Erratum: kpanaa / kpanaku

In reference to my posts titled, “Our Attitude to Trades & Labour” and “Our Attitude to Craftsmanship” …

I pointed out in my last 2 posts that some Ghanaian peoples so celebrated craftsmanship, that their vocabulary included words which specifically capture the passion for excellence. I erroneously used the word kpanaku as an example, in referring to the practice of the GaDangbe of Ghana. I should have used kpanaa instead; such as,

… we used to categorize a respected, successful expert in any vocation as kpanaa; as in carpenter fonyo kpanaa, a respected, successful, expert carpenter.

I owe this correction to my cousin, Abe Markwei and am grateful to him for it.

Our Attitude to Craftsmanship

Concluding remarks on the work ethic in Ghana

I mentioned in my last post that among the GaDangme, we used to categorize a respected, successful expert in any vocation as kpanaku; as in carpenter fonyo kpanaku, a respected, successful, expert carpenter. We spoke of them with great respect, earned respect. We expected much of them. They knew it and made every effort not to disappoint. The kpanaku craftsman went to great lengths to make certain his work and conduct spoke of his character, his skillfulness and ingenuity. He reached out to and moderated the conduct and work of those who successfully understudied him too. He was that sensitive, in part, because the commendations he received from customers were his only means of advertising and assuring continuing and rewarding commissions.

I’ve no reason to believe that this recognition was expressed among the GaDangme people only. I mention it merely by way of demonstrating that based on our traditions, at least some Ghanaian peoples used to be sensitive to exceptional craftsmanship, or expertise; so much so in fact, that it is represented in the vocabulary of their native tongue.

Aplaŋke

Practicioners of the trades had systems of apprenticeship in the old days, which ensured that their wards gained both skill and desired ethics from associating with their masters, or mistresses. I’ll use the much maligned aplaŋke for illustration. (Aplaŋke is pronounced with the nasal n and with emphasis on the last syllable; its the Ga name for an apprentice commercial truck driver). The aplaŋke in La would be committed to the charge of his Master after his parents had presented the required drinks. He’d take up residence in his Master’s household and spend months and months running errands and washing vehicles, while his Master observed him in different settings. He did himself good, if he too observed the conduct of his fellow apprentices and Master, to acquire social skills and gather the unspoken tricks of their trade. If he conducted himself properly, he’d be taught to park a vehicle the right way after it had been washed at the close of business, which would mark his transitioning from a greenhorn to an apprentice in training on the skills and ethics of the craft.

His Master would supervise his acquisition of skills from there; including minor truck repairs, until he judged the apprentice ready to take a road test and gain a commercial driver’s license. At that stage, the apprentice’s parents would present the initiation fee, the Master would lead the apprentice to the vehicle drivers’ licensing office (which used to be run by the Police) and introduce him to the right contact as a protégé who is now ready to take the road test. The system of apprenticeship was structured; it was self-regulated and in large part, it worked to maintain good craftsmanship in the trades, in days now past.

The social network for producing a steady flow of ŋaalɔi (craftsmen) in Ghana has been under siege for many years now and as a result, is now unrecognisable. Many parties and causes have acted together to sustain this siege.

  1. One such cause is accelerated urbanization, which has wreaked our social fabric, as it does wherever it occurs;
  2. Another cause is of course, our monotheistic worship and rewarding of university based, tertiary education, which attitude robs the trades of invigorating new talent from among the youth of Ghana. (One of the current challenges of North America is the large number of young adults and middle aged persons who are educated to the hilt, but lack employable skills in demand on the job market. They many of them drift into full, or part-time jobs in the service sector, serving tables in restaurants, etc. The challenge is not unfamiliar to Ghanaian parents of university graduates who possess non-vocational degrees; like maths, sociology, etc).
  3. A third cause worth mentioning here is frustration of the heightened expectations by our youth, for better lives than previous generations enjoyed. Their access to information is unparalleled in all of history. Information presented to them on creature comforts enjoyed by fellow humans in this very age, through books, magazines, television, the Internet, etc clearly show them the degree of deprivation both their parents and they have been experiencing and leaves them craving for a better life. Yet our society has steadfastly failed to meet their expectations.

In the absence of sufficient legitimate opportunities to afford that better life, our youths have been cutting short, or in most cases, shunning the slow, rigorous training offered through apprenticeships. After all, the quality of life enjoyed by the masters are nothing to dream about or aspire towards. In the circumstance, they’ve turned in increasing and alarming numbers to illegal, improper, harmful activities, in their thirst for a better quality of life than the grinding poverty they witness in the lives of their parents and neighbours. This underscores the phenominal growth of practices like:

  • Sakawa – email and social media based internet fraud rooted in impersonations (otherwise referred to as 419),
  • Galamsey – illegal, environmentally disastrous small scale gold mining,
  • Fraudulent sale of land,
  • Undocumented emigration,
  • Slavery in Arabia (which we prefer to treat as fiction).

These and many other causes have left us with an acute shortage of competent, reliable tradesmen in Ghana. Yet we cannot sincerely blame the dearth of craftsmen solely on our youths’ thirst for instant gratification. There is  another significant contributor; the cynical attitude to excellence which is common in Ghanaian society.

Conspiracy of the Inept

We regularly sneer at our neighbour as being too know (a smart alec), in reaction to his insistence on, or attempts at reaching excellence. Employees and tradesmen frequently complain about the pickiness of an employer, because in their eyes, the employer is doing something too much (a nitpicker).

  1. Many of those who sneer at, or complain about exacting standards are driven by the fear of being shown up as inept, in comparisons with accomplished neighbours.
  2. Others are so comfortable with the familiar that they dread any attempts at reaching for something better.
  3. Yet others so yearn for inclusion that they feel threatened by anyone who attempts to differentiate himself by making the extra effort to reach excellence.
  4. And then of course, there are those who are driven by ahuoryaa (Akan word for malicious envy; an attitude of envy, resentment and jealousy expressed in malevolence towards the subject, purposely to undermine or disrupt his progress).

The dread of excellence is common among many, but by no means definitive of the Ghanaian. Regrettably though, we’ve unwittingly allowed the inept to establish a milieu of mediocrity in the nation. That is regrettable, because excellence; such as the excellence of craftsmanship, thrives in a domain of sincere appreciation and celebratory reward, not in the cowardly confines of forced inclusiveness and sameness; as when all are compelled to wear the same school uniform, study the same subjects, do the same things, receive the same rewards. In the sameness setting, where will anyone find the motivation to strive harder and for longer than all others as he reaches for excellence, when he knows damn well that he will be rewarded in the exact same way as the mediocre? Ironically, we’re nevertheless dismayed that in most cases, we don’t encounter the same quality in products made locally, as we do in foreign made products.

