Denying ‘leftees’ role as family heads unconstitutional, discriminatory-Judge rejects Ga custom
According to the court, presided over by Justice Kweku T. Ackaah-Boafo, now at the Court of Appeal, such a practice is stereotypical and thus not a reasonable limitation in a free and democratic society
The High Court has described as unconstitutional and discriminatory, the supposed Ga custom which denies ‘left-handed’ persons the opportunity to hold a family position.
According to the court, presided over by Justice Kweku T. Ackaah-Boafo, now at the Court of Appeal, such a practice is stereotypical and thus not a reasonable limitation in a free and democratic society.
The court reached the decision in a case filed by the members of the Ashia We Family of Teshie in contention for who was qualified to be Head of the Family.
The plaintiffs sought the declaration that the substantive head of the family, Nii Boye Kumah was appointed caretaker of the Ashia We family but not as its head.
But in the course of the case, during the cross-examination, the plaintiffs' witness, Nii Sowah Kpewie disclosed to the court that the substantive family head, “is a ‘leftee’ and by custom, he cannot become even a caretaker.”
Further, the witness averred that the substantive head, Nii Boye Kumah had no right to enter the shrine because he is a ‘leftee’ and also since he is not a fetish priest.
Additionally, the plaintiffs noted that the substantive family head had not got the right to pour libation for the gods and mentioned that he, the family head had been hiding the fact that he is a ‘leftee’.
However, in its judgment, the court established that no acceptable customary evidence was provided to support the plaintiff's contention that a ‘leftee’ cannot be a family head.
Also, the court held that such a customary belief is not only repugnant to good conscience but inconsistent with the 1992 Constitution.
Additionally, the court noted that such an invitation by the plaintiffs is stereotypical thus promoting the view that those who are left-handed or have certain physical attributes are less worthy of recognition as members of the Ga society or Ghanaian Society generally and rejected the same.
Finally, the court rejected the plaintiffs' objection that the substantive family head was not qualified because his ancestors were strangers and held the 1st defendant, Nii Boye Kumah as the substantive head of the Ashia We family.
Read full judgment on Dennislaw.