Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has called on institutions and agencies mandated to administer justice at all levels to exercise their responsibilities with fairness and expedition as justice delayed is justice denied.
He said the delay in the pursuit of justice posed a veritable threat to societal harmony and national security.
“When members of the society feel that they have been treated unfairly, a foundation has been laid for social unrest, disharmony, and strikes,” the Vice President said while addressing thousands of Ahmadi faithful at the 90th National Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, at Baghe-Ahmad in Pomadze, near Winneba on Saturday.
The three-day convention is being attended by some 30,000 Ahmadi faithful from across the country and delegations from other countries.
The convention has not been held since 2019 due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The theme is “Promoting Justice And Social Cohesion- The Islamic Example.”
The Vice President underscored the relevance of the theme for the convention in relation to justice administration in the country and noted that Ghana’s social landscape was characterized by disputes over chieftaincy, land and property, which the courts at various levels, were required to make determinations on the entitlement of litigants based on acceptable standards of justice.
He said delays in cases for years at the law court could lead to discomfort and frustrations of the parties involved and often fuelled the perception of lack of transparency, corruption and political interferences in justice administration.
The Vice President stated that the growing number of community violence in parts of the country, even though unfortunate, was due to delays in trials and perceptions of unfair judgement.
He, however, said no violence could ever be justified since legal processes ought to be followed to seek justice if one felt unfairly treated, stressing that “we should never take the law into our own hands”.
Dr Bawumia said the Government remained committed to rolling out social interventions for all regardless of location and status and mentioned the establishment of various development agencies, including the Northern Development Authority and the Zongo Development Fund as examples to ensure that no community was neglected in the development agenda.
The Government, he noted, was committed to enhancing justice delivery in the country, thus the decisive steps taken with focus on interventions for efficient and expedited justice delivery.
Among the steps are the provision of logistics support, such as befitting court buildings, vehicles, computers and decent bungalows and capacity building of judicial staff.
For instance, he said, the introduction of the E-court was enhancing Ghana’s justice system, indicating that the E-court was helping in expediting the court process without unnecessary adjournment.
“With the e-court system, it does not matter where a lawyer, witness or a prosecutor is, once they log into the system with a judge present, proceedings can take place”, he said.
Another intervention he said was the plea-bargaining Act, which was facilitating case resolutions and trials within a reasonable time and ensured effective prosecution and helped in clearing the backlog of cases.
He also mentioned the launch of two separate funds for the Law Reform Commission and the Legal Aid Commission which would also go a long way to help in the justice delivery of the country.
Dr Bawumia commended the Ahmadiyya Mission Ghana’s continued contribution to national growth, especially in the areas of education, and health and said the Mission’s contributions were well documented in the country’s history.
The National Chief Imam, Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharubutu, in a fraternal message read on his behalf by Sheikh Arimiyaw Shaibu, noted that socio-cultural, religious and political diversity if not well managed, would give rise to conflicts in the country.
According to him, the theme for the convention was appropriate as the country was battling the scare of violent extremism, stressing that social cohesion was a necessary prerequisite for peaceful co-existence.