Where Do We Go From Here?

These are of course, social issues you and I can’t do anything about in the immediate circumstance of a leaking faucet, Nico van Staalduinen; especially if our wives keep reminding us of the nuisance the leak is causing in the bathroom, or kitchen. There’s much our formal leaders like elected politicians and traditional chiefs can do about these social trends, but that’s for another conversation. So, I return to the leaky faucet and say, here are some things worth thinking about, to reduce the urgency of the immediate:

  • Since I’ve never had the joy of repairing a faulty and really annoying faucet myself, I’d find out as much as I can from the internet, about what things can go wrong when one attempts to repair such a faucet. Youtube is an especially rich source of such details;
  • Next, I’d ask my neighbours and associates how they rate the plumbers they last used and what their shortcomings were;
  • I’d take the contact of the best rated plumber, reach out to him and let him know that there’s a job awaiting him on the recommendation of a named neighbour; that he shouldn’t shame his sponsor by fouling up the job;
  • I’d set him at his ease when we meet and interview him informally on how he intends to avoid the hazards associated with this job, based on my internet research;
  • If he proves to be a good listener and a thoughtful, resourceful person, he gets the job, plus my continuing encouragement and promise of further commendations. If he doesn’t, I’ll thank him for his time and move on to the next recommended plumber on my shortlist.

Of course, if a Better Business Practitioners database is up and running by the time a faucet goes south in my house or business place, then I won’t have to bother my neighbours at all. I’ll simply subscribe for the service, identify and reach out to the most commended plumber who is also nearby and who knows where the online service will take us? (I suggested the Better Business Practitioners online service under the subtitle, Ways Out of This Value Pit, in my last post). ©

Our Attitude to Trades & Labour

Extending the conversation on the work ethic in Ghana further

Diamonds present us with an interesting paradox. They’re made of carbon, an element rated as the 6th most common in the universe. They’re made of the same element as graphite and soot, just physically different from them. Yet we attribute so much more value to diamonds than we do to the other allotropes, or physical forms of carbon, for a number of reasons. Yes, they have many valued uses, more than soot does, even though both are made of the same element. They’re exceptionally hard, but when you do succeed in cutting and polishing gem quality ones, they glitter in light, don’t get tarnished, or worn out with the passage of time and are very attractive. Those are some of the qualities which make gem diamonds great investment instruments. We call them priceless, because we have an attitude towards them. Diamonds are rare and gem quality diamonds are even more rare, which makes us feel secure in keeping the gems as investment instruments.

The value a society attaches to any class of objects, activities, or roles is appointed in part, by their usefulness to the society, but also, by the attitude which the society’s members cultivate towards them. We attach great value to cut and polished gem diamonds, because among other things, we believe they aren’t easily replaceable and we have an attitude of preference for what is valued and irreplaceable.

How We See Them

Sadly, we the people of Ghana have a deprecatory attitude towards the trades and labour. We esteem the professions which require many more years of formal education in tertiary institutions very highly, which isn’t a bad thing. However, we’re also openly disdainful of those roles which develop the skills of their practitioners through years of apprenticeship and performance, which attitude is altogether unnecessary. We approach persons who occupy office based, often clerical roles demurely, while also being careful to be gruff with, or even dismissive of skilled tradesmen and manual workers.

Both customers and Makola women (stall traders) in the open market bazaars beret and cheat the kayayei (porters) who assist them, yet the bazaars can’t function efficiently for the benefit of trader and customer, without intervention by kayayei. Our lack of respect for and in some cases, hostile attitude towards practitioners of the trades and providers of labour defines the low value we attach to their roles in our economy. The attitude conveys the society’s low expectations of those providers of service and encourages them to maintain low expectations of themselves.

This wasn’t always so, among the peoples of Ghana. In years past, long past, we called the tradesman a ŋaalɔ in Ga (pronounced with the nasal ñ; ñaalor). It translates literally to a shrewd, ingenious person. The lead ŋaalɔ in the community was often the blacksmith, or the goldsmith who forged tools, or intricate, fascinating artifacts out of earth, using fire. They were regarded as mystics and mothers would often rush to them with their hapless wards who had just suffered burns from trampling on hot charcoal, or tripping over the hot pot of soup. They’d bring their wards in their distress, because they believed that these workers of fire somehow knew how to numb the pain and ameliorate the effect of the burn on the victim’s flesh. Plus of course, if you needed a useful implement fashioned for you, the blacksmith was the one to go to. If you wanted a high value artefact to show off with, you went to the goldsmith. So we trusted them; we respected them; we honoured them. They were aware of the esteem we accorded them, carried themselves accordingly and taught their apprentices to do likewise and maintain decorum in their practice of the trades.

A medical doctor, engineer, lawyer, nurse, carpenter, blacksmith, or any other professional of good repute was described as kpanaku, in Ga; an acknowledgement of his exceptional expertise in his chosen vocation, in times past. Since we became monotheistic worshippers of formal education though, we’ve found it necessary to not only over rate the contribution of formal education institutions, but also importantly and with the fervour of new converts, to disparage vocations which require less formal instruction and more on the job training, as well as the unskilled labour force. This culture of denigration doesn’t spare teachers either.

Its no surprise that in this culture, practitioners of the trades and labour keep low performance goals and are offended, when we insist that they improve the quality of their work or service delivery. Our attitude conveys the clear message that their work is of little value to us and they are easily replaceable, unlike cut, polished gem diamonds.

Ways Out of this Value Pit

Nico van Staalduinen, I started by saying in my previous post, that I was going to extend the conversation you initiated in your LinkedIn post of March 31, 2017. Your article aired frustrations both your wife and you have experienced in employing fellow Ghanaians, or using Ghanaian service providers to further both business and private goals; frustrations which I said were very familiar. However, the comments I’ve made above relate to attitudes commonly held in Ghana; big picture matters which neither you nor I can affect immediately. So, I’ll remain true to my intention of contributing to the conversation you started, by suggesting some changes we can bring about through personal initiative.

You no doubt will have noticed that your fellow Ghanaians are on the whole, image conscious. We’re very concerned about the opinion of society about us. Its one of the reasons why we dress up elegantly to attend church service and also, at the drop of a hat. Its one of the reasons why we go to great lengths and beyond our means, to bury the same person we’d given little attention to while he, or she was alive and needed us. I believe we can leverage this sensitivity to public image for common advantage.

