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Ambassador Haruna Atta Writes: Who Judges The Judges?

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“Democracy rots slowly. Sometimes its decay is perfectly legal, helped along by legislatures and embraced by the courts. It happens when elected officials deliberately tilt the game to their own advantage.”

The human being is one heck of a judging machine. The eyes, the nose, the skin, the tongue and their master organ, the brain, are in constant judging, 24/7, from birth to death. We judge to stay alive, but that is nature’s or evolution’s package to help our survival.

And when we have survived, we come up with our own rules to judge us along. Democracy, over the millennia, has come to be accepted by many as the most acceptable yardstick, with its in-built control mechanisms of the executive, legislature and judiciary. Whereas the executive and legislature subject themselves to time-limited tenures through elections, members of the judiciary, to be precise, judges, enjoy protected tenures till retirement of the individual judge as established by law.

Society lavishes judges with all manner of goodies, privileges, security and more, which those not so privileged can only drool at. It is not because they are any more intelligent than the rest of us, but it is so that they will not stray from the straight and narrow in the discharge of their duties. “My lord”, “your honour”, “your lordship” is exalted titles reserved only for judges. And why not? After all, they are expected to dispense justice – one of the most sacred attributes of the human race…

The second part of my heading and first paragraph of this commentary, are borrowed from an article in the Guardian, and captures the kind of angst I have been going through since January 7 2017. Another writer, obviously having had Donald Trump, the outgoing US president up to his neck, without mincing words, describes the US president as a buffoon. Quite a strong one there! I share in the writer’s frustration, because it reminds me of my own Ghanaian context: The 4 years of Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

I wonder: What artistic license can I also employ to best describe my attitude to Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo-Addo in his role in my country’s democracy? A buffoon, he definitely is not! What comes to mind immediately is a three-letter word: A Con? It kind of, catches the idea of a decaying entity, democracy in this case. You know, the proverb that talks about the decay of a fish starting from the head.

The tenure of Mr. Akufo-Addo in the executive office has seen a collusion between the executive and judiciary that makes nonsense of the principle of the separation of powers, with the legislature (majority) thrown in for good measure. This is the kind of collusion the writer has flagged as helping the rot and decay of democracy to advance.

With the con that our democracy has become, the judiciary seems to have allowed itself to be taken along down the road of infamy. I have had my own personal run-in with this particular institution and so I know what I am talking about. By the way, I went in for contempt, not criminal libel as often perceived.

I was not pardoned by any president and definitely not by President Kufuor as some mischief makers have been bandying about. It was one case, in my judgement that did not end in justice – or because I am not a judge, I am not entitled to pass judgement? I have since moved on, and actually now able to laugh at the two elderly judges who pressed for my “pornishment”. As I was to discover later, they had been promised seats on the supreme court. They have since died and the man under whose tenure they felt I should be “pornished” also died late last year, and still waiting to be interred…

As you can imagine therefore, judges are of much interest to me. Recently, a judge gave a relation of mine what I and many others thought was a very excessive sentence exercising his political power and not judicial discretion. You see, judges can do that, because we have given them the authourity to judge and sentence. Not only that, we have also given them wide privileges and rights to insulate and protect themselves in the discharge of their duties. All of that because, we want them to rise above the rest of us and resist the temptation of personal greed, political pressure and business conflicts of interests – in other words eschew corruption.

And so it came to pass that today judges are among the most derided, the most distrusted and most untrustworthy arbiters, because some of them have stumbled from the straight and narrow. They will not recuse themselves from cases that are clearly conflicts of interest, they allow partisan politics to colour and sway their decisions, etc.

The words “These judges” I keep hearing a lot of the time as the heartbreaking laments by people to express regret about a noble institution that finds pandering to partisan politics more noble than fairness and (natural) justice. They will inspire fear, but respect, I am not sure.

We all need judging as and when necessary but who judges the judges? A class of people that are more in need of judgement than the rest of us lesser mortals especially when it comes to sustaining our democracy. “Democracy rots slowly. Sometimes its decay is perfectly legal, helped along by legislatures and embraced by the courts.” Ghana has not been immune from this rot and decay as events have been unfolding in this our 4th Republic! It’s now so glaring that people are able to predict accurately the outcomes of certain particular cases that are placed before our courts.

I must confess, I was one of the people who had argued against sending a petition on Election 2020 to the SC, but after a while, I said, what the hell, it’s our democracy after all, let us rally to its defence, and where else but in court?! Very depressing for my pessimism and the same time very enervating for rallying to the side of our democracy.

All is not lost, though. Looking down south out of the ECOWAS sub-region to Malawi, judges of the constitutional court of this very poor country, did the needful and are now the toast of the civilised world. To those five judges of Malawi’s constitutional court, it is with pride and respect that I join Chatham House in saying Bravo, Me Lords!

By Amb. Abdul-Rahman Harruna Attah, MOV

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SUJIMOTO: Starting 2021 With An Attitude Of Gratitude

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“Giving for us in Sujimoto is beyond Corporate Social Responsibility, it is a Lifestyle! Nothing inspires me more than touching the lives of others, because if no one had given me a chance, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

These were the golden words of the MD/CEO of Sujimoto, Mr. Sijibomi Ogundele, when he decided to reach out and touch the lives of ordinary and hardworking Nigerians, who have been the most affected by the Corona Virus pandemic that has crippled businesses and economies world over.

2020 has been a very tough year! From the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world, to the tension of #EndSARS agitation, where many lives were lost; and more recently the economic recession that we have finally plunged into as a nation, 2020 has indeed been a very tough year. If for anything, 2020 taught us about the importance of gratitude and the frailty of life. More importantly, it has taught us the significance of being our neighbours’ keeper – we need each other to survive. In the words of Sijibomi Ogundele; “If your neighbour is hungry, your chicken is not safe”.

