A 180-page manual on election adjudication in Ghana was launched today by the Chief Justice, Lady Justice Georgina T. Wood at a ceremony in Accra.
In an address she said election related disputes were matters of extreme public importance which affected not only the disputants but society at large.
According to the Chief Justice, "in participatory democracy, elective officers have a limited lifespan and slow paced adjudication of grievances renders the legal remedies subsequently obtained by a successful party empty."
She said "failed justice stands the risk of ruining our collective effort at promoting and sustaining peace in our country and turning the clock of progress and national development back."
In this regard, she said, the publication of the manual was not only timely, but one of the important initiatives demonstrating the judiciary's commitment to the rule of law and the speedy and fair adjudication of all electoral related disputes.
"The manual is easy to read and digest. It is not meant for only lawyers and judges but for civil society as well," she said.
"Information is a powerful tool. It is my ardent hope that every person with a stake in our electoral process will, after poring over the pages of this manual appreciate the fact that adjudication is a far better alternative to airing their grievances than resort to violence or armed conflict," she added.
The Chief Justice said the manual was a result of collaboration between her office, the judiciary and two eminent members of the legal profession.
She mentioned the two persons as "Professor Kofi Kumado of LECIA, University of Ghana, Legon and Dr S.Y. Bimpong-Buta, Consulting Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Supreme Court of Ghana Law Reports"
She announced that in about one week , "all Court of Appeal Judges, High Court Judges, the Court Registrars, the private bailiff's processing companies and other key court staff drawn from across the country will attend a two-day intensive training programme on election dispute adjudication."
She said some ten Alternative Dispute Resolution practitioners would also receive intensive refresher training in managing election disputes during the period.
Earlier in a remark, Mr Dauda Toure, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, said the manual anchors in the UNDP's Access to Justice programme which was under their Good Governance programme.
He said the manual was one of the "many good co-operations" they have with the office of the Chief Justice.
Others who spoke at the function were representatives of the Electoral Commission and the Ghana Bar Association.
Present at the function were representatives of the New Patriotic Party, the National Democratic Congress, the People's National Convention, chiefs and civil society.
The function was chaired by Justice Allan Brobbey of the Supreme Court.