Dotse Now Acting CJ As Judicial Staff Strike

Justice Jones Victor Dotse

Justice Jones Victor Dotse, the most senior member on the Supreme Court bench, has assumed the position of Acting Chief Justice of Ghana.

This comes after Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, officially retired from active service, having hit the mandatory retiring age of 70 years.

Justice Anin-Yeboah served for 21 years as a judge, serving three years as the Head of the Judiciary.

This is in accordance with Article 144 (6) of the 1992 Constitution, which stipulates that when the office of Chief Justice is vacant or the Chief Justice, for any reason is unable to perform the functions of his office, the most senior Justice of the Supreme Court shall act as the Chief Justice until a substantive Chief Justice is appointed.

Justice Gertrude Torkornoo is expected to take over as Chief Justice after her appointment by President Akufo-Addo, but she is yet to be vetted and approved by Parliament.

She is scheduled to appear before the Appointment Committee of Parliament today, for vetting.

Meanwhile, aggrieved national executive members of the Judicial Service Staff Association of Ghana (JUSAG), have declared an indefinite strike. This is following the government’s inability to pay its updated and improved salary scheme and arrears approved by the Judicial Council.

The indefinite strike, which occurred on Wednesday, May 24, 2023, witnessed empty courtrooms as thousands of JUSAG members took part in the strike.

Addressing journalists at a press conference, the President of JUSAG, Mr. Samuel Afotey, accused the National Labour Commission (NLC) of bias following an earlier summons for the parties to resolve the matter but the situation was unresolved, stating that they have “suffered enough” and asked all JUSAG staff to stay at home until further notice.

“It will interest you to know that the judiciary, apart from its core mandate of resolving disputes, interpreting and enforcing Ghana’s laws, also generates substantial revenues for the state.

“For the past 10 years, we have generated over GH¢2.00 billion in revenue through fees, fines, etc. to the state. We are pushing for the President to approve and pay the salaries of the departments, but it does not affect only administrative staff; Directors, District Court Magistrates, and Circuit Court Judges are also affected. All these people serving in the third arm of government have been subjected to this mistreatment by the Government,” Mr. Afotey Otu stated.

“We have suffered enough. The National Executive Council of JUSAG, upon consultation with the Judicial Service Ladies Association of Ghana, Senior Staff Association (SSAJUG), Driver Association, Finance Staff Association, and all stakeholders who matter, hereby declare an indefinite strike,” he disclosed.

He said “by this declaration of strike, all service staff are immediately directed not to report to work from today onwards unless and until the President of Ghana complies with Article 149 of the Constitution. This is done by approving and paying our newly paid salaries with all arrears from January to date.”

By Vincent Kubi & Prince Fiifi Yorke