Full Speech: Bar president, Yaw Acheampong Boafo at 2022 annual Bar Conference

This year’s event which is underway in Ho in the Volta Region has been theme “Ghana's Democracy under the Fourth Republic: Gains, Challenges and Prospects.”

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The annual Bar conference is expected to drive home many things – a call on authorities to do better on issues of national concern, a time to ponder and hold discussions on problems of the legal profession, as well as knowledge sharing through the many plenary sessions, among others. 

This year’s event which is underway in Ho in the Volta Region has been theme “Ghana's Democracy under the Fourth Republic: Gains, Challenges and Prospects.”

In his speech at the opening ceremony, Mr. Yaw Acheampong Boafo, president of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) highlights a myriad of issues; from media freedoms and responsibilities, Ashia Huang and galamsey, the seeming criticisms of the judiciary, alternative dispute resolution and legal education.

He also maintains that while the 1992 Constitution may have served the country well so far, it still holds imperfections that may need remedy. 

“We ask that immediate steps are taken by government to implement the Fiadjoe Commission Report; or in the alternative set up a new Constitutional Reform Commission to look at our constitution after 30 years," he proposes, while urging the government also to “seriously push through efforts to pass into law the Draft Conduct of Public Officers Bill that will deal with violations of the law by public officials, including rules on conflict of interest and code of conduct as a way or tool for fighting corruption in fidelity to and giving effect to Chapter 24 of the Constitution.”

Below is a full text of the Bar president’s speech: 




His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic;

His Lordship Justice Anin Yeboah, Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana;

The Right Honourable Godfred Yeboah Dame, Attorney General and Minister for Justice and the Official Leader of the Bar;

Members of the Council of State;

Ministers of State;

Togbe Afede XIV, Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and President of the Asogli State Council;

My Lords Justices of the Supreme Court herein gathered;

The Honourable Judicial Secretary;

My Lords Justices of the Superior Courts herein gathered;

Members of the Lower Bench;

Members of the National Council of the Ghana Bar Association;

Learned Friends;

Members of the media fraternity;

Invited Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is with great pleasure and privilege that I stand before and address you at this august gathering of the 2022 Conference of the Ghana Bar Association. Let me take this earliest opportunity- doubtlessly in order- to say woezor and warmly welcome all of you distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen to the beautiful city of Ho, the proud host city of this year’s Bar Conference. Ho has been chosen in tandem with the convention of the Association to rotate the venue of our annual conference amongst the different regional capitals of our dear country. 

As far as welcomes are concerned, I have to mention His Excellency the President of the Republic, in a very special way. He was the first Attorney General under the Fourth Republic to attend the whole session of the Ghana Bar Association Conference during his tenure, He was the first Attorney General to pay for State Attorneys to attend Conferences, a welcome practice which has persisted to this day. As Foreign Minister he attended the opening ceremony of every Bar Conference. As his party’s flagbearer, he again attended the opening ceremony of every Bar Conference. On assumption of the High Office of President of the Republic he has attended the opening ceremony of every Bar Conference and he is here today! We know that when he completes his constitutional mandated term as President and retires from public office, he will still be attending Bar Conferences. Mr. President, the GBA is very grateful for your unflinching commitment to our values and our cause.

On my behalf and on behalf of the Association, I wish to express my profound gratitude to the hardworking members of the Council of the Ghana Bar Association, the Executives of the Volta Region Bar Association, the National Conference Planning Committee, the Local Organising Committee and all others who have tirelessly assisted and co-operated with the Executives and me to make this year’s conference a reality. 

I arrived in Ho a couple of days ago and I have had the chance to take in some of the sights and sounds of this beautiful city. I have been impressed. Hopefully, you can find time to do same and explore other parts of the city and Volta Region as a whole. Through that- in our own small way- we contribute significantly to local tourism and by extension the economy of our dear country. 

To the good people of Ho, thank you for your warm reception so far and for opening your doors to us. We hope to experience more memorable moments while here and we do not take anything for granted. We shall be your worthy guests in the next few days. The Volta Region- although relatively small in size - occupies a special place in the annals of the legal profession in this country.

