A constitutional expert and Paramount Chief of Asokore Asante, Dr S.K.B. Asante, has called on Ghanaians, especially politicians, to allow the Judiciary and the Electoral Commission (EC) space to freely perform their duties in the interest of the country.
“Materially, you cannot attack the judiciary or the EC and at the same time expect them to perform their public functions,” he said.
Nana Dr Asante, a distinguished scholar, a former Law lecturer and an expert in negotiations and arbitration, made the call in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
“You go to the judiciary when you feel you are aggrieved under the Constitution, so the judiciary must be respected for that purpose. You rely on the Electoral Commission to organise elections, so you cannot reprobate and approbate. All together is terrible, and must be stopped,” he said.
Nana Dr Asante, who was the Chairman of the Committee of Experts that drafted constitutional proposals leading to the promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, urged politicians in particular to encourage the judiciary and the EC to do their work without impediments, saying if there were flaws, everybody would see and discuss them dispassionately.
“Give them a chance, accept them in good faith; if there is a real flaw everybody will see it.
But don’t say that one is collaborating with this one or conspiring with this one, and so forth and so on, and still go to the same institutions for remedies,” he stated.
“But you cannot actually go to it (EC) to assert your rights if you think they can still organise elections and, in fact, it has been organising elections for all parties without anything and they should be encouraged.
“I believe that we should give the EC and the judiciary a chance to do their work,” he emphasised.
The revered chief was responding to a question regarding the recent misgivings expressed by a section of the public, including politicians, about the work of the EC and the judiciary.
The interview was to offer him the opportunity to throw more light on his book, “Critical and Biographical Essay on Nana Dr S.K.B Asante” with the sub-title “From an African Village to the Global Village and Back”, chosen by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) as the Book of the year 2022.
The book is a compendium of small books detailing the distinguished career of Nana Susubiri Krobea Asante (his stool name) as a Law teacher, a public servant, a constitution framer and a traditional ruler, which appeared in the GIMPA quarterly, a publication of the institute’s Governing Council Volume 3 Issue 7 dated January to March 2023.
Nana Dr Asante said excessive partisanship has been the bane of the country's development.
“It is certainly one of the problems because it doesn’t promote the utilisation of the best talents available,” he noted.
“One of the things I want us to do if I had my way is that instead of having this multi-partisan politics — I mean the highly divisive and polarised system we have — I wouldn’t mind having consensual arrangement or a national government,” Nana Dr Asante said.
He explained that “a coalition government would bring all the parties and the best in them to the task of developing; that is, of course, a very, very unpopular thing because we are used to the American and British scenarios which we think are the best.”
“In fact, if you go to the continent of Europe, a consensual approach or a coalition approach is the order and if you look at the Asians and so forth this has been their preoccupation.
“How a political party will win and so forth is to bring the best people to the task.
When Ghana became independent in 1957 the Public Services Commission sent a mission abroad looking for the best qualified Ghanaians to come fill positions,” he recalled.
“And now, sometimes when people come from the diaspora and offer themselves, people want to look at where they belong, that kind of thing.
So, meritocracy is very, very important.” He emphasised that what was needed for one to serve his country well was commitment and integrity and, said you might have all the expertise but if you don’t have the integrity, it is problematic.
“I know so many agreements in international law where lack of integrity led to a disaster,” he stated.
Sharing an experience while serving in the international community, Nana Dr Asante said what had made Asian countries such as China, Singapore, Korea to progress as nations was their long-term strategy for economic development and execution of projects.
He said what Ghana was lacking was such commitment, since the moment one government left power the project it initiated for the benefit of the citizenry was abandoned while new ones were started by the new government.
Asian example “What I admire about the Koreans and Chinese is their long-term strategy for economic development and execution of projects.
You take Korea, for example, according to a World Bank report, in the 60s they concentrated on elementary education, 70s, secondary and 80s, tertiary and they became experts in mathematics and science.
“Let me tell you a story about China. In the 1980s the Chinese Communist Party decided that they would welcome foreign investment from the Western world but they did not know anything about foreign investment or how to negotiate international agreements with them.
So they invited organisations from United Nations (UN), America and so forth and private organisations to come and tell them how to deal with these transnational corporations, how to negotiate with foreign investors, what are the negotiations and what are the implications.
“And I can tell you, I led one of the teams and when I was going there, there was a high-ranking Chinese foreign minister who used to be the Ambassador of China to Ghana during Kwame Nkrumah’s time.
“When Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown, he was the one who handed a note to Nkrumah that this was what had happened.
He then told the Ghana Ambassador to China that a UN delegation was coming to assist us, led by a Ghanaian and when I went, whether I was an African or not, everybody was ready to learn.
They absorb everything and now the Chinese are experts in international transactions,” he explained.