal status and responsibilities as disabled persons may be modified to apply to these governments. Another way of looking at the same thing is to rule that the intellectual, professional, the technical and the scientific gap between the illiterate leader and the schooled leader supported by countless teams of experts, is so wide that the former cannot possible protect the interests, rights and the wealth of the vulnerable and of the unborn. The poor leader must be treated as being so incapable as to require the assistance of the trust law for the protection of the vulnerable and of the unborn.
NON EST FACTUM
If for the sake of argument, it were stated that the government by the illiterate for the illiterate is not illiterate but learned, still it is my position that the learning of such a government would amount to functional ignorance as compared to the learning of say, the government of America, of Germany or of China. Competence is a function both of education, of numbers, of practices and of large quantities of the right currency. The intellectual, scientific, managerial and strategic competence of nations that have the financial, historic, cultural, technological, legal resources and the populations to support ten thousand research committees and advisory boards in various critical fields, is of a different order than the competence of those governments whose best advisors might be computer-illiterate prayer committees, old friends, wishful-thinkers or tribal consultants supported by insufficient donor-grants and conditionalities. Such governments are no match at all for the Olympian calculus of many of the nations they face in the global race for dominion over natural and artificial resources. The mental status of many poor decision-makers when faced with the coded demands of the rich schoolmen, give rise to functional ignorance also known as non est factum in equity or systemic cluelessness also known as structural incongruence and incoherence. Calling a space a spade, it would be reasonable to call many poor governments functionally illiterate or legally incompetent with respect to the specific task of protecting the interests, rights and wealth of the vulnerable and of the unborn. What I have said about the weaknesses of poor governments apply with a few exceptions to traders and professionals from those nations. Boot for boot, most of them are no match for their foreign counterparts. They are often outsmarted without much effort on the part of the foreigner. Thus, here again analogy of the minor-nation versus the adult-nation applies. When it comes to important transactions between the poor decision-maker and the rich decision-maker in matters affecting the vulnerable and the unborn, the rules that apply to minors in respect their legal status and responsibilities as disabled persons may be modified to apply to these persons as well. In addition, if we think of present generations as trustees for future generations of the scarce resources within a nation, it is unconscionable to expect the poor leader to be in charge of such resources with the foreseeable consequences of waste, of dissipations and irretrievable losses to the vulnerable and the unborn.
As a result of debilitating poverty amongst the majority in poor nations, democratic governments in those nations that wish to be re-elected are under enormous pressures to spend on immediate needs also known as mega development projects. The time-frame for the desperate is the immediate. The long-run is unrealistic and it does not matter for the very poor. This means that projects that have long term effects for the benefit of the unborn for example, but with no immediate benefits for the illiterate majority, have no good chance of being debated let alone
supported through hard to earn cash. Since it is the majority that votes, governments of poor nations are often forced to sacrifice the interest of the unborn or to sacrifice projects with long term benefits. They do so even the consequences of same would cause great foreseeable harm to the vulnerable and to the unborn. Poverty and its irrational pressures make governments of poor nations vulnerable to unscrupulous investors with loads of cash. The moneyed dealer can easily dictate any number of terms in exchange for scarce resources and agreements that cause or that are likely to cause serious injuries to the rights, interests and the welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn. The losers in such scheme are the powerless. The governments of the poor can be said to be under such serious financial pressures and that such pressures amount to duress under law.
CORRUPTION & INCOMPETENCE
In poor nations, the cumulative impact of poor education, of dysfunctional institutions, of the failure of organic nationhood and a weakening of the culture of the duty of care, is near universal corruption. Corruption becomes dominant when in a culture of “everybody is for himself” life becomes a desperate struggle for security and for survival. Under such circumstances, the rule of law operates as the rule of security. Being selfish becomes a rational way of accessing and ensuring security. In poverty, money becomes security and security becomes might, right, law:
justice. In such a desperate and insecure environment, decision-making cannot contemplate the interest of the other, of the vulnerable and of the unborn. In a culture of survival, selfishness is ‘rational’ conduct and operates to defeat the protection of third party interests also known as the duty of care.
It is clear that present generations of the poor nations hold the wealth of their nations in trust for future generations. Yet under the banner of false equality also known as the sovereignty of nations, no Guardian or Trustee has been appointed to prevent massive injustice to the interest of the unborn. No Public Guardian and Trustee has been appointed to stop transactions that cause or are likely to cause irreparable injuries to the welfare of the vulnerable and to the unborn. The lawyers and judges justifying and supervising this great injustice against the weakest peoples of the earth act as if justice were only a matter between individual persons or companies and not possible between peoples collectively described as nations. Yet, nations are or ought to be persons too. Indeed, nations are more of persons than the individual person. That is to say, that in so far as every person is a part of a nation, and can only survive only when the nation survives, the personhood of the nation ought to be more protected and superior. When a nation is described at law as a person with all the rights and responsibilities that follow thereof, it would be easy to see which nations are “minors” and which nations are adults and therefore, attracting the label of legal disability when their leaders speak and act. When nations are persons at law, it would be easy to see which nations are lacking legal capacity when they are acting under the continuing and overwhelming “influence” of crushing poverty, merciless plagues, wicked dictatorships, cavemen-management structures and retarded understanding of the world;
intellectual, functional and technological illiteracy and so forth.
