General News of Saturday, 29 October 2016
On my take today, adopt a portion of the opening address of Her Ladyship Theodora Georgina Wood at the 9th Chief Justice’s Forum on Monday at Labadi Beach Hotel.
It was on the theme “The Judiciary and Election 2016.” The occasion saw many judges and almost all Supreme Court justices including retired justices, lawyers, CSOs, political leaders, the security, traditional leaders etc attending, and contributing to the theme.
She pledged her outfit’s commitment to the processes, pointing to two recent election-related cases dealt with swiftly, one practically in less than a week and insisted thus: This is what Ghanaians expect and truly deserve- a smooth, timely and successful resolution of electoral disputes, that marks the acceptance of results and a full expression of the sovereign will of the people.
Let me re-iterate that it calls for collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders. Yes, in this instant case, that is the High Court case, the parties and lawyers gave their full cooperation.
But it must also be emphasised that it was the Court, not the lawyers, who was firmly in control and dictated the pace of the litigation process and, additionally, without compromising the rule of law, without sacrificing the integrity and legitimacy of the judicial process, was innovative, breaking new grounds that was geared towards an unjust or an unfair outcome.
The highest standards of judicial leadership is therefore called for, demonstrated inter alia, through focused hearings on the germane or real issues in controversy, impartiality, fairness, equal opportunities to parties to be heard, coupled with the judge’s independence and legitimate authority to lead a process that would end in transparently just results.
This is the kind of judicial approach and attitude that would stem the bruise to our reputation and enhance public trust and confidence in this third branch of government.
May this be our focus and our passion, for we have a duty to God, to this nation and indeed the international community to ensure the stability and security of our constitutional democracy.
And so I invite every- one to co-operate-judges, court and Judicial Service staff, lawyers, office holders, the parties, the political class etc.
We need to conduct our affairs in the national interest and in a just manner that will not disrupt either our electoral or constitutional calendar.