This is home to some of the most illustrious lawyers and jurists that this country has produced thus far: Chief Justice Fred Kwasi Apaloo, Justices Isaac Wuaku, Theodore Adzoe, Jones Victor Dotse, Nasiru Sule Gbadegbe, Senyo Dzamefe Sam Okudzeto, Enoch Davison Kom, Solomon Kwami Tetteh Prof. Justice Anselmus Kodzo P Kludze, Justice F Y Kpegah, Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Prof. Kofi Kumado, Tsatsu Tsikata, Fui Tsikata, to mention but a few. Of the twenty-five (25) persons who have risen to become National Presidents of the Ghana Bar Association since 1957, five (6) are citizens of the Volta Region: J.K.F. Adadevoh, E.D. Kom, Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Sam Okudzeto, Solomon Kwami Tetteh and Benson Nutsukpui. 

It is, therefore, significant that the first Regional Bar Centre of the Ghana Bar Association is to be built in Ho. I will have the privilege to cut the sod for the construction of the project this afternoon. I am happy to inform Conference that First Sky Group has pledged Five Hundred Thousand Cedis (GHC 500,000.00) towards the construction of the Bar Centre. I am assuring all members that by the end of my tenure in office as National President, the Volta/Oti Bar will have a befitting edifice to serve as a Regional Bar Centre.

Talking about lawyers, it is indubitable that lawyers have been at the forefront of the establishment and maintenance of democracy in Ghana. Even long before independence and even in the absence of a Bar Association properly so-called in Ghana, many distinguished lawyers- particularly John Mensah Sarbah- had fought for, and contributed towards the attainment of Ghana’s political independence and sovereignty, culminating in the establishment of the First Republic.

Since then, and through the violent, turbulent and uncertain days of the Second and Third Republics- characterized by and associated with largely needless and unwarranted military adventurisms- lawyers in Ghana and by extension, the Ghana Bar Association, similarly have held their own and continued to fight for a truly democratic and progressive society at times at great personal and institutional cost. This culminated in the end to military rule, a return to civilian Constitutional rule through a referendum and of the establishment of the 4th Republic in 1993 under the aegis of the 1992 Constitution.

In sum, Ghana and Ghanaians for that matter, have thus enjoyed 30 years of uninterrupted democratic rule under the 4th Republic- indubitably the longest period of political stability since Independence in 1957. That makes the 4th Republic very special and unique in the scheme of things. It is tellingly significant! 

As participants and witnesses or even stakeholders and beneficiaries of the 4th Republic, we are well placed to assess, evaluate and determine the extent to which the present democratic dispensation has served us and our interests and aspirations as a people, the challenges and even threats that exist, and the prospects for the future.

That beautifully situates and brings to the fore the theme for this year’s conference of the Ghana Bar Association; to wit, “Ghana’s Democracy under the Fourth Republic: Gains, Challenges and Prospects”, which I find apposite and relevant at this moment of our democratic journey and dispensation. 



It is generally accepted that the very notion or concept of democracy- as the basis, source and midwife for democratic governance- is attributed to the ancient Greeks from the combination of two words “demos", meaning people and “kratos", which also means “power or rule". In simple terms, democracy means “rule by the people”. 

The above notion of democracy birthed by the ancient Greeks has been refined in the course of history. For example, Abraham Lincoln, the famous former President of the United States of America might have had it in mind and drew inspiration from it during the delivery of his equally famous Gettysburg speech/address in November 1863, when in his inimitable poignant style, gave his definition of democracy- which I believe is popular with students of government and political science- as “…… government of the people, by the people, for the people…”

Democracy thus exists from the will and participation of the people serving as the source of the legitimacy for sovereignty, a view shared by and underpinning the work of many international organizations as well as within the context of the municipal laws of Ghana. 

It cannot be disputed that the attributes and ingredients of democracy as pertained in those days of yore in 5th Century Greece have changed and been refined when juxtaposed to prevailing practices. 

For while during that period almost any adult citizen in Athens- with the exception of women, slaves and foreigners- was able to access or enter and deliberate on issues by simple majority at their “Assembly”, today some few people are elected to perform same or similar functions for and on behalf of the overwhelming majority of the masses. 

For example, women are qualified to enter the Senate, National Assembly or Parliament as the case may be; and the idea of slavery has long been jettisoned and illegalized. In sum, the notion of democracy has significantly evolved over time and improved.

