The immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Law at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Professor Lydia Nkansah, has urged African governments to devote time and resources to strengthening state institutions to help engender the essence of freedom and justice for effective and efficient public services delivery.
“The critical importance of well-performing public institutions, rule of law, and good governance ensured all people have equal rights and chance to improve their lives, and access to justice when they are wronged,” she noted.
Prof. Nkansah explained that empowered institutions were an economy’s primary facilitator of socioeconomic development, probity, transparency, and accountability to consolidate democracy and respect for the ballot in an era of good governance and rule of law.
She made the call at the 9th ‘Jurists’ Conference’ of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) Faculty of Law on the theme: ‘Consolidating Democracy, the Rule of Law and Respect for the Ballot in an Era of Good Governance’.
According to her, though some form of democracy had been sustained, it had emerged the transitional processes including election apparatus even in places where the constitutional order of succession was complied with, had been characterised by anomalies and violence before during and after elections.
Buttressing the need for strengthening state institutions, Justice Amoako Asante, a Justice of the Court of Appeal advocated independent and assertive judicial services to bolster rule of law, good governance and accountability and complained about Judges being subjected to pressure and influence but must be free to make impartial decisions based solely on facts and law.
“It is essential that judges are free to openly criticise decisions taken by the government which is in breach of the law and affected individual rights, decide on appropriate policies, laws, and services that benefited all and blamed the phenomenon of vote buying, bribery, delay in election declaration, and host of others as root cause of unending disputes and violence during and after elections,” Justice Asante postulated.
He warned that politicians could impoverish communities, pretend as though they care and still get them to be tools for destruction and violence during elections but the youth must be empowered to avert such occurrences in order to safeguard democratic governance and rule of law.