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17.03.2006 Regional News

Asantehene donates 100 million cedis to "Akoto Memorial Lectures Trust"


Accra, March 17, GNA - The Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, on Thursday launched "Re Akoto and Others Memorial Lectures Trust" and donated 100 million cedis as seed fund for the lectures. He also becomes the Life Patron of the annual lectures. Baffour Osei Akoto was a distinguished Senior Linguist of the Asante State in the 20th century.

Launching the lectures, Nana Adu Gyamfi, Adontenhene and the Asokorehene of Kumasi, who deputized for the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu, stressed that the Re Akoto case was of paramount importance to the nation in its constitutional development.

The Asantehene said Baffour Osei Akoto engaged the collective attention and conscience as a nation of peace loving people and that, the phenomenon of Re Akoto and Others "has advised our constitutional development in the important areas of human and people's rights, the role of chieftaincy in our national governance and its socio-economic development".

He noted that all the personalities involved as the appellants in the case were citizens of the Ashanti Kingdom, adding that their collective experience in the case had resulted in the informed, system of national governance.

Otumfuo Osei Tutu said "today, we get a lot of international recognition as a nation with strong democratic credentials. A lot is owed to the case of 'Re Akoto and Others' for the development and transformation of our relatively young system of national governance". The Asantehene expressed the hope that the Lectures would become an annual national endeavour, to develop and flourish as a platform of high scholarship for the promotion of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Good Governance.

The programme formed part of activities marking the 47th Law Week celebrations of the Students' Representative Council (SRC) of the Ghana School of Law, organized at the Accra International Conference Centre in Accra.

Mr Joe Ghartey, Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, represented President John Agyekum Kufour.

The other seven appellants in the case included Peter Alex Danso, a lorry driver; Osei Assibey Mensah, a storekeeper; Nana Antwi Busiako, "Nkofohene" rpt (Nkofohene); Joseph Kojo Antwi-Kusi of Kumasi; Benjamin Kweku Owusu, Produce Manager; Andrew Kojo Edusei, auctioneer and letter writer and Halidu Kramo, Transport owner, all from Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

Mr John Allan, SRC President of the Ghana School of Law, said history and present reality, showed that nations develop better when the liberty of citizens were respected and guaranteed, within a clear national developmental framework.

Mr Allan said the idea of the "Re Akoto Memorial Lectures", was mooted by the SRC on the inspiration of Professor Kofi Kumado, Professor of Law and Constitutional Law Lecturer at the Law Faculty of the University of Ghana.

The objective was to create an annual forum for the review of the principles underlying the decision, to draw lessons from same, and utilize those principles, to enhance our current constitutional experience in particular, and governance as a whole".

He noted that the ability of the 1992 Constitution, to guarantee the rights of the citizenry, and to realize the economic and social objectives provided in Chapter Six of the Constitution, did not lie, primarily, in textual amendments, but rather, in the practitioners of governance and administrators of justice, giving practical and true meaning to the purpose of the Constitution.

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs, chaired the function. He stated that the Lectures would identify lessons that ought to be learnt from previous attempts to practise a Constitution and the difficulties that arose therefrom.

According to the Minister, the lessons of "Re Akoto and Others" would serve as a guide to sensitise the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary on their individual and collective role in upholding human rights, since the economic well-being of the country could best be achieved through the genuine adherence to individual human rights. H0e said the Lectures were intended to encourage every citizen to, where possible, sacrifice personal liberties as was done by Baffour Akoto and the seven others in defence of their inalienable rights. They had been imprisoned under the Preventive Detention Act during the First Republic.

Those present included, Mr Peter Ala Adjetey, Former Speaker of Parliament, Nana Dr S. K. B. Asante, President of the Academy of Arts and Sciences and former Director of United Nations Centre on Trans-national Corporations in New York, some members of the Diplomatic Corps, Lawyers and senior secondary school students.