Nonetheless, nothing said here is to state or suggest by any necessary implication that democracy is perfect. Certainly not! Indeed, literature is replete with varied criticisms by several thinkers who have spoken to criticize democracy for whatever it is and represents. They include Plato, Socrates, Aristotle etc. 

Plato, who himself was a Greek-where democracy was birthed- was one famous critic of democracy. In his “Republic Book VI", Plato particularly believed and posited that expertise and knowledge is and ought to be the critical attribute of a national leader; which persons or leaders, democracy seldom produces.

Instead, Plato was frustrated that democracy mainly elected leaders based on irrelevant considerations such as their appearance or charisma; and that democracy produced leaders who lack knowledge and who are only effective in manipulating popular opinion; and that persons or leaders who are experts at winning elections will eventually dominate democratic politics. 

In a similar vein, the great and famous former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Sir Winston Churchill, also cynically described democracy as “the worst form of government- except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…”. 

Despite the cynicism of Sir Winston Churchill in particular about democracy, it is deductible and even inherent from his criticism of democracy- with its warts and all- that at least it stands head and shoulders above the other forms of governance such as autocracy, tyranny, dictatorship etc. which are worse.

That underscores the reasonable superiority and desirability of democracy as the best form of government- which obviously should have inspired the concerted efforts and struggle to the jettisoning of military rule and the almost unanimous choice of and establishment of democratic rule under the 4th Republic. 

But democracy is not an abstract entity. It  has its special appeals and incidents and characteristics and attributes which sets it apart from the other forms of governance; which would include freedom of expression, freedom of association, regular free and fair general elections, separation of powers including an independent judiciary, constitutionalism which is essentially how the Constitution and laws limit and delineate what a government and state institutions do and how they act; a multiparty political system, protection for civil liberties, protection of minorities, rule of law, which prevents the arbitrary exercise of state power by any of the arms of government etc.; attributes that are largely absent, watered  down and inaccessible in other forms of governance such as autocracy etc.



Most of these attributes and ingredients of democracy appear to have been enjoyed and seen within the democratic space in Ghana since the establishment of the 4th Republic. Today, there is a pluralistic media with an active and vibrant private media, freedom of speech is reasonably guaranteed and exercised by the citizenry; we have an independent judiciary; a multiparty political environment in which political parties have had the chance to participate in multiple general elections within the constraints of the law and resources since 1992; as well as the right of aggrieved persons or entities to engage in peaceful demonstrations to oppose, question and  challenge decisions and actions of the government and state, which sometimes helps to influence proposed policies and serve as feedback on already rolled out policies and programmes. 

There is, therefore, to be seen, a remarkable departure and improvements from the days of yore of military adventurisms as recorded in the First to Third Republics and the prevailing democratic setting under the Fourth Republic. It cannot be overemphasized. But we dare not take it also for granted. 

Because it calls for continued concerted efforts by all and sundry within the democratic space to iron out and consolidate Ghana’s democracy. This is because, despite the gains made and political stability so far since 1992, it cannot be disputed that there exists threats and challenges that affect our march towards real democratic consolidation as a vehicle to the realization of our full potentials and development as well as our aspirations as a people.



For example, despite the best efforts of successive governments, significant sections of the population are still poor and struggle to have and afford a decent living. Recent survey reports by the Ghana Statistical Service for example show a significant number of Ghanaians are either extremely poor or poor; somewhat showing that decades of democratic rule and political stability have not reasonably translated into improving the quality of lives of the people as would have been expected or desired. 

Along with that is the perennial issue of corruption, by which scarce state resources are plundered and finds their way into private pockets to the detriment of the masses, who have genuine expectations of an improvement in their living conditions, quality of lives and capacity to succeed economically. 

The recent Auditor General’s Report and the revelations therein- although not new- is still a sad commentary on the state of corruption, plundering, embezzlement and mismanagement of the public purse in this country. 

While we call on government to continue to implement policies-including novel ones and best practices from around the globe to deal with and contain corruption, in the interim, the GBA joins in the call of some Civil Society Organizations on the need for the Auditor General to unfailingly exercise his Constitutional and statutory powers to issue surcharge and disallowances- powers that have received judicial blessing of the Supreme Court- against persons and entities cited for stated financial irregularities as one key and effective tool to protect public funds. 

