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The Alchemy of Social Justice: Directive Principles of State Policy
FREEDOM AND JUSTICE: These twin concepts encapsulate the Ghanaian Dream which is the overarching national manifesto in aid of a project to transform the Ghanaian political State into a free and just society. The object of the transformation is to secure social order through the institution of social justice which, when fueled or energised by patriotism and charity, creates the enabling environment for security and development.
Political philosophy, in the context of the DPSP, attempts to answer the question as to what the best society for the people of Ghana is. The framers of the Constitution, 1992 answered the question through the provision of the DPSP. For their part, in interpreting and applying the DPSP, the Judiciary must perpetually answer the political philosophical question whether they are in the business of helping to realise a free and just society.
The society envisaged is the subjective meaning of the political state, the subjective meaning of the relation between the citizen and the political state, and the subjective meaning of freedom and justice as perceived by the citizens of the State. The society is ideational; it has the potential to be attitudinal. In a sense, the State can be visualised as the physical edifice of a symbolic society. The nature of the subjective meaning as perceived by the citizens in the form of a virtual society determines the health of the political state; and one of the main purposes of the DPSP is to control and determine the nature of the virtual society.
The author’s three approaches to the DPSP depend on the question that the interpreter poses and seeks to answer. The theoretical approach involves freewheeling and fundamental questions that are unrestricted by any enactment or fact situation; the legal approach poses a question that is tethered to an enactment and is, in that regard, restricted by the meaning and context of the relevant enactment; and, the strategic approach deals with society-dependent questions involving a particular fact situation (an event) and an enactment.
The author suggests that the term enforceability be reserved for the fact that the principle is binding and worthy or deserving of a judicial declaration; that the possibility of molding orders following the declaration is a question of justiciability; and that the term justiciability should be reserved for non-enforcement on account of prudence in the design of orders.
His Lordship, Mr. Anthony Kwadwo Yeboah (April 1957 – October 2019) was a justice of the Court of Appeal of Ghana. He served as a judge at the Human Rights Division of the Accra High Court for years before he was appointed to the Court of Appeal. He published two books, The Alchemy of Social Justice: Directive Principles of Social Justice (2011); and Rights in Action: Trends, Challenges & Lessons (2012). He has other published scholarly works in the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) Law Journal: When Statutory ‘Shall’ may mean ‘May’; and Partnership Unbound: Reform of the Partnership Law in Ghana.
He graduated from the KNUST with Bachelor of Arts (Honors) degree in Social Sciences, after which he was appointed as a teaching assistant in the Department of Languages. At the Ghana School of Law, Accra, he qualified as a Barrister-at-Law in 1995, and in addition he was awarded Mmieh and E. S. Aidoo Prizes for overall best student in Conveyancing and Drafting.
As a solicitor and advocate at the Superior Court of Judicature, Ghana, he taught Business Law at the then University College of Education of Winneba, Kumasi campus; and engaged in private legal practice from Dadson & Associates, Hayfron-Benjamin & Co., and George Sarpong Legal Services, Kumasi. He joined the Bench as a High Court judge in 2009, and in 2018, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal. He was passionate about upholding human rights, gender equality and social justice. In one of his landmark cases, The Commissioner, CHRAJ & 2 Ors v. Ghana National Fire Service & Attorney General, he ruled in favour of two female firefighters who were dismissed from their jobs for being pregnant and ordered that should be reinstated. He described the action the Ghana National Fire Service as discriminatory.
He was a multilingual, an artist and a poet. He loved reading, playing the game of chess, and listening to jazz. He was married with five children. He died on the morn of Friday, October 4, 2019, the same day newly qualified Barristers-at-law were being inducted into the Ghanaian legal profession.