MPhil Microbiology from University of Ghana, Health Tutor, Public Health Advocate. Interests: Tolerance, Quality Health and Peace.
Promote Judicial Trust for Peaceful 21st Century’s World!
By Benjamin Pulle Niriwa, 16.06.2021
Trust is very important, in not only politics but, in every humans relationship(s) to help us love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Matthew, 22: 34-40). Love and trust goes hand-in-hand. It is not easy to love someone that you don’t trust: likewise it is not easy to trust someone that you don’t love. Hence, the saying: “Love is blind” (LightHouse., 2016; McClanahan, 1990) which originates from Geoffrey Chaucer. The Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs (UN a., 2020; UN., 2020) cannot be achieved in a trustless environment! Our Law Court needs this trust!
Any Issue(s) of Mistrust as Threat to National and Global Peace?
Electing a “Human Right Activist” as President of Ghana, most peace loving people expect more democratic governance where public institutions are further strengthened. Far from that, the re-emerging disease of using State Security Officers to attack innocent citizens (Class, 2021; Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020), even after independence (Boateng a & Darko, 2016; Akwah, 2013; Israel, 1992), is the first issue that nodded its ugly head in his government. This is followed by a further promotion of a cyclical mistrust in the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana (Andoh, 2019), State’s Security Services (Nettey, 2019), the Judiciary, and other Public Institutions like the Auditor General Department, or the Newly created Special Prosecutor’s Office.
There are issues before (Okine, 2020; Zoure h., 2020), during and after the 2020 General Elections of Ghana which have already foiled mistrust in not only the EC but the registration (Wemakor, 2020; Apinga, 2020) and collation processes (Nartey, 2021; Asaah, 2021; 3News., 2021). Dr. Hannah Bissiw has exposed that in the EC before the elections (Dailyguidenetwork.com., 2019). The Elections’ Petition that seeks redress of some of these issues of mistrust, should have been used as an opportunity to start re-building trust in such an important commission. Unfortunately, it has rather further created serious mistrust in the Judiciary too (Adagom, 2021; MyNewsGH., 2021); as in is the case of the security services (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020; Nettey, 2019)!
Evidence of this is that, the Presiding Judge for 2020 Elections’ Petition, has already been tagged, by not any ordinary person but an experienced lawyer, as being “Bias” (Gyamfi, 2013; TruthHubbAgency., 2021; OperaNews., 2021). He is also the Chief Justice of Ghana who has just being sworn into office less, than a month to the hearing of the petition (Starr, 2020). The Supreme Court process in handling Elections that were already full of mistrust, and the subsequent threats on journalists in the 2020 Elections’ Petitions has further introduced unpleasant mistrust.
The 2020 Elections Petition at the Supreme Court, Any Mistrust?
Appointing a Presiding Judge, who the major opposition party, NDC, already did not trust; thereby tagging him as “bias” (Myjoyonline.com., 2013; Starr, 2020) about seven (7) years before his is appointed is a serious issue of mistrust seen in others (OperaNews, 2021).
One of the Supreme Judges allegedly calling some National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliaments (MPs) on phone to bribe them with salivating rewards to vote for Prof. Mike Ocquaye as Speaker of Parliament (MyNewsGH, 2021) was an issue of mistrust. This is especially when it is alleged that no one amongst the Judges would rule against the President because he has also allegedly bribed them with $1.7 million (Odoom, 2021), and it also happened that none of them actually ruled against him on any of the requests in court.
How some pressing issues of National Importance like; the call to audit the EC and allowing the EC’s Chair to be subpoenaed, were ruled by these judges further enhances the suspicion that these bribery allegations might be true (Osei & Ackah-Blay, 2021; Guide a., 2021; Ghanaweb., 2021)! But citizens not trusting the highest court of the land is a serious problem confirms by Hon. Hannah Bissiw following the Supreme ruling of the 2020 Elections’ petition, where she says: “When they come at us with guns and bullets, we should face them guns and bullets” (Eshun, 2021). She further explains this reality that happened in the 2020 elections with statement, like: “The chaos that happened during elections that made them rob us will not happened again”.