Meanwhile, there are other elephant in the room situations that are equally worrying and threaten the common weal; to wit political violence, monetization of politics, deep-seated partisan polarisation etc. These are some of the challenges that our democracy faces and stand in our way to achieving democratic consolidation as a key propeller for economic development, and establishing what is truly a just, progressive and fair society. 

In that light, the Ghana Bar Association reiterates its call to the government and the State for that matter, to take more effective and sustainable steps to ensure the realization of a much more fair and equitable development across the country and across the diverse sectors of the economy and sections of the populace; including more effective policies and measures to tackling unemployment in all forms, improving access and quality of education, especially at the basic level amongst others as envisaged by and stipulated in the Directive Principles of State Policy under the Chapter 6 of the 1992 Constitution.

Indeed, there are other existential threats to our democracy. Recent events have highlighted and brought to the fore the dangers of the unbridled utterances and use of intemperate language across the various media outlets, especially by political activists. The level of vitriol on comment threads on social media at times with tribal undertones is quite alarming. 

Much as freedom of expression and pluralistic media is guaranteed and protected under the 1992 Constitution, it should not be lost on all of us that attached to such a right carries a corresponding and even a greater deal of responsibility and circumspection.

The received learning appears to show that freedom of expression is not absolute and can be restricted. In other words, there is acceptance that freedom of speech is not absolute, and that protection of free speech does not extend to instances in which one's speech violates the legal interests and rights of other citizens and of society or the national interest or public order.

Freedom of expression is not protected and guaranteed when without justifiable grounds or without good faith or honest belief- a person denigrates or casts slurs on the reputations of other persons (defamation); or when words are said in the public or media space to incite people to violence. 

Indeed, it is seen that although the 1992 Constitution has dedicated a whole Chapter 5 to guarantee and protect the fundamental human rights of Ghanaians including freedom of expression, there is a caveat or condition, thereby revealing that rights are bereft of absoluteness. 

Appropriate reference is thus made to Article 12 (2) of the 1992 Constitution, which states that;

Every person in Ghana, whatever his race, place of origin, political opinion, colour, religion, creed or gender shall be entitled to the fundamental human rights and freedoms of the individual contained in this Chapter but subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest". 

Akuffo JSC (as she then was) in CLOSSAG v The Attorney-General and Others; Unreported Civil Appeal No: J1/16/2016; delivered on 14th June, 2017, succinctly expressed herself on Article 12 (2) thus;

“Prima facie, constitutional rights and freedoms are to be enjoyed fully but subject to the limits which Constitution itself places thereon, in the terms of Article 12(2)…” .

The Ghana Bar Association therefore joins the call for more responsibility, decency, restraint and circumspection on our airwaves. The programmes the media churn out should be healthy and promote peaceful co-existence, and be a real talk-shop and market place of ideas where opinions and superior alternatives are discussed and exchanged within an atmosphere of civility rather than their platforms being used as outlets for ventilation of divisions, intemperate language, and confusions.

By way of suggestion, management of media houses and hosts of political programs may consider reviewing the kind of persons or panelists they invite unto their shows. Hosts of shows must be alert and proactive to herd panelists and take charge of the discussions to prevent utterances that could unfairly denigrate the reputation of others and even breach the peace and security of this country.  Media houses cannot hide behind dishonest click baits to tarnish the reputation of others who hold positions they disagree with. 

Despite the excesses that may sometimes arise from our media outlets, at the other end of the spectrum, the Association is equally worried about the reported incidents of violence and thuggery and threats that have been visited on some media personnel in the discharge of their all-important work. 

There are known and reported cases in which mostly persons belonging to the two dominant political parties in this country- as well as in some instances some security personnel- have attacked, harmed, assaulted and threatened journalists in the line of their works. 

This unfortunate tendency has not been helped by the seeming lethargy or failure by the state and its relevant agencies such as the Ghana Police Service and the Office of the Attorney-General to swiftly arrest, investigate and prosecute such offenders. 

Even for cases that are prosecuted, there are delays and for those that result in convictions, offenders and perpetrators are given what could be said to be lenient or slap-on-the-wrist sentences, which indubitably fails to deter them and other members of the public.

Whatever interpretations that people may put to these reports, the reality is that Ghana has not done well in the 2022 edition of the World Press Freedom Index as Ghana was ranked 30 places lower than its more recent position in the 2021 ranking. 

