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If judges in Ghana will shut down the courts, here is why

Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has threatened to embark on industrial action over non-payment of arrears and review of salaries of lower court judges and magistrates

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Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has threatened to embark on industrial action over non-payment of arrears and review of salaries of lower court judges and magistrates.

The Association said although reviews of salaries of lower court judges had been constitutionally provided for by the 1992 Constitution, past and present governments had failed to implement the law.

Addressing the media in Accra last Friday, Justice Victor Ofoe, a Court of Appeal Judge, said a meeting would be convened on July 6 for a decision to be taken on the matter.

Even though, strike action, was not one of the considered options to have the concerns of members addressed, Justice Ofoe, who is the president of the Association said the matter was getting out of hand.

“The situation is frustrating, annoying, in fact, insulting. For how long can we continue to hold our members in check?” he asked.

For more than three years, he said the Association had prevented judges and magistrates of the lower courts from striking, but their concerns remained unresolved.

To calm down tempers, the Chief Justice, Ms. Sophia A.B.Akuffo met President Nana Akufo-Addo but nothing has changed.

“Should the CJ now be a trade unionist?And even after her meeting nothing appears to have changed. This is where our members think the “no strike no strike” should give way since all equations in executing the dictates of the constitution is being unbalanced.”

The Judge, observed that the bench was made up of more young men and women who cannot be financially deprived.

We should note that the bench is not made up of old men as it used to be sometime back, he explained, adding that “about 90 per cent are now young men and women, very boisterous and hot blooded, who cannot be easily convinced anymore with the reputation of the judiciary when they are being financially deprived.”

He appealed to the President to take immediate action in the matter and approve the salary review.

Politics

Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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