Takoradi — The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Afua Akuffo, has called for serious reflections on challenges that undermine the safety and security of the citizenry.
She said that long term values of rule of law must be upheld within the context of national cohesion and security.
Ms Akuffo underscored these issues when she addressed the ongoing Annual General Conference of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) being held in Takoradi, in the Western Region, on the theme, "Enhancing national security through the rule of law: Prospects and challenges."
She told the participants that some of the national tragedies of the country's national security environment include armed robbery and human trafficking, stressing that food security, freedom from hunger, safe water, enjoyment of economic rights, environment insecurity and corruption were key in the discussions on national cohesion.
The minister pointed out that, political and organised vigilantism, mob injustice, kidnappings, killing of policemen and growing instance of unprofessional media, opportunistic and poor reportage also undermined rule of law and national security, and that life for the citizen should not be like in the jungle and become "brutish, nasty and short".
Enforcement of the law, Ms Akuffo argued, must be pursued within the supremacy of the law, and hoped that the conference would adopt strategies within the framework of national security and rule of law for the commonwealth, and not through any extra judicial processes and also beyond regime security.
Again, national security, according to the minister, should be anchored on the well-being of the people, human rights and cultural values "to make our nation great and strong".
She stated that the death of Major Mahama spoke about the extent of lawlessness that had invaded the society, with the individual exposed to injustices by a mob.
A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Julius Ansah, who opened the conference, stated that rule of law depended on an efficient justice system, noting that the 1992 Constitution upheld concept of the supremacy of the law, which included equality before the law and fair trial.
He told the conference that democratic principles needed to be upheld to ensure that the court was fair and just, and that the executive should not be cloaked with too much of discretionary powers, which he argued, could undermine Ghana's development agenda.
The Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, hoped that the conference would consider threats to national security, including kidnappings, to ensure that full economic benefits from the region could be harnessed in an atmosphere of peace, security and order.
He stressed "as strategic partners, promoting business in our region calls for an investment-minded and business promoting attitudes toward litigation. Where the parties can be supported to settle their differences out of court, it will not only eliminate the frustrations of investors arising out of prolonged adjournment and court injunctions, but will also reduce costs in terms of money and time for the litigants. You will still have your legal fees."