The lower ranking is unhealthy and symptomatic of the presence of a disease affecting the health of press freedom in Ghana that needs urgent fixing and remedy. While it may not be all doom and gloom, however, the above situation should be a veritable source of concern to all of us. We at the GBA are concerned. 

The GBA amongst others is of the belief that swift and unbiased arrests and prosecutions of persons who physically attack and abuse journalists by the State, irrespective of the political party of the perpetrators involved- and deterrent sentences imposed by our Courts would bring confidence and restore or even improve Ghana’s position as a shining example of press freedom and democratic governance in Africa. 

As a corollary to the above, the GBA has found it unfortunate, distasteful and uncomfortable some recent unfair, unnecessary and even misguided statements that appear and intend to attack and malign the work of our judiciary, question the competence and independence of our hardworking and learned Justices and even sought to cast slurs and innuendos at our Supreme Court in the public space. 

Democratic governance and Constitutional rule- as we have in Ghana under the 1992 Constitution, providing for constitutionalism and an independent and respected judiciary- despite its peculiar imperfections- is still a superior alternative to any other known form of governance.

Inasmuch as I would concede that our judiciary is not perfect - certainly not infallible- and there is always room for improvement, and our Justices are not beyond criticisms, the appropriate tools for correction and improvement should be by constructive criticisms and superior arguments rather than statements and acts that attack their persons, undermine their independence, ridicule the Bench, bring the administration of justice into disrepute and threaten their very security and safety. 

It is completely unacceptable for the work of the Judiciary to be described in derogatory terms such as “Unanimous FC” and also to accuse the Judiciary of victimising lawyers who appear before them because of their partisan affiliations.

It is very important for our colleagues who are members of political parties to understand that their primary fidelity is to the legal profession. It is worrisome when members of the Ghana Bar Association itself join the chorus of ignorant partisan populists to denigrate the image of the legal profession and Judiciary.

It does not mean that the GBA or the Judiciary that is above criticism. However, we must discuss our issues within our confines and the parameters of our professional ethics, else we lose our dignity and mystique in the eyes of the public. It is said “the man who broadcasts his wife’s alleged infidelity in the village square, should not be surprised if the men in the village doubt his potency!”   

It is the duty of all of us as citizens to be tolerant and protect our constitutional democracy and to ensure that the 4th Republic continues to thrive and fulfill our individual and collective aspirations as one people with a common destiny. A strong and respected judiciary is a sine qua non in that regard. 

The Association also has some concerns about the illegal mining menace-popularly known as “galamsey”, which this nation and its inhabitants have had to grapple with in recent years. It seems there is no end in sight and we are in for the long haul. 

There appears to be a general consensus and unanimity from the general public, public officers, the media and academia about the deleterious effects of “galamsey” on our environment, the economy and the health of the people, especially through exposure to harmful chemicals. 

The cultivation and production of cash crops such as cocoa have been affected and hampered; and there is depletion of vegetation, flora and fauna and pollution of our water resources, thereby raising the spectre of the imminent shortage of supply of quality drinking water to our homes and industries.

We recognize the efforts of successive governments in recent times geared towards dealing with the menace but we hold the view that a lot more can still be done to effectively deal with the menace that 


poses a serious threat to our survival, especially in this period of climate change concerns. 

There are reports that powerful persons in this country are behind these illegal activities. Mr. President, our Constitution makes it clear in Article 17 that every person is equal before the law. We cannot deal with this menace in a perfunctory manner where hired labourers are arrested and prosecuted for engaging in illegal mining, whilst the powerful sponsors of “galamsey” are not dealt with. It is crystal clear that most of these hired hands do not have the means to purchase the equipment used in illegal mining. The time has come for action; the time has come for anyone involved in “galamsey” irrespective of social status or membership of a political party to be dealt with in accordance with law.

The recent media reports that the notorious Aisha Huang has resurfaced in Ghana under a false identity and has even resumed her suspected acts of illegal mining some four years after her deportation from the country is equally worrying and ridicules efforts of government in decisively dealing with the “galamsey” menace. 

The GBA, however, welcomes and finds it refreshing the statement and promise by the Attorney-General to prosecute her and her accomplices for past and present crimes, which would go a long way to restoring some integrity to the “galamsey” fight by the State. The time has come for foreigners to take our nation and our laws more seriously. That makes us truly sovereign!