Let your Ghanaian employees or service providers know even more emphatically from the onset of your relationship, that you have great faith in their character, their willingness to listen attentively to you, to receive your remarks in good faith and reflectively and to meet the needs you articulate as best as they can. Don’t allow them to forget that those are important reasons why you gave them the job over their competitors. Remind them of these things as often as you have the opportunity to. Reward their honest efforts at adhering to these attributes with immediacy in mind, but in ways which make business sense.

With regard to a prospective employee, consider requiring him to provide guarantors prior to contract; persons whose opinions about the candidate are obviously important enough to him to affect his behaviour. Perhaps you should think again about hiring a prospect, if he can’t come up with say, 2 such guarantors you can readily reach out to. In years long past, he’d have been working for his father, or senior uncle and would be in dread of being scolded by them, if he slackened, or acted improperly to undermine their interest.

For service providers, or tradesmen, consider setting up a secure online referral service in association with other like-minded persons. A database of Better Business Practitioners might register individual service providers, or tradesmen by their Ghana Card number and other attributes. By way of illustration, the service might allow an online subscriber to:

  1. 1.   Record the user’s own identification details;
  2. 2.   Access an individual tradesman’s record;
  3. 3.   Rank the tradesman for specified attributes, like punctuality, quality of work, honesty, adherence to promises, etc;
  4. 4.   Record comments on the user’s overall experience in dealing with the tradesman;
  5. 5.   View rankings by other customers of the tradesman;
  6. 6.   View related rankings by the same customers (to identify and report predatory behaviour or trash talk by ill-willed users, or fake reviews).

A few thoughts … they’re not without risk, but neither is doing nothing devoid of risk. My contribution on our attitude to craftsmanship follows. ©

Do We Know or Care?

Extending the conversation on the work ethic in Ghana

Nico van Staalduinen, who is Ghanaian by choice and Dutch by descent, published a letter online in March this year on the work ethic in Ghana and invited fellow Ghanaians to contribute to the conversation on the subject. You can access his letter under this link.

There was undeniable clarity in van Staalduinen’s expression of frustration at the work ethic of Ghanaian employees and service providers he’d met and I found the specific practices, non-performances and attitudes he highlighted familiar; very familiar in fact and for that reason, grotesquely comforting. I begin my response to his invitation from that comfort.

Significantly, the President himself took up the same theme in his May Day address, agreeing with van Staalduinen on many points and extending the list of anomalies in our work ethic into areas hitherto unmentionable in much of official Ghana. Areas such as, “We have no respect for the hours set aside for work … we pray, we eat, we visit during working hours. We spend hours chatting on the telephone when customers are waiting to be served, thereby increasing our labour costs. We take a week off for every funeral. And then we wonder why we are not competitive.”

My contribution to the conversation will touch on the following issues which, in my opinion, are relevant to understanding and affecting the work ethic in Ghana:

1 – History of economic relationships in Ghana;
2 – Our attitude to the trades and labour;
3 – Our attitude to craftsmanship.

I conclude each of these topics with some suggestion, or suggestions on the way forward in managing our trade relationships for greater competitiveness, better productivity and more benefit to all parties.

History of the Economic Relationships

The region we call Ghana has a collection of peoples who share a common system of land ownership; a communal ownership from which all titles derive. It has been reported that titles to some 80% of the landmass is traceable to communities which had possession and control of those lands through their governing chiefs and elders, from antiquity (see Land Ownership & Economization: A Rethink for Ghana, for example). The remaining 20% are owned by the Republic as state lands, or the Republic in association with the original possessory communities, as vested lands. The land; including fishing rights to associated water bodies, constituted the primary form of capital in the communities. It is my view that the prevalent form of its ownership had a defining impact on the development of both capital and labour in the region.

The communal form of ownership contrasted with the feudal regime which developed in Europe. There, the few owned much of the land, constituted the nobility, extracted rent from tenant peasants and accumulated surpluses which they classified as capital, differentiating it from the other two factors of production, land and labour, in classical economics. It appears to me that the feudal system of land ownership facilitated the emergence of a landless labour force. Majority in that category offered themselves to the nobility as indentured servants, to keep body and soul together. A fewer number of them acquired skills and became journeymen and latterly, professional service providers. A small minority joined the band who are mostly portrayed in literature as mean merchants. Otherwise, they linked up with adventurers, as desperate explorers and settlers in new lands.

On the other hand, in the region we now call Ghana, any who were able bodied and accepted as members of the community were entitled to a portion of the land (or primary capital) to farm on, to hunt in, or then to fish in the community’s water bodies, including the adjacent seas. The extent of their land holdings was related to what they could possess, protect and control with the aid of members of their household. Therefore, there was an economic incentive to have many wives, children and close relations in one’s homestead. They constituted the source of labour to the agrarian entrepreneur. There were no landless, able bodied labourers available to hire on demand.

An ambitious farmer could buy and deploy slaves on his farm, in addition to his household members. He could acquire them as his portion of the spoils of war too, but always, on the social contract that he integrate them into his household and be responsible for their wellbeing and conduct in society, to the same extent that he was responsible for other members of his household. (Akosua Nketia Perbi offers an interesting narrative on this matter in her book, A History of Indigenous Slavery in Ghana).

The slaves became his wards in the community and were expected to protect the rights of the community to their primary source of capital, against hostile parties; just as other members of the community were. In that sense and in the sense that their efforts in promoting the enterprise were rewarded proportionately by their owners, they shared the proprietary passion for the enterprise with other members of the entrepreneur’s household, who were their co-workers, as I’ve pointed out. The head of the enterprise looked out for the interests of all his co-workers and attempted to assist them financially as best as he could, during challenging times. They looked to him to assist them with marriage, child naming, housing, funeral and other big spending needs and it was natural for him to step in on such occasions, because they were his household members.

This patriarchal model of employment changed with the introduction of foreign trading enterprises, with increasing urbanization and with the abolition of slavery. Workers in an enterprise no longer necessarily had a family bond, or master – slave relationship with their employer. Therefore, there was no longer a basis for the traditional proprietary passion they’d carried for the enterprise they were working on. It did not help their sense of commitment that many of these enterprises were owned by foreigners, or the tax exacting colonial government, in the case of public service delivery agencies. Neither did the separation of capital owners from labour help. That separation was formalised with the introduction of trade unions and collective bargaining. Now, just to be clear, I’m in no way advocating for, or condoning the practice of slavery. I’m merely describing a progression in labour relations in the region we now identify as Ghana. Slavery is ahborrent and there is nothing positive about it. Can you purchase one additional day of your own life from any marketplace on earth or beyond the earth?

