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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Columnist: Isaac Ato Mensah

Civil disobedience and the case of the SALL area of Ghana

The people of SALL have no representation in parliament The people of SALL have no representation in parliament

From the Boston Tea Party to the present, nations have always understood that if citizens lack representation in decision making and passing laws, then no taxation shall be required of them.

Simply put – no representation, no taxation.

Through a series of political own goals, the Akufo-Addo administration has earned itself a hung parliament.

The kingmakers who will determine which political party forms the Majority in Parliament are the electorate of the Santrokofi, Akpafu, Lolobi and Likpe (SALL) area, and voting trends suggest they will vote for the NDC.

The EC that will address the matter in this crisis period has declared that “the Commission will break for Christmas and New Year” from December 23 until January 19, 2021!

No mincing words: in this political stalemate over which party nominates the Speaker if the SALL people were an NPP stronghold, would the Parliamentary elections there have been delayed?

The Electoral Commission has thus implicitly invited us to make a judgment call – to obey the laws or defy civil authority.

The legal issues border on how the SALL district and constituency status will be resolved, and especially the reason for the delay.

Well, the Chief Justice has in a rejoinder signed by Justice Cynthia Pamela Addo, the Judicial Secretary, to at least one media house warned against publications “without verifying facts in advance and therefore attracting scandalous comments from some consumers”.

No doubt this has made the media much more hesitant.

Then there is the contention that civil disobedience is the only language the Own Goal Scorers will understand.

What form should civil disobedience take? Many come to mind, but here is our list based on an “intellectual and moral guide” to public relations management.

They include; refusal to pay taxes and levies imposed by the Parliament of Ghana and District Assemblies; violence-free protest marches by unarmed civilians; solidarity action from indigenes of the SALL area scattered throughout ghana and beyond; refusal by SALL indigenes who are business owners to pay taxes wherever their businesses are located in ghana; recusal from jury duty, performing legal obligations or enforcing any decisions imposed by the courts.

The current lack of an elected rep of SALL in the eighth Parliament to be inaugurated 7 January 2021 is a breach of both natural law and civil law, as eloquently espoused by St. Thomas Aquinas, a medieval philosopher, who advocated civil disobedience in case of unjust laws.

Aquinas argued that natural law was an objective moral standard used to govern human behaviour irrespective of time and space.

But why do people who have sworn to defend the constitution or suffer the penalty for it “so help me God”, rather deny our people access to the law that guarantees their right to equal representation?

Because they can; because they want to be worshipped as demigods; because they do not believe in Logic – “they will rather hurt themselves than think” in the words of my mentor; because they do not believe in honouring their obligations.

But let us be clear and without equivocation; it is our inalienable right and constitutional duty to fight “spiritual wickedness in high places”.

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