Kindly permit me at this stage to touch on an issue that borders on legal education in this country and one that has been discussed in the public place for some time now and what appears to be an unfair and unfounded attack on the General Legal Council. Specifically, it concerns the entrance examination and admission into the Ghana School of Law. 

We hold the view that access to legal education- particularly into the Ghana Law School- must be increased. Indeed, much has been done to improve that in recent times. There are now five (5) campuses of the Ghana School of Law in sharp contrast to the days of old when there existed only one (1) campus of the Law School. Indeed, I can say without any tinge of equivocation that there are now more people enrolled in legal education and pursuing the professional course than at any time in our history.

However, we do not believe this should be construed to mean that there must be a wholesale, unfettered and unregulated admissions into the Law School and legal education generally in this country. Calls for increased accessibility, in spite of its importance, must not ride roughshod over the critical need to regulate and ensure that quality is not compromised. 

The Ghana Bar Association, therefore, largely supports the steps taken by the General Legal Council to regulate legal education in Ghana thus far. The GLC is not responsible for the situation we find ourselves. The responsibility lies with other statutory bodies. 

We must take a critical look at the role of the Ghana Tertiary Education Commission. In the application of statutory rules relative to accrediting Law Faculties, infractions such as student-staff ratio, library facilities and qualifications of lecturers, have been ignored.  The institutions who are in breach of these rules are still being allowed to produce law graduates. The GTEC is the primary regulator at the LLB level and should carry out its mandate more strictly and effectively. 

The Ghana Bar Association is ready and available to closely work with the General Legal Council, the Office of the Attorney-General, the faculties of law as well as other stakeholders in improving the quality of legal education in this country. It is our fervent hope that the new Legal Profession Bill is quickly enacted into law.

I would want to assure members of the Bar that my administration will continue to work hard to fulfill the manifesto promises and thematic areas of administration which informed and convinced the majority of you to elect me as your President. I shall not fail you.

During my campaign to seek the office of National President, I promised to pursue an approach where members of the GBA will be involved in decisions and policies affecting our Association. In furtherance of that policy at this year’s conference during discussions on matters affecting the Bar, we will take time to take stock of the current situation of the GBA, discuss policies that will shape the future of the Bar and take a dispassionate look at the cost of running the GBA. The GBA of 2022, with the attendant increase in membership, is not the GBA of ten years ago.  I will therefore urge all members to partake in the ongoing polls using our e-voting software so they can have an input in the administration of the GBA. 

The ICT drive of the GBA is still ongoing, in my first year we have made great gains on the ICT front, continuing from where my illustrious predecessor Anthony Forson Jnr left off. The GBA now has its own customised Continuing Legal Education (CLE) platform that will be launched at this year’s conference. The platform known as “Moose” will allow all lawyers to participate in CLE sessions, both live and recorded and even allow the GBA to run seven simultaneous live CLE sessions. 

The Bar Centre has also been renovated and retrofitted to serve as an ICT and CLE centre. The GBA Secretariat office is now a very modern edifice that lawyers will be proud to call their own, those who have recently visited the Secretariat will attest to this. 

It is inescapable that ICT is now embedded in the DNA of the GBA and is the fulcrum on which the GBA rotates. However, ICT comes with its attendant costs and it is hoped that as an Association we can find the financial means to sustain that which makes it easier for all lawyers to access GBA services. 

During the course of the legal year, members of the GBA for the first time ever made donations to deserving organisations on Mothers and Fathers Days and we intend to continue in the coming legal year. 

The GBA is grateful His Excellency the President launched the Legal Aid Fund and the Law Reform Fund on 10th August, 2022. Indeed, I will be proposing to the General Council of the GBA for the GBA as an Association to make periodic contributions to both funds in the coming years. 

Members and law firms across the country are also encouraged to make individual and separate contributions to the two funds; in addition to the existing arrangement or obligation on members to undertake pro bono cases for the legal year. 

We believe that through these means and efforts, we would be doing more- whether as individual members or law firms or as an Association- to enhance and make justice more accessible to the citizens of this country, especially to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized.



