THE EXIGENCY OF KNOWING BASIC LAW 101 AND THE LACK THEREOF IN MODERN GHANAIAN AND AFRICAN SOCIETIES:
– Mr Cee, Feb 14, 2022
By any stretch of my imagination, I do not claim any expertise in law; neither do I presume to be a repository of all legal knowledge.
But, thanks to the privileged confluence of nature and nurture, I feel the unction in writing this, as one of my senior responsibilities (yes, senior at 63 come Nov) as follows:👴🏽🤠
to impart the basics of what I was taught in legal electives at professional/tertiary education, and during my various life experiences in the military, paramilitary, intelligence, private investigation, public policy, religious, and musical fields of endeavor.
To wit, at age 16, which is universally recognized as the age of consent, it may go without saying that our children attain what is globally and invariably known as “contractual authority” and “consensual consent”; if they are presumably and legally competent, that is.
Without going into the nitty-gritty, this sudden influx of legalities may easily overwhelm a 16-year-old, as they prepare to enter their “universal adult suffrage” at age 18 and begin to exercise many rights and freedoms; not to mention the attending responsibilities, duties, and obligations.
These include the most notable, in my humble opinion – their civic duties and civil responsibilities.
And although we might not perhaps honestly admit the sin of neglect/omission, most of us may have or may have had the parental privilege of guiding our growing children through this “rite of passage” into their obviously fast and furiously approaching young adulthood.
However, in our pursuit as able proud parents, we more often than not unwilfully and inadvertently fail to help our future descendants navigate, or adequately explore the maze of their legal rights, freedoms, civic duties as citizens of their country, and their civic responsibilities as members of their given societies
I dare not reinvent the wheel; nonetheless, the following may help some, if not, most of us, to recap what we probably were never taught ourselves whilst we were growing up in our often rambunctious teenage and youthful years; not because of our occupational pursuits, but despite them.
I presume most of us hitherto might have come across these terms and phrases during our lives, so I shall not torment you with a lecture on what they are or aren’t.
Nonetheless, I’m confident that my brief layman’s exploration might help unpack the following:
Unless constrained by national law/statutes, I term these as obligations of a legally competent individual to the country, city, and municipality they reside in as their domicile (the place they call as home or their permanent residence)
CIVIL rights and freedoms:
These may be termed as basic citizenship, human rights, and freedoms, which, unless curtailed by law, may include but are not limited to:
Freedom of assembly
Freedom of association
Freedom of movement
Freedom of religion
Freedom of opinion and expression
Freedom from slavery and torture
The right to life, liberty, and property
The right to vote
The right to a fair trial
The right to the presumption of innocence…
The right to government services
The right to work and public education
The right to use public facilities, etc…
Needless to emphasize, there can be many caveats, depending on specific national laws and statutes, which may or may not restrict the aforementioned rights and freedoms.
Whenever these rights, freedoms, and responsibilities are in question, that is, when lay counselors such as myself honorably bow out and defer to the expertise of competent lawyers (the operative word being “competent”)
Nevertheless, I hope the above has enhanced our knowledge or reminded some of us of what we already knew one way or the other.
In any case, if it has served either purpose, then I’m glad to have done my humble bit.
One may however ask: Why the heck? 🤷🏾♂️
Simple! Amid current unsettling social turmoils in our dear motherland – Ghana and elsewhere in Africa, knowing and teaching our basic rights, freedoms, duties, and responsibilities to ourselves and children especially, may not necessarily make us legally savvy
However, we shall ultimately be better for it as a society that is yearning to appreciate and understand the rule of law.
If not, then better legal minds, with all due respect to laypeople, are most welcome to assist. Good day, stay well, safe, informed, and useful, beloved🙏🏾🤓