Former Justice of the Supreme Court, William Atuguba has bemoaned the current state of Ghana’s judicial sector.
Speaking at a public lecture organized by Solidaire Ghana in collaboration with the University of Ghana on the theme: ‘Protecting our democracy; the role of the judiciary’, October 24, he said “where Ghana stands now is a cause for grave lamentation.”
According to him, the increasing loss of hope of young Ghanaians and Africans in general in the democratic experiment as seen in their strong support for military juntas is a matter of grave concern.
Delivering the lecture in the Kofi Drah Hall at the University of Ghana, he noted that much of the disappointment with the democratic experiment can be blamed on the failure of the judiciary to assert itself by being impartial and independent.
He noted that particularly in Ghana, the political machinations of the executive have rendered the judiciary a rubber stamp leading to a waning belief in the country’s justice system.
He said the only way out is the “realistic auditing and restructuring of the Judiciary and indeed all other governmental institutions because just as the cyanide of illegal mining galamsey has devastated our forest lands and poisoned our water bodies so also has the cyanide of Political Corruption poisoned our Governance Institutions.”
He called for the total independence of bodies that make appointments to the judiciary and any other governance institution.
He said appointments must be “based on nothing but merit and not on things like protocol, cronyism, ethnicity, or other improper considerations.”
He added that the judiciary must be realistically insulated against presidential and other political pressures and service conditions must be reasonably attractive and security of tenure of office must be enshrined.
“The Executive Powers of the President and his functionaries must be drastically curtailed. There must be real separation of parliament from the Executive branch. The emphasis should be on good and sincere governance in the interest of the people and not on hollow over exaggerated notions of electoral conferment of power on anybody or group of persons,” he said.
Justice Atuguba added that “no meaningful political reforms can be reasonably expected even under a regime change without sustaining the Political Renaissance which has started and is growing well in Ghana.”
He urged the new vanguards of Ghana’s democratic experiment to remain nationalistic no matter the regime in power and continue their quest for true constitutionalism for the country.