Asking journalist to delete information on the election petition is another issue of mistrust, revealed by how some Ghanaians reacted (Myinfo.com.gh., 2021). For more detailed understanding, read: “Impartial Judiciary Is a Mental and Physical Preparation for National/Global Peace, Learning from Ghana's 2020 Elections’ Petition” by the same author. It will be published this week!
The Threat on Former Deputy Attorney General for Sharing His Opinion(s): The Presiding Judge for the 2020 Election Petition is also heard threatening disciplinary actions against the Former Deputy Attorney General, Dr. Dominic Ayine, for allegedly making a statement that is a contempt of court (Antwi, 2021; Adu, 2021). It happens when Dr. Dominic during explanations “on a CDD-Ghana platform”, gives reason for why he was charged with contempt; saying that it was because he accuses the Supreme Court of “Failing to apply the rules of procedures as well as the consistent and continuous dismissal of the petitioners’ applications or reliefs” (Yawps., 2021).
How the Electoral Commission (EC) is handled: There is already a known existing issue of mistrust in the Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC) especially amongst the two major political parties (Andoh, 2019). Before the 2012 general elections, most ordinary Ghanaians were very concerned about the posture of Nana Akufo-Addo the flag bearer of NPP and were wondering if he would accept the results (Abaare, 2012). This is an exposé of mistrust in the EC.
Ghanaians are told that the Former EC’s Chair, Charlotte Osei, is fired for Procurement Mismanagement (Frimpong, 2018) and “Misbehavior or incompetence” (Alfa Shaban, 2018; Kpodo, 2018). Before the 2016 General Elections, some New Patriotic Party (NPP) members like Hon. Kennedy Agyapong threatened to sack her if they win and after that he was seen and heard at Adom TV asking for her removal (Kumsah, 2018).
Comment that: “NPP will never trust the EC” (Starrfmonline.com., 2017) vindicates her that she is probably fired for the same reason for which the Former Auditor General is also fired (Citinews., 2021; Lartey a., 2021). Also, before the removal of Mrs. Charlotte Osei from office, there were rumors of a plot to fire her (aL-hAJJ, 2017) and a relative of President Akufo-Addo is said to be amongst those who petitioned for her removal (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020). This creates a bad precedent (Kaku, 2018), and suspicion of conflict of interest rather than a misconduct!
There is already an issues of mistrust in the EC (Starrfmonline.com., 2017), but he pours kerosene into fire by the appointment of an EC Chair and Deputy who are known NPP (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020; Alfa Shaban, 2018) members. The problem, however, is not because they are NPP but the known biasness of the EC Chair against NDC even before her nomination and appointment (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020; Kpodo, 2018). This issue of mistrust is further worsen by comments, like: “NDC can never win election with new voters’ register” (Darko I. , 2019; Bediako, 2019).
The mistrust in the EC is exposed by the EC Chairperson lashing out at critics: “If I dey in bed plus government, like I born two kids by now” (BBC., 2020). Similar accusations are made against previous EC Chairpersons, especially Dr. Kwadjo Afari Gyan (Andeniran, 2012; Ghana a. , 2012), as he receives death’s threats (Andeniran, 2012). His own was even worst as he has been heavily insulted, that I reacted against such insults on one occasion on Facebook. Charlotte Osie is accused by Hon. Kennedy Agyapong for “Sex-for-job” (Larnyo, 2016; Graphic, 2017).
Before the elections’ petition, the EC has already being tagged as “Corrupt” and “Incompetent” (Adjei, 2020). Refusal of and supporting the EC’s Chair not to be accountable (Osei, 2021; Otchere, 2021) further increases this perception and therefore an issue of mistrust. Yet, some comments of the Presiding Judge like: “Mahama cannot hide under the pretext of reopening his case to subpoena Jean Mensah” (Ghanaweb., 2021), for a request to let the EC’s Chair be cross-examined; raises question marks about the neutrality of the Court.
The Use of State’s Security Services for Partisan’s Gain: The first of these that has created a bad precedent in Ghana’s politics is the introduction of mistrust into our State’s Security Services (Joyonline., 2020; Okine, 2020; Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020; Guide, 2021) like the police or military. President Akufo-Addo’s own body guards “Invisible forces” were seen in a video assaulting a Senior Police Officer that works at the Presidency, since Former President Kufour’s tenure (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020). No matter the situation, assaulting him is completely lawlessness and needs condemnation! But, he did nothing about it, it questions his will of disbanding vigilantism.
