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CJ Sophia Akuffo calls for action

She has won a million hearts. Yes, even many on the lunatic fringe for the senseless duopoly partisan politics cannot help but love her.

Yes, even those who called her names over the errant conduct of the infamous Montie-3 are celebrating her. She spent over thirty years writing judgments, and over twenty of those years in the Supreme Court resolving disputes, shaping national policy and developing Ghana law.

She became President of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and recently retired as Chief Justice of Ghana. But it is suggested that Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo has only now put her history in a far more endearing and enduring light when it comes to be written.

It is her decision to defy society’s hermit-like role for a former CJ; her decision to publicly show empathy when she joined poor old suffering pensioner bondholders to picket at the Ministry of Finance for exemption from Government’s Domestic Debt Exchange Programme.

The former CJ did not shy away from the microphones – only a few words in a brief but formidable legal advocacy pointing to violations of the sanctity of contract, wicked and unconscionable unilateral conduct, and the pensioners would get a voice that mutes pin-brained defences and forces Government to not only write but also publicly announce the exemption of these pensioners on 16th February 2023.

I share the view that her singular act has present and eternal value for our democracy. Law teacher Dr. Justice Srem Sai writes that she has erased the wrong impression held by some that people of high and distinguished standing in society and women must not be seen on the streets in demonstrations. Yes, protest marches, picketing and such social actions are guaranteed by our Constitution and regulated by the Public Order Act. Our democracy is hijacked by partisans for parochial group and self-interests.

Your ideal Ghana will elude you and generations if you went to sleep after voting. Let the desire for a good society move you to demand and compel the President to suspend or dismiss the Northern Development Authority CEO just as he has done to his two deputies. We allow wrong and grave injustice watching him sack those two officers who are facing same criminal prosecution with the CEO of the NDA.

How will staff dare to offer themselves as witnesses for the Special Prosecutor to prove what is said to be the naked GHC10 million corrupt act Martin Kpebu blew the whistle on? The case may be lost on that account. The OSP would have wasted time and resources, and the culprits will return to the conduct. In their manifestoes (2016 and 2020) they promised to pass the decade-old Conduct of Public Officers Bill into law to enhance the asset declaration regime in fighting corruption in public office.

It has taken a long period of hounding by Occupy Ghana for the revelation of Cabinet’s ‘secret decision’ to abandon the promise that won them power. There was also the repeated promise to amend the Constitution for districts to elect their DCEs. Government embarked on a rather cumbersome and expensive referendum process just so the amendment will serve partisan ends, instead of a modest no-cost parliamentary amendment that will simply remove the President’s power to appoint DCEs.

I started a campaign that saw a groundswell of opposition, and when defeat stared the President in the face, he aborted the mission. He insists it has to be done his way despite surveys, including by the CDD, showing overwhelming rejection of his preference.

Citizens cannot continue to be passive and feel powerless when the President will not listen to their cries for actions to save a broke economy. The President ignores all of you to keep Ken Ofori Atta in office. Yes, not even a majority of his party MPs could win as long as he had the party on his side.

Thomas Jefferson was right that “[i]t is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.” Wake up! Speak up! And that, is My Take.


Writer: Samson Lardy Anyenini

Editor’s Note: Samson Lardy ANYENINI is a Ghanaian lawyer and journalist who works for Multimedia Ghana’s Joy Fm. He hosts Joynews and  Joy FM’s weekend current affairs news analysis Newsfile programme. He won the category of Best Journalist for 2019 GIJ Annual Awards.

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