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GETTING JUSTICE IN THE 8th PARLIAMENT – THE CASE OF THE 499 ‘LAW STUDENTS’

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The Parliament of Ghana is said to be the bulwark of the country’s democracy. Accordingly, the measure of the strength or otherwise of our democracy depends on the effectiveness of Parliament, the People’s Representatives. However, since the advent of the 4th Republic in 1992, our Parliament, many have observed, hasn’t done much to live up to this legitimate expectation of the masses, until the coming into force of the 8th Parliament.

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Not only has this 8th Parliament been effective in the exercise of its oversight responsibility of the Executive, but has also been very effective in its law-making functions, and in ensuring that its laws are not seen as mere enactments but as enforcement, in order to do away with the culture of impunity that we see everyday particularly by State actors.

Whereas I can give a plethora of examples to back this claim, I wish to, for the purpose of this write-up, zero-in on the historic motion unanimously passed by the 8th Parliament today, 29th October, 2021, to compel the General Legal Council (GLC) to admit all the 499 candidates who passed the 2021 Ghana School of Law (GSL) entrance exams but have been unfairly and unjustly denied admissions by the GLC.

The GLC has shockingly sought to justify its decision on a new admissions rule which rule was not in place, nor communicated to the students before or at the time of the exams. The so called new rule was only brought up after the exams results have been released and 1,289 out of the 2,824 candidates who sat for the exams passed based on the prevailing rule, which had existed since the introduction of the entrance exams in 2012.

In effect, the GLC was only seeking to change the rule of the game after the game has longed been played through the retrospective application of a new rule to unjustly deny these students their right to further education after meeting all the requirements. The students, many of whom have become frustrated and traumatized, have insisted on fighting this injustice at all costs.

They have accordingly petitioned every important institution and influential persons in this country but to no avail. The good news for them however is that the 8th Parliament has, as it has always done, risen to the occasion, and to their defense. Thus, if no institution of state is willing and ready to give these innocent students justice, the 8th Parliament will.

And so, just as we are quick to always criticize Parliament when they go wrong, we should also be quick to commend them when they do RIGHT. We should be grateful and thankful especially to the Deputy Majority Leader and MP for Efutu, Hon. Alexander Afenyo Markin, who brought up the issue in Parliament, rallied his colleagues to support the cause, and then moved a motion, which was unanimously adopted by the august house, compelling the GLC to admit all the 499 students in line with the prevailing rule at the time of the exams.

It is equally worth appreciating the role played by the Minority Chief Whip, Hon Muntaka Mubarak, who seconded Hon. Afenyo Markin’s historic motion, and all the MPs who contributed to this debate, and ensured that justice was served in this matter. The 1st Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Bekwai, Hon Joe Osei Owusu, who was the person presiding, was also awesome on the day.

As a student of Parliamentary democracy, I have never felt this proud about the institution of Parliament. The 8th Parliament will indeed be remembered for all the good reasons including today’s milestone. The 8th Parliament will forever be remembered for not only being the house of laws but also the house of justice.

The 8th Parliament will forever be remembered for being a reflection of the true conscience of the Ghanaian society. The 8th Parliament will forever be remembered for doing justice when it mattered most. Ultimately, the 8th Parliament will forever be remembered in the annals of history for restoring confidence in our Parliamentary democracy for the love of God and country.

(You can follow stories in the Daily Searchlight on www.thedailysearchlight.com or Daily Searchlight on our Facebook home page. Write to us on searchlightnews@yahoo.co.uk).

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