The United States-based Global Integrity has named Ghana and Kenya as the African countries where the independence of the judiciary is under serious threat.
In its latest report: Africa Integrity Indicator 2019, the Global Integrity said, “The independence of the judiciary is under threat: In several countries, notably Ghana and Kenya, governments have taken steps to hamper the independence of the judiciary.”
The report went on further: “The appointing architecture for members of the judiciary does not support judicial independence, as the judges’ (particularly to superior courts) appointments are recommended by a Judicial Council whose honorarium is determined by the executive arm of government, which also nominates judges. The Judicial Council has the sole discretion to determine qualifications without any publicized criteria. The law currently states that the president is not bound by the recommendations of the Judicial Council. The missing element of transparency in the appointments, therefore, casts doubt on the independence of the judiciary,”
According to the report, the judicial setup of Ghana makes it easier for judges to determine cases that favour the ruling government. “The fact that the president wields such influence on who becomes a justice of the Supreme Court may have some judges determining cases in favour of the ruling government in order to be rewarded with promotion,” the report read.
The report specifically pinpointed a situation where four judges were promoted to the Supreme Court after two of them had sat on a committee that recommended the removal of three commissioners of the independent Electoral Commission (EC), including the Chairperson, Charlotte Osei who is perceived as non-sympathetic to the current administration.
Ms Osei was speculated to have been appointed by the previous administration of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) because of a supposed soft-spot for the party.
“The appointments of four Supreme Court justices in July 2018 were made through the same procedure of recommendation, and these appointments came after two of the justices had sat on a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the executive on a matter related to the purported conduct of three commissioners of the independent Electoral Commission. These judges recommended the removal of the commissioners in a move that was largely perceived by the general public to be part of the ruling government’s agenda,” the report read.
The Global Integrity has been releasing such reports every year since 2013, and the Africa-specific part of the report assesses the state of governance and aspects of social development across all 54 African countries.
The report produces data through 102 indicators in 13 categories addressing transparency and accountability, as well as social development.
“Our goal is simple: to build accurate and reliable data, with an interface that enables the data to be examined at the country level…We want our data to empower actors at the national and regional and international levels working to advance governance reforms, and to foster a discussion on how governance challenges can be tackled,” the report explained its objectives.
Source: Whatsupnews Ghana