Tainted Judiciary in Ghana
Holding a high office is akin to holding an egg: it could easily break if care is not taken to hold if firmly. Especially in this day of political polarization and detection is facilitated by technology, office holders live daily under scrutiny from political opponents and the media among others, with the help of technology. It therefore becomes important for holders of public office to be circumspect in what they do and say and how they conduct themselves.
Ghanaians are yet to recover from the shock of corruption in the judiciary recorded on both video and audio by investigative reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas of the New Crusading Guide. It is unfortunate that the very place where the people seek justice and fairness without fear or favor has to descend into such opprobrium because of the misguided behavior of a few errant judges and workers of the Judicial Service.
Justice, according to Ghana’s 1992 Constitution emanates from the people and judges are appointed to interpret the law and dispense justice in accordance with the law. Obtaining any form of gratification for performing one’s duty as a judge is tantamount to selling what does not belong to one in the first place. Secondly, it amounts to taking the law unto one’s own hands. Sometimes holding such office creates the false impression of power that if care is not taken could be abused. Yes. Judgeship is a powerful position but that power is exercised on condition of law. It is not personal. Judges know it all too well that they are a vulnerable lot and any attempt to personalize the power that comes with the position must be checked and if possible punished.
Amandla, like many Ghanaians share the view that any judge found culpable in Anas’ investigation be made to face the law. We commend Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood for not sleeping on the shameful revelations but taking prompt action to address the situation. Judges are held in high esteem by Ghanaians and this unfortunate incident has dented the respect they had for the position. We hope and believe a lesson has been learned by all of them and people in high public office generally. A dent in one’s integrity is difficult to erase.
We appeal to the judicial authorities as well as government to be cognizant of the need to make appointments to the bench not based on personalities and political considerations but on integrity and accountability. The people deserve it.
Public office certainly does not pay as much as private business and judges we know are not paid as much as lawyers in private practice. Generally it is a sacrificial job where rewards are limited. It is an honor for lawyer to be elevated to the bench and that perhaps is the only recognizable reward.
Justice bought and sold is justice denied. Justice is delicate and it is wise to hold it firmly with integrity and honesty.