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Opinions of Saturday, 1 September 2018

Columnist: Samson Lardy Anyenini

Samson’s Take: Cathedral - so just what’s wrong?

Every Saturday, I have the privilege of five minutes for what is Samson’s Take on this very important global platform - NewsFile. In My Take, I pick an issue and except for exceptional situations, the issues are either purely for legal/civic education or to attempt to influence some reform. I must look at the issues with legal lenses, deplore my knowledge, double confirm by resorting to the constitution, laws, legal textbooks and decisions especially by the Supreme Court.

Many have shared ideas and issues they want me to deal with, and in doing so, they and others must have found solutions and received the needed basic legal education. I will confess I have been overwhelmed by the huge appreciation this segment has received, and as a rights activist, that’s just enough inspiration to continue to make the sacrifices to share what I should ordinarily keep for my private commercial benefit as a practising lawyer.

I have, pointing to the law, written and advocated clean environments by the strict enforcement of existing laws including those with clear sanctions for littering. I have written and done a crusade highlighting civic duties and responsibilities to realising the sort of nation we envisage for ourselves and posterity.

I have done legal education on basic rights and against various abuses when arrested, restricted or detained by law enforcement officers. I have campaigned and pointed to actions in breach of laws and actions inhibiting the fight against corruption (including not setting up the Whistleblowers Fund and the embarrassingly inexplicable feet dragging in passing the right to information law) and maladministration.

Yes, from my preaching against the various manifestations of lawlessness and sheer impunity, often encouraged by politicians, to the widespread exploitation on the labour front in the name of temporary and casual workers, etc, etc, I have had calls from many asking that I put Samson’s Take together in a book.

My plan today was to hound the police into fast action against those thugs who beat and inflicted deep wounds on a GNA reporter to the point of almost killing him. Thugs allegedly hired by a man I am sad and shocked finds space in political leadership in a country we want to take serious, did the dastardly criminal act in the house of Hassan Ayariga whose invitation the reporter, Jerry Azanduna, attended for news coverage.

I have had the privilege of writing the review to Sir Justice Dennis Adjei’s phenomenal book (Criminal Procedure and Practice in Ghana) launched on Wednesday. I discovered, while reviewing it, the law that a class of officers of the Attorney-General’s office have police powers of arrest, and I feel the AG should take over and immediately arrest the perpetrators to face justice.

So, here is my point for My Take today, I act as a voice of/for many. I did so last week complaining and making a simple plea to the President for a change in the choice of location for the national cathedral to avoid, among others, needless costs. This has engaged the nation for a whole week although some have changed the plea for change of location to “we don’t need a cathedral”.

How is this that important than all the subjects and issues of my very many previous Takes? I have been inundated with calls all week for media interviews, for a petition to collect signatures and protest marches. I declined all. Mine was a plea to the President to change the location and it has reached him.

So, just what is wrong with us, media et al?

Samson Lardy ANYENINI