Allowing state security officers, to attack journalists creates a false impression that there might be something that government wants to hide, both major political parties are guilty (MFWA, 2021; Badu, 2019; Civicus.org, 2018); but NPP uses them more. It contributes to mistrust in our security services, since some police officers also support these violence or vigilantism (Tankebe, 2011)!
Evidence of this political mistrust is where both major political parties of Ghana are seen forming vigilante groups (Hammond, 2019; Iddrisu, 2019; Ghanaweb.com. b. , 2020). If they trust the National Security, why are they all busy spending money in forming their own vigilante groups? The current Akufo-Addo let NPP’s government has misused state security officers to attack citizens than any other party in the Fourth Republic of Ghana, as can be seen from the attacks on journalists (Ayamga a., 2021) and the 2020 General Elections (Yakubu, 2020; Frimpong a., 2020). For a police to be molesting a journalist for doing his job whilst asking which tribe he belongs to: “One of them was like, ‘which tribe is he from?” (Ayamga a., 2021), is a serious police misconduct (Boateng et al., 2018; Neyroud, 2017) that introduces mistrust into the security system.
Yet though the President whilst in opposition is happy when Former President Mahama condemns the attack of some citizens by State’s Security Officers (Myjoyonline, 2015), he has not yet says nothing about these attacks. So, one would ask, are our State’s Security Services neutral as they are supposed to be? If “Yes”, this is an answer that most citizens would find it difficult to believe based on previous (Myjoyonline, 2015) and current happenings (Ayamga a., 2021)!
Using State’s Security Officers to bully political opponents or other people like at the Ayawaso West Wuogon Bye-Elections (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020), is a clear issue of mistrust. The same applies when known political party’s vigilante groups are recruited into various State Security Services (Ametor-Quarmyne, 2020; Nettey, 2019) at the disadvantage of political opponents. These vigilante-like State Security Officers could be bias and work to please their employers! Exposé of “De-Eye militia group” (Editorial 01, 2019), and especially, attacking or threatening the Journalist with death (Provencal, 2019; Mubarik a., 2019; Editorial 01, 2019) create mistrust.
Partisan’s use of State Security Officers (Ghanaweb.com. a. , 2020; Derben, 2019) creates mistrust, especially in the Ghana National Police. It contribute to attacks on the police by some citizens in many parts of Ghana (Commey, 2020; MyNewsGh, 2020; Zoure d., 2020; Zoure e., 2020; Zoure f., 2020; Zoure g., 2019; Nyaaba, 2019; Tankebe a., 2018) and amongst themselves (Brefo, 2021).
There is also a another situation where the current government has created another issue of mistrust between politicians and the State’s Security Services by promising them of salivating salaries that suddenly vanished into thin air after the elections (Grimes, 2020; Myxyzonline.com., 2020).
Attacking/Threatening Journalists, Like Manasseh Azure Creates Mistrust: Journalists are very important in democracy as they expose (Schauseil et al., 2019; OECD., 2018) the good and the bad of our vulnerable societies. It helps promotes national and global peace! Unfortunately, journalists were asked to delete all publications about the Supreme Court which are “supposedly” contemptuous and allegedly undermine the work of the Supreme Court (MyNewsGH., 2021). This call, especially the threat, creates suspicion(s), leading to mistrust or culture of silent; it creates suspicion what the Supreme Court is hiding! If there is trust in the judiciary, the laws of the country alone could have dealt with the cancerous menace, vigilantism (Modernghana.com., 2019).
Manasseh is emotionally and verbally attacked by the Information Minister who describes his exposé of “De-Eye Militia Group” as a put: “… together conjecture, malice, mischief, sensationalism and unvalidated suspicions” that contains “significant misrepresentations and misleading impressions,” (Editorial 01, 2019). One Mr. Arhin denied even the existence of the “De-Eye” Militia Group! He says: “The President has no knowledge of the alleged activities of this said group, let alone sanction their activities. My checks from National Security have revealed that no such group is operating from the Castle” (MyJoyOnline, 2020).
