Post-independence heads of state not fit for purpose to select CJs – Ansa-Asare
Former Director of the Ghana School of Law, Kwaku Ansa-Asare, has stated that post-independence heads of state have not been fit for purpose to select Chief Justices (CJs)for the country.
“Heads of state from Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s era to now have merely been selecting chief justices they hope will be loyal to them and their agenda rather than those who are loyal to upholding the Constitution,” he decried.
According to him, the situation had led to several Justices sacrificing their virtues and courage in order to gain the prestigious office because to appoint a chief justice, the person the Constitution had entrusted with such huge responsibility was not fit for purpose in the sense that the person was not fit for purpose to select a chief justice.
“Unfortunately, successive post-independence heads of state, prime ministers, always choose the one they will feel comfortable and loyal to them and in doing so, will sacrifice qualities of virtue and courage expect to find in our chief justices and I do not mean to disparage any chief justice but the truth must be told.
“The president’s extensive appointment powers should be curtailed in order to ensure independence of offices such as the Office of the Chief Justice since you appoint a chief justice and judicial secretary, who is head of personnel of the Judicial Service.
“If he or she is a relative of the person who nominates and you put the person there as sort of guard over the chief justice, what do you expect the chief justice to do? Because the judicial secretary is supposed to be the chief scribe of the chief justice, and the judicial secretary is the president’s relative,” Mr. Ansa-Asare pointed out.
He insisted that elsewhere, there was search for the chief justice, for the person, and there was search committee but under the 1992 Constitution, Article 57 had been entrusted into the hands of one person and that one person decidedwho should be chief justice regardless of feelings of the nation.
Mr Ansa-Asare indicated that until the nation was able to right the deficiency the nation would not be able to find suitable persons thus to get framework and parameters right in order to get right caliber of persons appointed as chief justices.
He advocated the Judicial Council to be given the appointing power and not the president and must be overhauled to rid of cronyism through reconstitution appointing authorities and instrument such that the people put there were fit for purpose.