Mr. President, it is important for us as a nation to make sure that Accra, our national capital becomes the dispute settlement capital of Africa. Even though the Secretariat of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area is in Accra, Government must make the necessary effort to have the dispute settlement chamber of AfCFTA also situated in Accra.

Mr. President Section 114 of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act, 2010, Act 798 requires that the government establishes an Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre. Since 2010 that the Act came into force, the Centre is yet to be established. The GBA calls upon the Government as a matter of urgency to establish the Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre.

When the Centre is set up, we can put in place a mandatory requirement that disputes relating to commercial agreements that have to be performed in Ghana within a certain threshold must as a rule be settled at the Alternative Dispute Resolution Centre. 

The GBA, is therefore, excited to collaborate with the African Arbitration Association (AfAA), a non-profit private sector-led Association, to hold its third Annual Conference at Kempinski Hotel in Accra from 3rd to 5th November 2022 on the theme “Africanisation of International Dispute Resolution”

We urge members to register and attend the Conference. 



In sum, the above encapsulates how far we have come under the Fourth Republic and the peculiar circumstances of the democratic space and the attendant challenges that confront us. Challenges that we cannot wish away even if we wanted, because they stare us in our faces no matter which direction we turn our heads. 

While it may not be all doom and gloom, however, the above situation should be a veritable source of concern to all of us. So what do we do? What happens to us? Do we throw our hands in despair and give up?  Certainly not! The prospects are still bright and we still have the chance to redeem the health of the 4th Republic.

The GBA herein proposes the following as some of the things we can do stem the tide, end the seeming atrophy and redirect and reposition our nation to a path of democratic and political success. 

The first is what appears to be a need to undertake Constitutional reforms or review. Sowah JSC in the celebrated case of Tuffuor v Attorney-General, in his characteristic inimitable poignant fashion, inter alia said of a written Constitution such as ours, as one that contains our aspirations and hopes for a better and fuller life; a living organism capable of growth and development, as the body politic of Ghana itself is capable of growth and development. This is still largely true. 

Nonetheless, even though the 1992 Constitution may have reasonably served us well thus far, it is still not the best and not without its peculiar imperfections that may need remedy. It can be better. There is room for improvement and we believe the time is now for a review of it to be done, to properly serve our aspirations, reflect the times and hopes at this critical stage of our democratic journey.

We ask that immediate steps are taken by government to implement the Fiadjoe Commission Report; or in the alternative set up a new Constitutional Reform Commission to look at our constitution after 30 years.

We entreat the Government- in the light of what appears to be a lethargy or lack of urgency- to seriously push through efforts to pass into law the Draft Conduct of Public Officers Bill that will deal with violations of the law by public officials, including rules on conflict of interest and code of conduct as a way or tool for fighting corruption in fidelity to and giving effect to Chapter 24 of the Constitution. 

We request that the provisions of the Bill should meet international best practices to ensure real transparency, greater accountability and maximum management of public funds. Public service should truly be what it is and people who come to public office would know in advance of specified prohibitions and the punishments for their infractions, which would go a long way in curbing or reducing corrupt practices in public office.

In my speech to commemorate this year’s Martyrs Day I made the following statement and I wish to reiterate:- “We must all appreciate that an imperfect constitutional democracy that gives the opportunity to citizens to either change governments or extend their mandate is a far better option than any form of military adventurism where our lives and opportunities would be at the whims and caprices of some lawless few”.

We owe a collective obligation to ensure that the Fourth Republic remains the last ever Republic.

Lastly, we continue to ask Ghanaians of all walks of life and in whatever endeavour they find themselves in and across the political and social strata, to be more patriotic to the national cause.  We ask Ghanaians to exhibit a renewed and stronger spirit of patriotism. Can we be a little bit more selfless, more hardworking and exhibit more honesty and integrity? Can we be less partisan and be more nationalistic? 

We still have the time, talents, resources and will to turn back from the political and economic precipice and stand tall in the comity of nations. The great William Shakespeare, in his popular play, “Julius Caesar”, at Act 4, Scene 3, has some exhortation for us:

“...There is a tide in the affairs of men,
which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows, and in miseries:
On such a full sea are we now afloat;
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures..”.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I end my address by thanking you all for your attendance and attention this morning and your participation at this year’s Bar Conference. I wish us all a very enjoyable and fruitful 2002 Bar Conference. Thank you very much.