Thursday, 1 September 2016

Episode 6: Law and Order

 Monday morning was a bright one. The air was fresh and the rays of the sun beamed down on us as we gathered at the district court of Tamale at on Dagomba Street. Shahema, the law graduate, was eager to see how court proceedings went on here in Ghana and we were all sure to arrive on time as the appointments at the Judicial Court are punctual; unlike “Ghana-man time”.

Enjoying the hand-written inscription
We waited for a small while outside, and then it was time to sit in the cases. We were asked to switch off our mobile phones or put them on silent before we went in. The magistrate came in and the ball started rolling. The first two cases were done in about ten minutes since the complainant (the people accusing the candidate of being guilty) in both cases were absent from the court, and thus the cases were dismissed. The next case was a theft case in which the defendant was accused of spending money that was transferred to him through mobile money to be given to a man in Accra.

 Whilst at the court, Juliana and Alhassan were at Banvim on a mission to meet the chief, and to inform him of our intentions of raising awareness on sexual reproductive health and rights and domestic violence. The secretary of the women’s group in Banvim acted as their spokesperson and carried their message across. The chief agreed and gave his approval: a success for the cohort’s new aim of involving men in our work.

Still at the court, the theft case was adjourned and the next case was called. Even though we would have liked to stay and watch some more, there were still other activities we had planned so, we had to leave for the office and get on with the day’s work without having the talk with the registrar on how domestic violence cases were handled as planned.

We arrived at the office just a few minutes after Juliana and Alhassan arrived. We continued with updates of the activities we had, followed with a discussion on what we learnt about the judicial system here in Ghana.

The week seemed to consist of much paperwork. We had reports to write, proofread, and print out. And we also had our workshop to plan. Earlier in the week, we had some news that was not favorable concerning our workshop; it hadn’t been approved. Sheila told us the temporary verdict that the workshop was not deemed to be sustainable and that Mr. Renee needed to discuss it with our project partner, before giving us approval.

       The new good news is that we have approval but the date has been moved. Reports are coming together, and preparations are ongoing for the workshop, peer education sessions and our awareness raising in Banvim community. Next week is going to be an exciting and tiring one!

Written by Attah Hannah Afi
Edited by Ellie Gibbs

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