To further discredit his documentary, the journalist him revealed that government told him after the exposé that “The Group is a team of job seekers” which is contrary to Mr. Bryan Acheampong also trying to defend the group as an “Agency” that recruits (MyJoyOnline, 2020; Editorial 01, 2019) the youths. Contrary to Mr. Arhin claim, if government knows nothing about the group, how do they describe it as a group that is “Law-abiding”, “job seekers”, and recruiters (MyJoyOnline, 2020)? He publishes an opinion on the 2020 General Elections (MyJoyOnline, 2020), and is threatened again with death like most of the journalists (Trustedeye., 2021; MyNewsGhana.net., 2021). That is a clear example of political mentality corruption and an issue of mistrust!
The most interesting revelation is that, upon all the emotionally harassment of the journalist by using insulting adjectives to describe his excellent investigative documentary, there are honest people within the same ruling party who acknowledges the credibility of his work (Mubarik, 2019; Ofori, 2019; Starrfm.com.gh., 2019). Yet, he is made to face Disciplinary Committee of the National Media Commission (NMC) of Ghana for “disciplinary measure(s)” against him (MyJoyOnline, 2020). These behaviors against someone who should been congratulated, can indirectly result into supporters’ “Intolerance” (Myjoyonline.com, 2019). Headings like: “Manasseh Azure’s Death Threats; GJA Runs to Akufo-Addo for Journo’s Protection” (Ayitey, 2020), “GJA Want Probe into Death Threat against Manasseh” (Guide b., 2020), and Kwesi Pratt Jr.’s revelation (MyNewsGhana.net., 2021), are examples of how a Journalist is silenced.
Meanwhile, there is no denying the fact that political parties’ militia groups, popular recognized as “Vigilante groups” (Asekere, 2020; Asamoah, 2019) is a problem of most West African nations (Akoloh, 2019; Admin, 2019) and the world. Both Major Political Parties in Ghana are worried about their delivery instant justices by unleashing violence on some innocent citizens, hence the description of their activities by these parties as an “impunity” (Akoloh, 2019; Admin, 2019).
Are There Other Issues of Mistrust in 2020 General Elections?
Aside 2020 General Elections and the Petition at the Supreme Court, there are also other issues that create mistrust! Some civil society groups and opinion leaders’ bias criticism of political issues in some is an issue of mistrust. Example, a civil society group, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), was quick to criticize NDC government when police were seen controlling demonstrators for allegedly violating the agreed route (Laary, 2015).
Mina says: “In this era of the democracy, the Ghana Police Service needs to realize and prioritize the fact that there is clear relationship between the way policing is carried out and experienced. The police cannot go about brutalizing citizens in the guise of protecting life and property when those have not been threatened and expect citizens to trust them”. “The police went overboard, their action totally unacceptable and unfortunate in this current dispensation” (Laary, 2015).
There are worse situations under the NPP government before (Welsing, 2019; Hope, 2019; Ghana., 2019), during (Koinonia., 2020) and especially after the 2020 General Elections, some citizens even loss their lives (Fisayo-Bambi, 2020; Awuni, 2020); but said. Unarmed civilian citizens are shot dead by some State Security Officers, still insulted by an MP as criminals (Asaah, 2021); experts in “Security” condemned (3News., 2021) it, but the CHRI says nothing. This is not just a serious issue of mistrust, but research findings have revealed that “Police killings … affects the mental health” status of people (Bor et al., 2018)! Aside these other causes of mistrust are the resignation of Former Special Prosecutor and “retirement” of the Former Auditor General.
An exposé by 2020 General Elections that could explain why some people like Former President Trump might not like the media is too much exaggeration of issues (AFP., 2020; Aljazeera., 2020). Exaggerating issues like deaths creates unnecessary panic and mistrust when the truth is later known! Though those who unfortunately lose their lives in the 2020 elections can be counted (Aljazeera., 2020), it is exaggerated that: “Several People” died (AFP., 2020).
The Conflict of Interest at the Auditor General Department
The Former Auditor General, Mr. Domelevo, went on compulsory accumulated leave (News_3654., 2021) it ended up as retirement. After many excuses (Lartey a., 2021; News_3654., 2021; Citinews., 2021; Lartey, 2020), Ghanaians to realize that it is because he is an NDC member: “People worked with Daniel Domelovo and at the end of the day he just showed that he is indeed an NDC member of which it was very true” (Fiifitvgh., 2020). Once you attach his political affiliation to it, it makes it difficult for people to trust you, especially your political opponents.
