The Head of Opoku Agyei and Company, Julius Opoku Agyei says Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution is designed to protect the Judiciary and all other independent institutions that fall under it from the whims and caprices of the Executive and the general public.
According to him, this is to ensure the true independence of these institutions.
Speaking on JoyNews’ The Law, he explained that without Article 146, the executive – which has been described as near-imperialistic by some – would be overbearing on these meant-to-be independent institutions.
“It is because that class of officeholders has to be protected. Now, we don’t want the situation where the Executive which is usually the appointing authority can decide that I no longer want this person as the Commissioner of so-so-and-so or office of so-so-and-so, so just write a dismissal letter and just let you go.
“So the constitution has stated grounds, specific grounds, on which they can be removed from office. And there’s a specific procedure. So in sum, it is to protect the officeholder from the appointing authority deciding ‘I no longer want you in office so you must go,’” he explained.
He added that “That the President who appoints them, or the body which appoints them cannot remove them except through this procedure. It is to protect them, especially when we want them to be independent of the executive. If you can be kicked out of office by the executive at their will then you’re not protected, you’re not independent.”
Head of Addo and Addo Legal Attorneys, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, who was also on the show supported the above statements.
He stated that the independence of the institutions that fall under the Article is key to maintaining and developing Ghana’s democratic experiment.
He explained that the independence of these institutions would provide the much-needed checks and balances on the power limitations of the executive arm of government in order to prevent it from becoming overbearing.
“The judiciary is an independent arm of government and it is supposed to be the bastion of our liberties. And it’s supposed to be the arbiter that determines the constitutionality of actions of the executive and the legislature, and then settle disputes between us ordinary citizens.
“If you don’t protect that institution there is always an overbearing executive sometimes it may not even be the intention of the executive to want to be overbearing but the powers that we have vested in the executive because it executes, we have the coercive powers of the state, there’s always the danger that its actions will conflict with the rights of an individual,” he said.
Meanwhile, Julius Opoku Agyei is proposing that the means of appointing the heads of these independent institutions need to be looked at.
According to him, it is about time the power to nominate and appoint people to head these institutions be taken away from the President in totality, to further foolproof the independence of the institutions.