A Way Out of Apathy, Etc

It just may be that alongside other causes, this weakening of the proprietary passion in workers, who traditionally related with their employers in the patriarchal arrangement, birthed a culture of apathy towards the security and progress of the enterprise they work for. If that is true, then building a sense of proprietary interest in the workers of an enterprise should help cultivate a better work ethic among them.

My suggestion isn’t specifically for, or necessarily in favour of co-ownership arrangements, such as employee share ownership schemes. Some entrepreneurs may find that attractive. However, whatever instrument stirs a sense of belonging and provokes proprietary passion in the workforce will likely, have the desired effect of lifting their commitment above apathy and towards greater competitiveness and productivity. By that means, it will benefit all parties; including consumers of the goods or services the enterprise trades in.

I make further, less big picture contributions to this conversation in my blog posts: Our Attitude to Trades & Labour, and Our Attitude to Craftsmanship which follow. ©

The Atuguba Truths

The Supreme Court of Ghana rules for a more open system of legal professional education, in partial conformity with the 1st Atuguba Truth

Last month, the Supreme Court of Ghana ruled on a case which may have a significant impact on the rule of law in the nation. The ruling related to a suit brought before the Court by Prof. Kweku Asare in October 2015. He had sought the Court’s declaration, among other things, that the Ghana Law School’s practice of requiring applicants to write an entrance examination and undergo an interview since 2012, is unconstitutional. The Court ruled in favour of the plaintiff in that regard. It indicated also, that all persons who meet the qualifying criteria spelt out in the Legislative Instrument 1296, are entitled to enter the School without the additional impediments of an entrance exam and interview (see Graphic Online report, for example).

For more complete context; at the time of the Supreme Court ruling, law faculties in 5 universities and colleges were graduating more than 1,000 LLB holders annually, yet 250 such graduates only were admitted to the Ghana Law School each year, for professional education leading to their call to the bar.

The Supreme Court ruling partially satisfies the first of three Truths shared by Dr. Raymond Atuguba, a member of the Law Faculty in the University of Ghana, in his speech titled We Need A Legal Revolution And We Need It Now.  He gave the speech during the maiden Revolutionary Lectures series on June 2nd, 2017. I identity the 3 truths he shared as the Atuguba Truths in this and subsequent posts, for easy reference and with no mischief intended. They’re paraphrased below and depicted in the graphic which follows. (I posted the full text of Dr. Raymond Atuguba’s speech just prior to this post).

TRUTH NUMBER ONE

  1. We need to restructure legal professional education by:
    1. Simplifying the admission of applicants to the Ghana Law School, for more universal access and
    2. Revising legal education to make it relevant to our pursuit of freedom and justice for all.
  2. When we attempt to pursue freedom and justice through the law courts as they operate today:
    1. It takes too long to get to court;
    2. It costs too much when we get here;
    3. Its much too crowded when we’re admitted there;
    4. Their principles of law and justice are alien to us;
    5. We’re lost in the procedures and jargon they use;
    6. It takes too long to get out;
    7. The results we obtain;
      1. Are often flawed because of corruption,
      2. Are often tainted by politics and
      3. Often damage our relationships after we exit.
    8. Dr. Atuguba recommends that we remedy these defects by taking specific and urgent measures:
      1. Review and alter the rules of court independently of the legal professions, to help remedy defects in the courts’ administration of justice;
      2. Extend electronic record keeping in the courts to include the electronic filing of cases and the notifications of court processes, in order to reduce the human agency which so often facilitates corruption in court administered justice;
      3. Audit judgements and orders of the courts for monetary, political and other forms of corruption.
  3. There are alternative systems for procuring freedom and justice, through Chiefs’ Palaces and the CHRAJ offices, but the law courts have rendered them largely ineffective, despite the fact that a large proportion of the population continue to look to those institutions for freedom and justice. The law courts must reaffirm the rulings of these institutions, where such rulings do not clearly conflict with provisions of the Constitution, or statutes of Parliament.

TRUTH NUMBER TWO
The law and the courts must be contemporary, in aiding our pursuit of freedom and justice for all in Ghana.

TRUTH NUMBER THREE
The fight against corruption must promote freedom and justice for all and not be restricted by the political, or economic interests of the few.

Atuguba v 3c

I purposely relate the Atuguba Truths to our national aspiration towards freedom and justice for all; as proclaimed in our national coat of arms. Atuguba pointed out that we’ve tended to rely on the courts to legitimize, or aid our efforts at realising that aspiration. Yet, as in many other aspects of our national life, we haven’t acted with nearly enough deliberateness and persistence, in attempting to translate this proclaimed aspiration into reality. Upholding and pursuing the Atuguba Truths consistently should facilitate our efforts at realising freedom and justice for all.

GH crestThat is what makes the Supreme Court ruling on access to legal professional education significant. Its part of the crust of a multi-layered system of deliberate practices which can aid the transformation of Ghana into a land of the free and just.

Now, you may think lawyers are liars, or worse and you’re entitled to an opinion on that and on any other matter. The truth of the matter is, they’re no different from the rest of us, ethically. Be that as it may, I urge that you keep your opinion to yourself and not mention it to them. You just may annoy them into charging us ruinous legal fees, if you do tell them to their faces and, if our past is a good gauge of our future behaviour, we’re going to need a whole lot of them to realise the aspiration of freedom and justice for all, as we become more aware of our rights and self-confident enough to insist on them. It is indeed a good thing that the Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff to open up the legal professions. (Mind you, I don’t exactly have a dog in that fight. I’m neither a lawyer, nor a judge and you’ll never hear me say, “I put it to you”. I think it unbearably rude to say that).

Yet, there’s a sense in which our more extensive use of lawyers to attain to our aspiration evidences failure on our part. To use a somewhat crude illustration, spouces don’t need the services of lawyers in their dealings with each other, unless their relationship deteriorates irreparably into a contested separation, or divorce. While there’s enough trust between them and each spouse acts in good faith, they don’t need the company of lawyers. In the same vein, we won’t have to lawyer up often, if we find ways of getting along with each other and negotiating mutually beneficial arrangements, as we individually and collectively pursue freedom and justice.