The President himself confirms this by saying that, the Former Auditor General owns: “Allegiance to his appointer …” (Citinews., 2021; Lartey a., 2021; Lartey, 2020). If he retires legally as he says when interviewed by CNN (GhanaWeb., 2021) why is he giving the explanation above? This is a problem that raises question marks as revealed by Kwame Aplus that the President is only good at “Sacking Those Fighting Corruption” (Nordzi, 2021)! If he retires legally, then why are you defending that he owns allegiance to his appointer (Lartey a., 2021)? It is a bad precedence that could cause problem in future! This could create a cyclic problem of mistrust in Ghana’s politics!
How the Former Special Prosecutor is threatened to Personally Resign
Another serious issue destroying trust, that could be a global trend, is how the Former Special Prosecutor is allegedly threatened to vacate his post at a time that he tries to investigate a serious corruption scandal, the “Agyapa Royalties deal” (Nyabor, 2020; Washman Addo, 2020; Agbobli, 2020). What especially makes his case a serious issues of introduction of mistrust in Ghana’s politics and public institutions; is his revelation that he was asked by the President to fix into his corruption assessment, report of the Finance Minister who himself is implicated in that scandal and also stop his assessment for one week (Washman Addo, 2020; Agbobli, 2020).
To add salt to injuries, he is subjected to attacks, insults and threats before (Agbobli, 2020; Zoure a., 2019; Kusi, 2018; Hammond a., 2018) and after (Darko a., 2021; Amidu, 2020; Peace, 2020) his resignation. Evidence of the attacks and harassments of the Former Prosecutor before his resignation could be revealed in his reaction like: “Sack Me” (Zoure b., 2019). Also, as a lawyer himself, he has proven his attacks, insults and threats by exposing text messages that were sent to him (Peace, 2020) and also by comments like: “I’m Honouring An Undertaking by Silence, Don’t Tempt Me” (Darko a., 2021).
This has resulted in a situation where he describes President Akufo-Addo as a “Mother Serpent of Corruption” (Editor., 2020; Starr a., 2020), which is contrary to the President’s promise to fight against corruption and protect the public purse (Forson, 2017; NPP, 2016). The description of the President alone (Starr a., 2020), like in the case of the Vice President, Dr. Bawumia’s, description of Former President Mahama (Ayamga, 2020; Annang, 2018), is an exposé of political mistrust.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Figure I: Promote Judicial Trust, Share Your Opinion(s) without Insults
What constitute a “contempt of court” (Dyer, 2019)? This must be well-defined for people to know what actually contempt is, and what a normal criticism is. If A Judge is “bias” in his/her ruling and one criticizes his/her biasness, does that amount to a contempt of court? Allowing people to criticize our judiciary will help identify pertinent issues associated with our judiciary that needs redress to help make the world a better place for everyone (Fig. I.). Everyone can finds himself or herself there at any point in time, once he/she is alive. There are instances where people are conspired against, blackmailed or falsely “accused” (Brooks & Greenberg, 2021) and mistakenly sentenced to prison (Simms, 2016). Every human being needs to help promote “confidence or trust” (Niriwa, 2021; Fig. I.) in our judiciary and facilitate effective investigation(s) into alleged crimes by helping crimes investigators with nothing but the truth. Promote Judicial Trust for Peaceful 21st Century’s World!
Thank you for Reading! Please, share your opinion(s) to help promote peace. What is left out? What should be removed, please?
Thank you for Reading! Please, share your opinion(s) to help promote peace. What is left out? What should be removed, please?
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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Benjamin Pulle Niriwa
Benjamin Pulle Niriwa (author) from Ghana on July 03, 2021:
Promoting Judicial Trust does not means hiding the painful truth(s) about the judiciary. Lawyers or judges, in particular, need to know how their rulings or judgements are perceived by the general public. This can help them and every person on earth to learn more on how to help shape our judiciary which is very dear to us. No one can talk about peace and forget about our judicial services which play a major role in promoting national and global peace. Share your opinion(s) to help shape what we value, but do not insult.