Lawyer Eric Delanyo Alifo

A private legal practitioner, Lawyer Eric Delanyo Alifo has reiterated the need for an urgent solution to the continuous denial of the people of Satrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi ( SALL) of a representation in the Parliament of Ghana.

The lawyer made these comments in a statement copied to the media dated, 14th of September 2021.

The outspoken lawyer and a contestant in the last NDC parliamentary primary in the Ho West Constituency wonders why the opposition in Parliament and other institutions have remained silent over the abuse and unconstitutional act being perpetrated under the watch of President Nana Addo, who carries himself as a human rights activist.

READ HIS FULL STATEMENT BELOW;

PARLIAMENT CANNOT BE SILENT, IT MUST LEAD THE CHARGE TO CORRECT THE INJUSTICE AGAINST THE PEOPLE OF SALL

The question I am trying to deal with in this brief write-up is about which body or office, in our present constitutional setup is best placed to fight for the people of Santrokofi, Akpafu, Likpe, and Lolobi, simply referred to as the people of SALL, whose rights have been egregiously abused by the executive (the government of Nana Akufo Addo) of Ghana. In my simple opinion, the answer is the PARLIAMENT OF GHANA.

I know that the NPP side in Parliament does not care, and will not do anything about SALL to embarrass their government. But I also know, regrettably, that the opposition in Parliament will give us a thousand and one reasons why they may not be able to do much about the problem, which my good friend Kwaku Azar describes as the “Cardinal Sin of the Fourth Republic.”

It may have to do with the Standing Orders, procedures, and the manner in which business is usually conducted in Parliament, which, our MPs will tell you, would not give them room to act in certain ways.

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Unfortunately, I am never, and shall never be, swayed by these excuses and explanations. I thought I had learned that Parliament was also the Master of its own Rules.

After all, the sin against the people of SALL is an unusual and bizarre occurrence that has never happened before in the history of Ghana. So why would our MPs or anyone think the only way to deal with it is by “business as usual?”

Why can the opposition in our Parliament not embark on unusual processes to bring this matter strongly to the fore? Why are they sitting and doing business happily with Mr. Peter Amewu, for instance, for whose benefit the “cardinal sin” against the people of SALL had been hatched by the executive and implemented ably by the Electoral Commission of Ghana? 

With about the same number of MPs on each side of the divide in Parliament currently, why can the opposition not find ways to frustrate the orderly conduct of business in the House until an issue like SALL or the killing of innocent citizens in the elections receives the prompt and full attention of the House in a manner, which the general public can easily follow and understand perfectly that our MPs are actually, concerned about some of these matters that are dear to the hearts of many of us?

Everybody knows that the leadership from both sides of the House are constantly cooperating with each other, and cutting deals on matters of priority to them. If the opposition makes SALL their topmost priority, I believe that issue shall receive better attention than we are seeing.

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If the rules of the House would not allow for an important issue such as a question to be thoroughly debated openly and publicly, the opposition must break those rules with all seriousness.

Isn’t it incredible that our Parliament provided a free pass to Ministerial nominees, who had caused the problem of SALL, or who could have prevented it from occurring, or resolve it after the fact?

It is in this same manner that our Parliament sadly provided a free pass to nominees, who had overseen the killing of 8 innocent persons during the last general elections. 

Much as most of us would want to forget quickly about the events that surrounded the vetting of our current Ministers, it is just not that simple to overlook that process when one is discussing the injustice meted out to the people of SALL and the victims of the killings in the 2020 elections, all under the government of Nana Akufo Addo and his deputy, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia.

All that the people of SALL, and many of us, who are concerned about their plight want to know is how the mess is being resolved. We want to be certain as to what is happening now, and what to expect, or if we must just give up and know that nothing can be done for SALL, or they may never even be represented in Parliament until the NPP is out of power.

Until someone, or some organization, and in my view, Parliament is the best for this purpose, takes the charge and advocates strongly for this abuse to be resolved, it would appear that all of us have accepted the robbery of the people of SALL of their very important right to representation in Ghana’s Parliament, and we are comfortable with the unfortunate situation.

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About 10 years or a little less ago, I wrote an article, which was published in the Daily Graphic. I chose the title, “Conspiracy to Abuse the Rights of Accused Persons in Ghana.”

In that article, I argued that the denial of free legal services by the state to accused persons, who are indigent and unable to hire lawyers to represent them in court is tantamount to abuse of their rights.  

I continued that all the institutions in the legal sector, such as the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) and the judiciary itself; and others like Parliament, and the general public, all of which sort of accepted, and often made excuses that Ghana was too poor, or there were too few lawyers, to provide free legal services across the board to all indigent accused persons were actually in conspiracy with the state to perpetuate the abuse I had discussed in the article.

In the same vein, all of those who are gradually accepting the fact that nothing can be done about the SALL problem, and are failing to talk about it, are, in my view, in conspiracy with Nana Akufo Addo’s NPP administration and the Electoral Commission to rob the people of SALL of their constitutional right to have a representative in Ghana’s Parliament at all times.

Many of us will continue to count on Parliament to rise to the occasion on this issue and inspire us. We shall see how it goes. Thank you for reading.

Eric ƉELANYO Aliƒo

AMA GHANA is not responsible for the reportage or opinions of contributors published on the website.

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