The courts in and of themselves cannot establish and maintain Ghana as a land of the free and just; we the people of Ghana can, if we learn to live with ourselves in mutually supportive ways. That underscores my call for a changes to the wording of our national pledge, in my 5-part post titled, On Being Ghanaian. I vary the wording included at the end of On Being Ghanaian: Delta CORE to read:

I promise on my honour to be faithful and loyal to my fellow Ghanaian. 
I pledge to defend his right to remain different. 
I pledge to uphold his constitutional rights at all times. 
I pledge to treat him justly and equitably at all times. 
I promise to assist him in every legitimate way, in his quest for freedom and justice. 
So help me God. 

No, don’t bother to tell me, because I already know that a national pledge, however appropriately worded, cannot by itself transform our society. Yet, it can define how we ought to relate with each other, in personal terms and that is what may make this pledge a thing of value in our eyes. The proposed pledge is framed in familiar terms we can hold each other accountable for. When it does become necessary, we can seek redress for breaches in the alternative justice institutions, where we the mortals feel more comfortable and don’t necessarily need the company of lawyers! If you see value in this rewording of the pledge, then I urge that you click on the link below and over the next 2 minutes or so, sign an online petition which requires our President to take all necessary steps to alter Ghana’s national pledge to conform with this proposal: ©

Online petition for a re-worded national pledge.

We Need A Legal Revolution And We Need It Now!

Lecture delivered by Dr. Raymond A. Atuguba at the maiden Revolutionary Lecture Series, under the theme:
“Restoring The Values of Probity, Accountability and Truth in Contemporary Governance”,
in the College of Physicians and Surgeons Hall on 2nd June, 2017.

