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Opinions of Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Columnist: Quaye, Nii Otu

Trusting that Our Justices Will Do It Right

*Let Us Pray, Trusting that Our Justices Will Do It Right.*

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*By Dr. Nii Otu Quaye*

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*The anxiety about the upcoming Supreme Court decision is unspeakably troubling. Minds are divided: some realistically fearing that mayhem or war may occur, while others, with optimism that approximates the adage about the ostrich, think all would be well. We really need prayers for the judges to be fully guided with the wisdom and discernment to come up with a plausible decision bereft of any elements that would compromise our confidence in the system. I know and I trust that they are poised to do nothing but justice. However, given the tones of the myriad articles and comments made on the web, it is clear that people may be so deeply bogged on what they have been made to believe by some of the articles and comments that they may disagree with the decision, no matter how lofty and correct it may be. Let's, therefore, pray also for level-headedness for us to accept the decision and eschew any tendencies to foment strife. *

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*Several decades ago when the struggles to eradicate injustices visited upon minorities in the United States were in their highest gears, many high profile civil rights cases founded their ways to the United States Supreme Court. Naturally, with my Ghanaian background and natural inclination to sympathize with the downtrodden, my mind was stuck one way as to what true justice and fairness should be in those cases. I am sure that if anyone had told me to think otherwise, a bulldozer would have had to be employed to make me oblige. However, when I read two of the decisions, I was fascinated beyond description because by the analyses of the facts, application of the law, and the reasoning for the ultimate decisions, my idiosyncratic thinking and natural biases effervesced. Specifically, although the justices held in favor of the minorities, the reasonings of the majority and dissenting opinions were both so well rounded and airtight that I could hardly tell which of the two positions was correct. By these outcomes, the opposing parties and their supporters accepted the decisions with dignity; each believing it has had its decent day in court. The way the justices handled those cases is how an independent judiciary runs and thrives: looking carefully at the facts presented and applying the relevant laws fully with unbiased reasoning to reach a plausible decision. I have no doubt that our justices would stand tall to the challenge and issue a sound decision that meets the eye.*

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*I have some fear, however, that, with the numerous articles and comments that have been generated in the wake of the litigation, some based on downright inaccurate facts, some on distorted facts, some on facts that are only partially accurate, and some on incomplete facts, the tendency to improperly taint and sway our minds one way or the other is very high. The dangerous consequence of this is that, people may find faults with the decision no matter how hard our justices try. It is precisely for this reason that I am writing this rather belated piece to plead with you all to exercise restraint, unring any bells that have been rang in you, and place your confidence in the justices, trusting that they would come with a sound decision that is based solely on the facts and the law. As the people entrusted with overseeing the dispensation of justice in our country, not only do they have the quintessential resources to do the best that can be done to met out justice, but they collectively know all the relevant facts and laws about the case than any of us does. Thus, we should trust them and pray for the grace to guide them through this ordeal. *

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*I have read some obviously well intended articles and comments on whether a unity government would be a viable option for the country. Although the idea seems enticing, especially in light of the challenges facing us, I, with all due respects to the thoughts that inspired it, think it would be a recipe for disaster. The recent experiences in Zimbabwe and Kenya, not to mention also historic instances, such as the unfortunate struggle between Congo's first President and Prime Minister, are living reminders of the magnitude of the inherent dangers of the suggested power sharing. Just ponder: if the leaders of our opposing parties cannot see eye to eye on things when only one party wields the leadership while the other awaits efforts for it’s turn at the end of the election cycle, how can we realistically fathom that they will agree when they have equal or nearly equal powers? While unity government should, thus, not be an option for Ghana, Ghana should nonetheless eschew the winner takes all stance where a party, upon getting into power, affords all privileges and opportunities for progress to only it's members and sympathizers. *

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*To foster peace and progress in this Country, we should cultivate the habit of being fair in our appointments to offices and awarding of contracts and scholarships for studies, etc. Doing some of these holistically on the merits rather than on people's affiliation to or sympathies with parties will go a long way to help trumpet peace and harmony which would, in turn, move the country forward. We really owe that sacrosanct duty to our motherland. We should appreciate that, no matter what power or wealth we have, nothing stays forever and that love, peace, and harmony are the greatest vehicles by which we can meaningfully contribute to the welfare of our Country and relate to our Maker. Thank you, and may we all stay blessed.*

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*Long Live Ghana*