From Falomo to Agege, the Sujimoto Santa stormed the streets of Lagos, rewarding diligent Nigerians with large hampers and envelopes of cash meant to empower and put smiles on the faces of these vulnerable but hardworking Lagosians.

Leading the Sujimoto team, Mr. Ogundele himself, took to the streets of Lagos to proliferate the good news of love to Lagosians who are striving at different levels to earn an honest living and fend for themselves and their families. People who despite the economic downturn, have decided have been resolute and resilient in their quest to provide for their families.

According to Mr. Ogundele, “One of such lucky Lagosians was a pregnant hawker by the name Mercy, who we later learnt has been abandoned by husband. I was sad to see this lady, heavily pregnant but still trying to provide for herself and her unborn child. It is interesting to see how enterprising she is despite her condition. She reminded me of the resilience of most Nigerian women, in the face of hardship. Same resilience that took my trader mother from Ijebu Igbo to Lagos, to become one of the major distributors for Nestle Nigeria, just as the lady moved from one tray to multiple gifts. We have launched a campaign to find her and better her life.

Another beneficiary of the Sujimoto Santa was a middle-aged traffic warden at Ogudu roundabout. A woman who is known in that community as a very committed and a dedicated traffic warden, never leaving her duty post, come rain or shine, always ensuring the traffic is smooth in that axis and she is known for always wearing a smile.

According to Mr. Ogundele, ‘An incredible, selfless and patriotic Civil Servant like her deserves special recognition for her selfless service to her country people. While we appreciated her with cash gift and a bumper hamper, we believe that people like her should be specially rewarded by the government to serve as an inspiration for the younger generations.”

From Ikorodu to Ogudu, Sujimoto also reached out to unsuspecting petty traders, group of highway managers, industrious disabled men who did not allow their condition affect their hustle and many others.

Despite all that 2020 came with, the MD still made all Sujimoto staff, do the Gratitude jump in recognition of what 2020 represents to many more. In his New Year Address to Nigerians, Mr. Ogundele reiterated his stance on the need to start 2021 with an attitude of gratitude. According to him;

“Be a source of HOPE to the hopeless, because 2020 has shown us all that we are all interconnected. What happens to one, affects everyone else. Therefore, when our neighbour bleeds, we all bleed.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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Don’t Allow Passengers To Eat In Buses, It Will Defeat The Fight Against Covid Spread – Dr Think Twice Tells Drivers Unions

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The President of a policy Think Tank on Social Interventions Policies, a Consultant and Activist on Societal Prressures, an ambassador for the fight against COVID 19, Mr Ernest Birmeh aka Dr. Think Twice is caling on all drivers unions across the country as a matter of urgency, to stop all passengers from eating in buses to reduce spread of the deadly virus. He said this when he personally had interaction with passengers on board VIP, STC and some executives of GPRTU in Accra. As part of his ambassadorial role in the fight against COVID 19, he was able to educate passengers about the second wave of the virus and the need to curtail the spread.

“The second wave of the deadly virus might take us with overwhelming surprise if we don’t put up a consensus efforts to curb it immediately. The current infection rate per reports from health authorities is something we shouldn’t take lightly. Therefore, it should be a collective responsibility of all stakeholders to get involved, put up collective strong measures to curb the spread of the virus”

“One of the formidable measures that can ensure the curtailment of the virus, is to ensure no passenger eats in every bus. Eating in vehicles has a potential capability of spreading the virus. Every passenger is mandated to wear a nose mask before boarding a vehicle, therefore, to eat in the vehicle definitely will call for the removal of the nose mask. Eating could attract spillage of saliva as well as sneezing, if a person is a carrier, definitely, he shares the virus to other passengers” He told passengers plying from Accra to other regions across the country.

“Therefore, all drivers union across the country should ensure passengers traveling both long and short distances don’t eat in buses. Long distance buses, should give passengers enough time to eat at stopovers, wear their nosemasks before boarding buses” He concluded.

Source: THINK TWICE FOUNDATION GHANA.

CONTACT. 0203003178/0556754709

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You Are A Hypocrite – Maurice Ampaw Tells Prof. Jane Naana

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Maurice Ampaw, a private legal practitioner, has said that the vice-presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress, Professor Jane Naana Opoku-Agyemang, has no moral right to comment on Kennedy Agyapong’s recent outburst.

Naana Opoku-Agyemang on Thursday waded into the issue, likening Kennedy Agyapong’s verbal abuse of a High Court judge to the infamous Montie Three case.

The NDC running mate intimated that the conduct of the MP is a slap in the face of the law and graver than the Montie Three. She noted that a fair application of the law should see the MP tried in a court for verbally attacking a judge.

But in a sharp rebuttal on Neat FM, Maurice Ampaw called Opoku-Agyemang out for being a hypocrite.

Maurice Ampaw rebuffed her statement that the conduct of Kennedy Agyapong is graver than the Montie Three, stating that the Montie Three did not only abuse the then Chief Justice verbally but also threatened to rape and kill her.

Ampaw said that Opoku-Agyemang’s hypocrisy is one that he is yet to witness in the country.

“There is a difference between Kennedy Agyapong’s behaviour and that of the Montie Three. Prof is a hypocrite and doesn’t have the moral right to comment on this case. I can’t describe her hypocrisy. She is the last person I’m expecting to comment on this case. The Montie Three guys committed a crime. Threats of death and attempt to rape are criminal matters”.

Source: GhanaFeed.Com

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