His Excellency Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, former President of the Republic of Ghana, all other protocols observed. Ladies and Gentlemen.
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Growing older, I have become a storyteller. My mother, the greatest woman who ever lived, would be a little surprised to see me on this platform. She was popularly called First Lady. As Regional Women’s Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), she was considered as the premier woman in the Region, hence the name. As her driver, I accompanied her to many party meetings and events. And I ran many party errands for her. Anytime I needed to find her in Accra, it was at the party headquarters near Paloma on Ring Road. I hear the location has now changed. And I remember she came quite often to that office and to other locations, mainly in the Achimota area, for meetings. It appeared to me that the NDC of that time made their regional and lower level executive officers central to their national level decision-making. During our periods of togetherness when she was on party business, we will argue a lot. Soon, because I was critical of President Rawlings and her NDC, she labelled me a member of the opposition.
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To date, there are three things I do not quite understand about my mother and her NDC. When my big brother, Frank, was due in Germany for a semester or so, as part of his medical studies, he did not receive any government or party support, although the family had no money to foot the bills. When I was admitted to Harvard, I did not receive any government or party support for my studies, although I applied for government support and good people like Mr. A. T. Konu, Dr. Seth Bimpong-Buta, and Mr. Kweku Ansa-Asare made strong representations on my behalf. I must add a footnote here. I wrote to the State Insurance Company Ltd, controlled by Government, insisting that as the Best Student in Commercial Insurance Law for my year, I deserved a plane ticket from them, and my former Lecturer, the late Mr. Albert Fiadzigbey, drove me one Sunday morning to the house of the then Managing Director and made it happen.
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So, the blood son of a Regional Women’s Organiser of the NDC, whose husband was a founding member of the NDC party in his region, left Ghana on board a Ghana Airways Flight GH 120 to New York, with only $225 in a leather wallet crafted in Sokabisi near Bolgatanga.
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And this husband of hers was not spared the ordeal. When he was unceremoniously uprooted from the Upper East Region against his will, and at a time he badly needed to be close to home to put his affairs in order ahead of retirement, and inappropriately transplanted in Accra, nothing was done by their party to reverse it. Try that on a low-level party “foot-soldier” in Ghana today, and see the “calls” that will come to you from Flagstaff House, and that is if you are lucky to escape with just angry phone calls.
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In summary, what I could not understand was why a high-ranking party official, who had access to party cash, would ensure that all the cash was used only for party purposes, and nothing else, whilst watching her blood children struggle and suffer to advance themselves educationally, a function which she herself constantly endorsed as a topmost priority.
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What I could not understand was why additional to sacrificing her life, health, time, and family, she would sacrifice the little resources she had for a party that did not seem to care about her; I do not remember that we filled the petrol tank of my Father’s car with party money on any of the trips we made.
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I got to know all the NDC party bigshots through her. So she knew them. She had access to them. Yet, she did not deem it right to use access to those big men and women to the selfish benefit of her children and her husband.
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For her and her husband, it was enough that President Rawlings, against all technical advice and political opposition, had insisted that electricity be extended to rural areas in Ghana, so that doctors up north will no longer have to perform surgery with lanterns and torchlights. It was enough that students will now have electric lights to prepare for their O and A Level examinations, and not have to inhale carbon monoxide from lanterns for hours on end, as their children had to do. It was enough that governance had been decentralized, so that services and responsibilities were within walking distance; and he, as a School Master, did not have to travel 1,000 kilometres every month to the Ghana Education Service headquatres in Accra to get the least thing done that was done.
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Today, party faithful and foot soldiers way below the position my mother held, may illegitimately garner State influence and positions, and millions of Ghana cedis for themselves, their husbands and wives, their children and cousins, their in-laws and outlaws, their boyfriends and girlfriends, their cats and dogs.
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I was born black, in rural northern Ghana, and left-handed. So for me, marginalisation is second nature. I have associated naturally with the marginalised, the oppressed, subalterns.
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The marginalization, disparaging remarks and insults we faced as northerners going to school in Kumasi prepared me for the marginalisation I was to face going to school in the United States as a black person.
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The marginalisation I face daily as a left-handed person reminds me perpetually of the need to organize against “the regular”, “the normal”, and in support of “the other”. In the tutorial rooms in Legon when I got there in 1993, all the seats with wooden writing pads were constructed with the pads to the right; none had a pad on the left.
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My Father kept detailed written records about each of his children growing up. I have read those about me. My favourite sentence in there is the one which says; “…This is Raymond’s third time of dying and coming back to life”. What he did not add was that the only reason I survived those times was because the Baptist Medical Centre was located only 8 kilometres from Nalerigu where we lived, 9 minutes by car and 1 hour 38 minutes by brisk walking, according to Google. What he also did not add was that in rural Ghana, by the second, hundreds of children died because they did not have a Baptist Medical Centre that near them.
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One of the images I have never been able to rid my mind of in over 35 years, and in respect of which I probably need to see a shrink is this: my Father’s 1974 Datsun 120Y car, which is still on the road, was often the only car in the village for many, many miles around. So our house was the first point of call when a health emergency occurred. So he hardly slept. He was the ambulance driver of the village and will make several trips to the hospital, many days of the week. But there were times that the good old Datsun would give up and await a mechanic, or a car part from the city. During these times, this news constituted a death sentence. Someone would rush to our home and announce that there had been a lorry accident, or a woman had been bitten by a snake, or was experiencing complications in labour far beyond the capacities and equipment of a Traditional Birth Attendant, and he would have to announce to them that the car was out of order. The images I still cannot get out of my mind are those of the relatives of these hardworking, tax-paying victims of political and economic mismanagement, as they descended the three steps from our varenda and burst out mourning, in a dirge, because they knew that their loved ones, their friends, their compatriots, would certainly die.
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What I have omitted in the above narrative is that the distance between Damongo, where we lived then and Canteen, where we had the West Gonja Hospital, was again just 7 kilometres. If my father had not been posted to work near the Baptist Medical Centre, and the Catholic West Gonja Hospital, two of the best rural medical centres in Ghana, I would have died as a child, from one of the disproportionate medical emergencies I experienced and would not be here talking to you today.
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I am essentially an accident of the political, economic, and social mismanagement of this country. The mismanagement of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Ghana sought to kill me, but I managed by sheer accidents of history to survive. So forgive me, when I take the mismanagement of this country personal. It is personal and it is personal for you too.
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Having narrowly escaped the gallows of political and economic malfeasance, it is sensible for me to work against injustice, in all its forms. I hate injustice. Injustice freaks me out. It sends my body, soul and spirit into a riveting stupor, responsive only to the pain that injustice creates.
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I have reflected on why President Rawlings asked me to speak today. I still do not know why. I have not asked him why. As a radical constitutionalist, all I need to remember is that the June 4th Revolution was a real revolution of the people, supported by almost all, and toppled a regime that had wrested power from the people. Whatever the reason for the invitation, I am happy to be associated with today’s panelists. For example, Dr. Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor, Ben-K, or “Landlord”, as we call him, is one of the finest policy and legal brains this country has. In 2004, he and I and Prof. Mrs. Ellen Bortei-Doku Aryeetey of Legon did the Right to Development report for Ghana. It was during this time of putting together ideas for moving Ghana forward developmentally, and to avoid the social and economic murder that goes on in this country, that I encountered Dr. Kunbuor’s effortless intelligence and overall love for this country.
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I have also reflected on the theme for the Maiden Revolutionary Lecture Series. It is a tricky one. “Truth” is “a whore of a word”. What truth? Which truth? Whose truth? In 1998, one of my mentors deleted a sentence I had written in my first article. Very displeased, I protested, arguing that the sentence was the truth. Very quietly and calmly he said to me: “It is not all the truth the we say”. I have not been able to forget that statement. In my more recent history, working at the Office of the President for 5 years, first for President Mills, and then for President Mahama, I was confronted many times with the equivalent of the following statement: “Can you handle the truth?”