It is plain for all to see that most poor nations or the great majority of leaders from poor nations lack the language, the energy, the sophistication, the learning, the orderliness, the emotions, the technological know-how, the duty of care and the rule of law to understand and to effectively apply the tools and the rules of global modern inventions for the protection of the welfare of the vulnerable and the unborn. The poor leaders lack the necessary ability to ‘do the math’ to foresee the consequences of the actions and omissions of the countless manifest and stealth actors in the market place. Many of the leaders and decision-makers and technocrats managing these poor nations are tired or frustrated before noon and they lack the necessary institutional, intellectual and emotional presence to be able to anticipate or to predict issues correctly relative to those of their learned and rich competitors. Poor nations operate as it were, on another planet. All the systems at play including the rules and languages of the market, of the machines and of the courts are foreign. The world is alien to them. Not being native to the so-called globalized
market, the poor decision-makers operate from the sidelines. Even with best efforts, the poor leaders are not let in through the door. They remain outsiders and are not allowed into the inner circles decision-making tables.
The poor nations therefore, do not know the identities of the key players and of the hidden rules of the world system that favors the rich technocrats. The poor leaders therefore, make decisions t “blindly”. Surely, such persons need guardians and trustees to take care of the business for the vulnerable and the unborn under their care. What I am saying is that whether you classify the poor nation as illiterate, sick, under undue-influence or as a child, she is incapable of protecting her vulnerable and her future children from the vultures of the global race. She qualifies to be described as legally disabled. If you wish to see whether what I am saying is in fact true, one only needs to examine any number of significant transactions at random between any poor nation and any third party and see how almost invariably, the agreement or project works injuries against the interest, rights and wealth of the vulnerable and of the unborn. For a number of reasons, decision-makers of poor nations rush to sign deals that invariably cause the vulnerable and the unborn greater and irreparable injuries to their environments, freedoms, health, opportunities and welfare. The rush to foolish transactions is manifest evidence of legal incapacity.
Many poor leaders are so overwhelmed with poverty, disease, corruption, chaos, ignorance and a culture dominated by a failure of the duty of care to the point that even when they are physically present during interactions with others, they are intellectually and emotionally absent at such meetings. With a few exceptions, the decision-makers of many poor nations do not have sufficient grasp of the methods, languages, tools, structures, algorithyms, interactivities and so that make up the forces of major competitor nations and of the deep global competition.
‘What about sovereignty of nations; won’t this law undermine the sovereignty of the nation’, you say? Let me ask you this. What sovereignty? Which poor nation is sovereign in fact? I am aware of the possible objection on the basis that any description of the poor nation as lacking legal capacity at law might lead to the institutionalization of further inequality of nations and a lowering of the status of poor nations in the world. The reply is simply that this is already going on. It is an open secret that Africa for example, is already described by some people as the “dark” continent; a “basket case”, “tragic” an “inferior” race and so on. In that context of insults and shaming, legal disability should be the least worry for them. Adding legal disability to the law is a corrective event and not a bad thing. It would add some form of assured protection for vulnerable and of the unborn and help protect scarce resources.
CONCLUSION & PROPOSED TRUST LAW
I have argued that poor leaders cannot protect the vulnerable and the unborn from the powers and actions of the powerful. We need a special law for the protection of the interests, rights and welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn. In order to simplify matters, I have drafted a proposed Act to assist. The Act is attached below as schedule. I would ask all stakeholders including governments and non-governmental organizations to review and to pass it with any amendments, to make it better. I would also ask the United Nations, including the Security Council to make this Act mandatory in every nation, with sanctions for failure to enact or enforce as required comply. Peace to the worlds!
THE VULNERABLE & THE UNBORN PERSONS
GUARDIAN & TRUSTEE ACT
A Bill Created by Nana Oppong
An ACT to establish the Vulnerable & The Unborn Persons Guardian & Trustee Authority, to act as guardian, trustee and lawful representative of the vulnerable and of the unborn of the nation.
The purpose of this Act is to take effective, efficient, timely and just actions to secure the best interests, rights, opportunities and the welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn of the nation and to prevent injurious, unjust and discriminatory treatment against them in all important matters, agreements, actions or proposed actions, laws and practices affecting the use or proposed use of national or community resources. The Act shall give power to the powerless; presence to the absent and voice to the voiceless.
ESTABLISHMENT OF THE VULNERABLE & THE UNBORN PERSONS GUARDIAN & TRUSTEE AUTHORITY
(1) There is established by this Act, the Vulnerable & The Unborn Persons Guardian & Trustee Authority.
(2) The Authority is a body corporate with perpetual succession, a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.
(3) The Authority may acquire and hold any property. It may enter into any lawful agreement or conduct any transaction consistent with this Act.
