The Law Students (LSA) of UCC has immortalised Rev. Fr. Dr Isidore Kuupolle, Bonabom SJ with a lecture as part of its annual week celebration.
The Rev. Fr. Dr Bonabom was a lecturer at the Faculty of Law until his demise on December 22, 2015, through a fatal accident on the Wa-Nandom road in the Upper West Region. Aside from being a lecturer in the University, Rev. Fr. Dr Bonabom positively affected the lives of others with his love, care and humility.
The 3rd edition of the lecture was on the theme “Freedom and Justice: the Ideals for Enhancing Rule of Law”.
Religion and Law Operate Under an Authority for Guidance
Speaking on the topic “Religion and Law: In Search of a Just Society,” the Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development, Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said Religion and Law operated under authority for guidance and also required political powers for direction. He noted that Religion was embedded in the customs of the people and therefore the laws should also take cognizance of this reality saying “In Africa Religion is law and the very soul of African existence and, therefore, you cannot divorce the African from his religion. Our concept of religion encompasses all aspect of our culture, customs and traditions.”
Laws Must Reflect the Customs and Traditions of the People
Dr Abdul-Hamid argued that if the constitution of Ghana emanated from the people, then it must reflect their customs and traditions. “If Ghanaians are the source of the constitution, then in what capacity does the British form of justice, judicial processes, jurisprudence and legal theories serve as the basis of the realities of law and justice in Ghana,” he asked.
Truth is Only One
The Minister for Inner City and Zongo Development averred that the European understanding of truth was different from that of the African. “In Africa, there is the belief that there is only one truth and not alternative truth as we are made to believe in the English law and there is no alternative truth- so the European mentality that there are various truths and our understanding that truth is one are incongruent. They are dissonant in principle and therefore, if you allow Africans to assimilate this it becomes disastrous”.
Dr Abdul-Hamid further stated that “Since truth is justice, we cannot find justice under judicial arrangement whose ethos is fundamentally opposed to our concept of truth”. He posited that unlike English law where the truth resides in the bosom of the judge, in Africa “truth is just one”. He said the English Law could not deliver justice to Ghanaians pointing out that “You can only deliver justice to the people who resonate with your beliefs”.
Future Looks Gloomy with the Imposition of English Law
Dr Abdul-Hamid painted a gloomy picture of the future if nothing was done to change the current constitution which was full of laws from the English. He ended his presentation with a quote from Dr K. B. Maison, that “Law cannot be imposed on the cultural identity and since our law-the English law is divorced from our cultural identity I dare say that our search for a just society has a long way to go different”
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
On his part, the Minister for Railways Development, MMrJoe Ghartey spoke on the “Different Facet of Human Rights: Economic, Social and Cultural Right as Basis for Freedom and Justice in Enhancing the Rule of Law”. He said the universal declaration of human rights initially did not explicitly grant economic and social rights. He explained that economic, social and economic rights had to do with the right to work and measure, free choice of employment, just conditions of work, equal pay for equal work, remuneration freedom to form and join trade unions, the right to a standard of living adequate food, shelter and clothing, medical care and social services, education, right to culture among others.
Fundamental Human Rights is Meaningless without Economic Empowerment
Mr Ghartey said, “What comes to mind when you mention Freedom and Justice and fundamental human rights; is civil and political rights thus the right to vote, the right to free speech, and right to fair trial among others”. He argued that fundamental human rights would be meaningless if the individual was not enlightened and empowered economically. “Without economic and social rights, civil and political rights and by extension freedom and justice and rule of law are meaningless. What does the right to vote mean to someone who is starving,” he asked.
Contribute Towards Development of the Country
The Metropolitan Archbishop of Cape Coast, Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle who graced the function commended the students for instituting the lecture in honour of Rev. Fr. Bonabom who was passionate about what he believed in. He advised them to contribute their quota towards the development of the country irrespective of their political affiliation. “This country was meant to be together so the New Patriotic Party(NPP) or the National Democratic Congress(NDC) cannot provide the needs of Ghanaians unless each complements the other in contributing towards the greater good of this country” he noted.