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And so the question I have for all of you this afternoon is whether you are able to handle a version of the truth that I am about to say. Seeing that you are not entirely sure of your capacity to imbibe truth, I will limit myself to only three such truths.
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TRUTH NUMBER ONE:
Thanks to President Rawlings and Prof. Adu Boahen, Ghana returned to constitutional rule a quarter of a century ago. The “culture of silence” was replaced first by “criminal libel”, then by “Radio Eye”, then “kan namin kan bi”, followed quickly by a cacophony of FM Stations-with excellent Community Radio Stations gasping for air, and ending with the “Muntie 3”.
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Political and civic action evolved from the consultations of the National Commission for Democracy, the Consultative Assembly of butchers, hairdressers and nightsoil carriers, through “Kumi Preko”, the repeal of the Public Order Decree and the Committee for Joint Action, to “Delta Forces”.
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Economic liberation, or is it liberalization, was at once more complicated and incredibly simple in its evolution. Historically complicated, it started with the economic nationalism of Nkrumah, notched up by the economic defiance of “Yentua” and interspersed with periods of economic cluelessness and disintegration. Yet the story of economic evolution from 1992 is simple: the inherited Economic Recovery Programmes of Structural Adjustment simply changed faces with each President; a human face, a Presidential Special Initiatives face, a Chinese face, an infrastructure face, and now a private sector face. The rest of the body, and more importantly, the spirit and the soul, remain ever the same. And each era had their “Faroe Atlantic”, “Balkan Energy”, “Ghana Telecom”, “CAN 2008”, and now the “The Eurobond”, all of which ended with judicial, or quasi-judicial processes.
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International relations was forced into the mold of economic liberalization, in which it “lived and moved and had [its] being”, but like all the others, it ended straight up in the courts of Law and Justice, some have said of lawlessness and injustice: such as the suits against the privatization of Ghana Telecom, the suit today about the ECG (the Electricity “Corporation” of Ghana) and of course, the suit against the hospitality offered to the “GITMO 2”, and in respect of which the Supreme Court has just ordered additional arguments to be filed before they will deign to give judgment.
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One thing stands out in the evolutionary stories of the key domains of our national life. They all ended up in the courts and with the law. As Ghanaians, we have, fortunately or unfortunately, dumped our survival, our national aspirations, the essence of our being, our faith, at the altar of the law and the courts, for better or for worse.
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By doing this, Ghanaians have constructed a two-faced governance and legal architecture and infrastructure: what happens in the courtrooms and what happens in the common sphere; on radio, on television and on social media. In other words, in the last 25 years, two domains of law and justice have evolved. Law and Justice in the corridors of the courts, and Law and Justice in the public domain.
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Part of the problem with our governance infrastructure is that it fails to recognise the evolution of these two different domains of law and justice, and is therefore, ill-prepared to moderate them. What is worse, public commentary on the law and justice dimensions of our governance continue to conflate the two domains. And opportunistic commentators have moved stealthily, easily, unchallenged and almost inconspicuously from one argumentative domain to the other, as if the two are no different. This fundamental faultline in our analyses of our governance issues needs to be exposed and remediated.
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The two opposing domains of law and justice are not hard to reconcile. They indeed converge. The relationship that should exist between law and justice in the courthalls and in the byways is that of servant and master. The purpose of the former is to serve the latter. So Law and Justice in the courthalls must serve Law and Justice in the public sphere. The reason for this is simple. The former depends on the latter for legitimacy, resources, its very existence and is infinitely less powerful. The two should not be allowed to clash, but where they do, the weaker always suffers dire consequences. My fear is that the “Muntie 3” and the “Delta Forces” sagas are harbingers of an imminent clash of the two domains that will leave everyone worse off. We must arrest the trend.
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Arresting the trend is easy. Our 1992 Constitution has shown the way. When that butchers and hairdressers wrote in their Constitution that: “Justice emanates from the people and shall be administered … by the Judiciary” they knew exactly what they were saying. They had effectively located the source of “Justice” in “We the People”. “The People” are the fountain from which “Justice” emanates, and the “Judiciary” is merely to “administer” that justice. The judiciary is not to determine the substantive content of justice, that is the preserve of “The People”, but once determined, the judiciary then administer it.
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The butchers and hairdressers did not end there. They additionally wrote in the Constitution that “Citizens may exercise popular participation in the administration of justice through the institutions of public and customary tribunals and the jury and assessor systems”.
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For as long as the Judiciary, the Judicial Council, the General Legal Council, the Board of Legal Education and kindred bodies continue to usurp the function of “We the People”, a growing gulf expands between Law and Justice in the courthalls, and Law and Justice in the byways. The result is Muntie 3, Delta Forces, Galamsey, Instant Justice and all the other ills we all complain about on a daily basis.
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What Ghanaians want by way of Law and Justice is not difficult to provide. The public complaints about Law and Justice sing a unique and constant chorus:
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ONE: Entry into the Faculties of Law and the Ghana School of Law for our kids is too laborious; the processes conduce to preferential treatments, weed out the poor and marginalized, and what they are taught there is of doubtful utility for our Nation at this point in time.
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TWO: It takes too long to get to court. It costs too much when we get in there. Its ultra crowded when we get there. The principles of Law and Justice applied to us in there are alien to us (some imported from the Brits many centuries ago). We are lost in a maze of procedures and jargon whilst we are in there. It takes too long to get out. The results we get from the courthalls are often spiced with corruption and flavoured with politics and our relationships are damaged after we get out.
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THREE: There are alternative systems of justice at the Chief’s Palaces and at the CHRAJ offices, but the regular courts have pulled out the teeth from these alternative systems.
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To bridge Law and Justice in the courthalls and Law and Justice in the byways, a lot has to change. We need a simpler structure for legal education, where law faculties independently prepare students for a law degree and to write a Bar Exam set by a Board of Legal Examiners-there will be no need for a Law School in this scenario. We need a complete overhaul of the teaching methodology in our law faculties so that law students learn about our Nation, “not as an idea, but in its profound reality”, preparing themselves for a life of service in nation-building, not a life of national destruction at the service of local and foreign clients whose mission is to milk Ghana dry.
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In 2010, a colleague and I, working with an army of law students and statisticians, and some World Bank cash, sampled 320 case dockets in our courts. The unique thing about this exercise was that we examined the dockets from cover to cover, tracking everything about the case: who are the parties; why did they come to court; what did they ask the court to do; when was the case filed; how many witnesses were called; how many adjournments were given; why were the adjournments given, how long did the case last; and many, many, more questions. The process opened my eyes to the profound reality of our Law and Justice system for the very first time. The report made some startling revelations. For example, contrary to the body of learning then making the rounds, we found no correlation between taking notes in longhand, court automation, court refurbishment, and all the other paraphernalia and the rate of disposition of cases. Significantly, we found a correlation between the rules of court and the rate of disposition of cases. There are many other findings in this report and much more data on our laptops showing the real causes of our Law and Justice malaise and the options for reform. There are also many options in the report of the Constitution Review Commission on the types of Constitution-trailer laws and administrative procedures that need to be instituted to this end.
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It is completely unacceptable for us to wait for over a hundred and fifty years for our British masters to switch to a Witness Statement in place of laborious, resource intensive and timewasting oral testimony by countless witnesses in a case, before we do same. It is still unacceptable to continue to wait for the British to adopt a Defence Statement before we do same. The immediate adoption of a Defence Statement, a Reply Statement, inquisitorial processes, and Written Concluding Statements, additional to the Witness Statement, could reduce the time for the disposal of simple cases from 3 to 5 years to 3 to 5 months. Always remember that those who opposed the adoption of Witness Statements until the British showed us the way are the same people who will oppose the adoption of these other Statements, and they will continue doing so until another 150 years, when the British, known for their conservatism, again show them the way. You listen to them at the Nation’s peril.
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The key to addressing the second set of public complaints about Law and Justice lies in the immediate adoption of revolutionary rules of court that move court processes closer to the truth through the incorporation of inquisitorial mechanisms; that makes the courthalls more efficient through the reduction of the time and related cost of rolling the wheels of justice; and that audit the judgments and orders of courts for corruption; monetary, political, or otherwise. This cannot be done unless the making of the rules of court are wrested away from incestousness. Self-regulation is inherently problematic. Internal revolutions are near impossible. External agents are badly needed. Agents other than judges and lawyers must be central to the Rules of Court Committee, if this revolution is to happen.