FUNCTIONS of the AUTHORITY
(1). The Authority, shall in co-ordination with the relevant institutions of state and other persons, including chiefs and heads of families in the nation, perform the following functions:
a). Act as the Guardian, Trustee and Attorney for the unborn and the vulnerable of the nation. In this Act, the vulnerable include the poorest, the excluded and the marginalized of the nation.
b). Faithfully defend and prosecute the interest of the unborn and of the vulnerable in any project or event of interest. For this purpose, the Authority shall have the right to be present or to make representations into every important transaction, agreement, project, undertaking made by any person in the nation affecting the lands, waters, atmosphere, debts, assets, resources, welfare and development of the nation which affect or has the potential to affect the vulnerable and the unborn.
c). Advise the Government and the traditional authorities on the best policies and practices for the advancement and protection of the strategic interests of the vulnerable and the unborn in all matters affecting the use or proposed use of national resources.
d). Take any lawful action including scientific assessments by qualified professionals on any existing or proposed project to determine their impact on the rights, interests and welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn.
e). Take any legal action including the commencement of any proceeding(s) in any Court of competent jurisdiction, to prevent any person from taking any action or proposed action that offends this act or that is foreseeably offensive to or inconsistent with this act. The court may grant any remedy that it deems appropriate to give effect to this Act.
f). The Authority may issue injunctions or orders and it may impose costs, damages, fines or conditions or issue notices, as deems fit against any person in order to give effect to this Act.
g). In the exercise of its mandate under this Act, the Authority shall have all the powers of the High Court under the Courts Act; and its orders may be enforced by any Court or any state institution or authority in order to give effect to this Act.
h). A panel of five members shall constitute the minimum number of persons for any decision under this Act. The decision of a panel shall be effective when it is made or approved unanimously or by the majority of the members.
h). Any person aggrieved by the decision of the Authority may appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal with a further right of appeal to the Supreme Court.
(2) The Authority shall perform such other functions and may pass any regulations as it might deem necessary to faithfully and efficiently fulfill its mandate under this Act.
(3) Where the Authority fails or refuses to act when required under this Act, any citizen of the nation may commence proceedings in the High Court, with notice to the Authority, to enforce this Act and the Court may grant such reliefs as it deems just, to give effect to this Act.
1). The Authority shall consist of a minimum of 13 persons representing all regions and constituents of the nation and chosen strictly on merit as the most qualified to carry out the functions in section 2 faithfully, efficiently and effectively. 3 members of the Authority shall be selected from the legislature, from the executive and from the judiciary.
2). The Executive and the Legislature shall have the responsibility for the appointment of members in accordance with the Constitution.
3). The Authority shall consist of a Chairman, a vice chairman, a secretary; and all other members shall be called Trustees.
4). All members of the Authority shall serve for a term of five years and may not be removed for political, tribal, gender or other unlawful grounds. A member of the Authority may be removed only for good cause and in accordance with due process.
5). Any member of the Authority aggrieved by his dismissal may apply to the Supreme Court under its supervisory jurisdiction, for the appropriate relief(s).
6). The Government shall provide sufficient funding and necessary resources to the Authority to enable it to carry its duties effectively and efficiently throughout, in accordance with the purpose and spirit of the Act.
Except for apparent error of law on the record, clear breach of natural justice or any decision clearly inconsistent with this Act or the Constitution, the Authority shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority, in the performance of its functions.
DECLARATIONS & INTERPRETATIONS
1. The natural resources and the assets of the nation belong to and are owned by all citizens of the nation including the unborn and the poorest, the weakest and the marginalized of the nation (referred to collectively as “the vulnerable”).
2. The natural resources and assets of Stools, Skins and Families belong to and are owned by the rightful members of the community in accordance with custom and tradition. The Chiefs and Heads of Families hold all resources and assets in trust for the benefit of the rightful members of the community. The rightful members of the community include the vulnerable and the unborn.
3. No agreement, transaction, project or undertaking shall be made by any person including the State, any Chief, or Head of Family, affecting the use or proposed use of national, Stool, Family or community resources that causes or is likely to cause significant or irreparable injuries to the interests, rights and welfare of the vulnerable and of the unborn.
4. Any law, regulation, agreement, transaction, project, direction, guideline, order or undertaking made by any person that is inconsistent with this Act or that is made in contravention of this Act is unlawful and it shall be null and void to the extent of the inconsistency or to the extent of its contravention of this Act.
5. All institutions of state; and all chiefs and heads of families, shall observe faithfully and strictly the provisions of this Act and they shall interpret the provisions of this Act liberally in order to help secure the purpose of the Act 6. The Courts, state institutions and all other authorities and persons, shall enforce all orders made by the Authority in accordance with the Act; and they shall interpret the provisions of this Act liberally in order to help secure the purpose of this Act without delays in the cost effective and just manner.
7. No amendment of this Act shall be lawful unless at least three-quarters of eligible voters in the country approve of the amendment(s) in a referendum conducted in accordance with the Constitution.
By NANA OPPONG
PRESIDENT OF THE DISTINGUISHED SCHOLARS OF AFRICA (DISTINSA)