Wednesday, June 17, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, June 17, 2015 
Paramount Chief of Essikadu Traditional Area, Nana Kobena Nketsiah V on Wednesday took a swipe at promoters of the Magna Carta and said it was being advanced to satisfy the egos of colonialists.

“In celebrating this today, we should challenge the Magna Carta in order to make a contribution to human society. If we just take it hook, line and sinker, then we will just be caught up in what someone called ‘conceptual incarceration’,”

The Magna Carta (Latin for the Great Charter), also called Magna Carta Libertatum (Latin for the Great Charter of the Liberties), is a charter agreed upon by King John of England at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

First drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury to make peace between the unpopular King and a group of rebel barons, it promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown, to be implemented through a council of 25 barons and for centuries, the charter has been celebrated by democracy-loving countries.

The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) in a colloquium at Novotel, Accra to celebrate 800 years of the signing of the Magna Carta invited experts including Nana Nketsiah V, a staunch defender of African tradition to share his perspective of the document.

Human responsibilities
“Be very careful about what you are celebrating. I keep telling people that as an African the most important thing is not about rights. It is about human responsibilities. As soon as I move into rights I am in another paradigm. Rights were born out of a feudalistic society,” Nana Nketsiah V said.

He said “The sovereignty of the individual hinges on the sovereignty of the state. If the state is not sovereign and the community is not sovereign how can the individual be sovereign?”

Other speakers
Jon Benjamin, British High Commissioner who opened the colloquium said the Magna Carta had played central roles in the constitutional and legal development of many countries and could not be underestimated by anybody.

He said the processes leading to strengthening the ideals of the Magna Carta had evolved and added “we should be able to deal with the natural impatience and nurture the evolution instead of revolution.”

Dr. Kofi, historian and lawyer said the Magna Carta marked what he called “a decisive step towards constitutional governance” and added that “key human rights provisions derive its source from that document.”

Kwame Pianim, an economist said the Magna Carta was promoted to inspire ideals and added that the call to regulate market-oriented economies was becoming stronger.

Nene A. Amegatcher, President of GBA said the Magna Carta has helped to shape Ghana’s development of the rule of law, freedom and justice, separation of powers and gradual awareness of respect for human rights.

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