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It is not my proposition that our Law and Justice systems have not experienced reforms in the past. Good reforms have taken place in the last two decades. However, those reforms have missed three things:
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1. The real causes of the problem have often been missed, and only the symptoms addressed; automation addresses symptoms, changes in the Rules of Court address the root causes;
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2. Secondly, the wrong reform agents have been identified for the task: as already noted, self-regulation is inherently problematic as interested constituents will merely fiddle with the existing system and leave it intact at its core, because it is advantageous to them.
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3. Third and lastly, the reform locus has been misplaced: making the court system electronic must first be located outside of the courts, not inside of it; electronic filing of cases and electronic notifications of court processes reduce the human agency that court officers love, improve efficiency and speed, and will reduce human and vehicular traffic in Accra Central!
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I get quite angry with those who pile up mountains of excuses for obstructing simple reforms of this nature. To those crying themselves hoarse about how illiterates and rural folks will be disadvantaged by new rules such as these, I have one question: how do these illiterates and rural folks apply for United States and other visas that depend 100% on electronic processes of the kind I am proposing. The cost of using the slow track non-electronic processes to these illiterates and rural folks is hundreds of times higher than renting a computer and a computer literate to process court documentation. And believe me, there is greater and more sophisticated internet traffic in the “sakawa” dens of Nima than on the high streets of Accra.
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The last set of concerns about Law and Justice relate to alternative justice; justice without lawyers and judges. Just as we spoilt urban kids have our own conception of justice, every community out there has their own too. There is absolutely no reason why we should seek to lower these higher community standards of justice to conform with our own. No matter how many times the Supreme Court says that certain sanctions may not follow a person’s refusal to answer the summons of a chief, community folks will still carry a sense of obligation and respond to such calls, prostrating full length before the Chief on arrival at the palace. Support for and incubation of alternative systems of community justice, as encouraged by and within the boundaries of our Constitution, are essential for bridging the yawning gap between Law and Justice in the courthalls and in the byways.
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TRUTH NUMBER TWO:
Having achieved political citizenship, the broad majority of Ghanaians are yearning for economic citizenship. They were smart enough to sow the seeds for this a quarter of a century ago. Those seeds are found in our fundamental law, the Constitution. One hot afternoon in 1992, and given that the Ghana Bar Association and many other highly revered and highly placed authorities of the law had boycotted the entire constitution-making process, the butchers and hairdressers wrote the following beautiful words into the Constitution:
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“The State shall, in particular, take all necessary steps to establish a sound and healthy economy whose underlying principles shall include…the recognition that the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty.”
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Today, the average Ghanaian is yearning, crying, groping, fighting, maiming, killing for economic citizenship. Given the “lawfication” of the political, economic and social discourse in Mother Ghana, ordinary folks are seeking after the capacity of Lawfare to aid them achieve economic citizenship. And the law and lawyers stand clueless. Unless the Law can aid them to achieve economic citizenship, there is a Constitutional implosion and they will have to find other means of achieving it. It was the June 4th Revolution that for the first time squarely equalized political citizenship with economic citizenship. Those who still doubt that these are equal need to read and meditate on Festus Iyayi’s book on Economic Violence.
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Inimical footsoldierism, galamsey, armed robbery, instant justice, are popular reactions to an oxymoromic legal duplex: the hegemony of Law that crushes people second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, instead of liberating them; and the lameness of Law as it remains clueless in the face of a popular cry for lawfare in aid of economic citizenship.
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In the circumstances, and at the very least as a stopgap measure, an intelligent framing of Law and Justice in today’s Ghana cannot but recognise radicalism as an option, sometimes as a necessity, and institute mechanisms for containing it when it happens. Denying that it is an option, insisting that it should not be an option, is playing the ostrich. The thirst for all forms of Justice, political, economic, social, is more dire than the thirst for water. Like Poverty, it “is like heat, you cannot see it, you can only feel it”. Anyone who has never experienced poverty, never experienced injustice, will never understand the rise of footsoldierism, galamsey, and the other matters of concern in Ghana today. What the butchers, hairdressers and nightsoil carriers in the Consultative Assembly said to us in 1992 is the same as what the footsoldiers and galamseyers are telling us today. Our democracy is not secure, we are not secure until we recognize “that the most secure democracy is the one that assures the basic necessities of life for its people as a fundamental duty.”
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One reaction to the above is to say that I am justifying anarchy and praising wrongdoing. So we close our eyes, and continue to sentence persons who engage in petty thievery to 10, 20, 30, 40 years in jail, whilst rewarding those who pillage millions and billions of cedis with a few years of jail term, and we don’t even blink. A smarter reaction is to wonder how a tiny, under resourced, embattled, deprecated Electoral Commission in Ghana could organize one of the best elections in the world; covering every inch of the entire Country, reaching millions of voters with ballot papers, ballot boxes, indelible ink, and hundreds of other logistics; whilst many Ministries put together, with billons of Ghana cedis in their names, working with all the security agencies, and with full political support have not been able to engage with just a few communities, agree modalities for legal mining, develop alternative livelihoods for those who must exit mining, reclaim lives and property, and end the menace of galamsey.
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TRUTH NUMBER THREE:
It is fashionable in Ghana today to talk against corruption. A good way to play mischief against someone is therefore to say that such a person supports corruption. At the risk of being misunderstood once again or being made a victim of mischief, I have to say that I am unable to support the type of anticorruption crusades we launch and fight in Mother Ghana.
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Where anticorruption is reduced to targeting a few persons from the opposing party, rushing them through a trial, locking them up in jail, satisfying a donor trigger for release of funds that measures our corruption index by the number of government officials jailed for corruption, then the anti-corruption crusade becomes a real joke.
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When we turn a blind eye to the billions of dollars that, as ISODEC has recently found, are leaking out of Ghana as illicit financial outflows resulting from the theft of our natural resources, trade misinvoicing, tax evasion, and similar high crimes, and focus on petty thievery by a small set of political appointees, we are doing exactly what someone wants us to do; keep chasing each other’s tail every 8 years, while they rape and milk us dry of our resources perpetually.
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Fight corruption, we must. Fight it the way we are fighting it now, we should not. I have previously delivered a paper on new ideas for fighting corruption in Ghana, and would not want to repeat them here.
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President Rawlings, Ladies and Gentlemen. In conclusion, I will like to recall the central role of Law in our national life. The greatest force of Law is the power to define. The Law defines everything. The Law defines what truth is for us as a Nation. The official truth is the truth according to the Law. It does not matter who truthfully won the 2012 elections. What matters is who the Supreme Court said, in their estimation of the truth, won the elections.
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I will also like to recall the evolution of our civil liberties, our political activism, our economic management, and our international relations over the last quarter century, and the discovery that all these key domains of national life are moderated in the final analyses by the Halls of Law and Justice.
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Finally, I will like to recall the three truths: the need for revolutionary law reform; the need for lawfare in aid of economic citizenship; and finally the need for a more sophisticated lawfare against corruption.
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Having discovered the centrality of law to our governance, to our democracy, we need to do one more thing before we leave here. We need to remember that in the adversarial system of law and justice we practice in Ghana, the party who has better lawyers, more resources, a greater capacity to influence judges and court officials, has truth on her side, at least temporarily. In such a system, “moneyed justice” is dispensed, and the values of truth are often sidelined. This cannot continue.
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A Revolution, from the Latin revolutio, simply means “a turn around”. We are not asking for all the Lawyers to be killed. Given the central role of Law and Justice in Ghana’s governance today, we are asking for a “turn around” in the way we conduct our Law and our Justice, as a measure to save our Democracy.
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We need a Legal Revolution. And we need it now!
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Thank you for coming, and may God Bless our Homeland Ghana, and make our Nation Great and Strong …
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Reproduced with minimal editing for typos and clarity.