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Ghana Struggles to Make Progress on Global Rule of Law Index

As the Rule of Law continues to erode in a majority of countries around the world, Ghana’s performance on the Global Rule of Law Index has again not seen much improvement.

Ghana ranked 61 out of 142 jurisdictions and countries according to the 2023 Index released on October 25 by the World Justice Project (WJP) – an independent body that has been measuring people’s perceptions and experiences annually on the rule of law since 2008.

Last year, and in 2021, the country ranked 58 out of 140 jurisdictions and now dropped three spots since that time. Regionally, Ghana ranked 7th out of 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s top performer is Rwanda (ranked 41st out of 142 globally), followed by Namibia and Mauritius. The three countries with the lowest scores in the region are Mauritania, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (138th globally).

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Commenting, co-founder and president of WJP William H. Neukom said “the world remains gripped by a rule of law recession characterized by executive overreach, curtailing of human rights, and justice systems that are failing to meet people’s needs. People around the world are paying the price.”

The Index scores countries using an average of eight factors – Constraints on Government Powers, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.

Ghana’s WJP Rule of Law Index rankings

Overall score global rank: 61/142

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Overall score regional rank:  7/34

Factor score rankings:

FACTOR GLOBAL RANK REGIONAL RANK INCOME RANK
Constraints on Government Powers 35/142 2/34 2/37
Absence of Corruption 101/142 16/34 17/37
Open Government 68/142 5/34 6/37
Fundamental Rights 66/142 7/34 3/37
Order & Security 76/142 7/34 9/37
Regulatory Enforcement 57/142 6/34 3/37
Civil Justice 54/142 6/34 1/37
Criminal Justice 69/142 8/34 5/37

 

According to publishers, the rule of law factor to decline most between 2016 and 2023 is Fundamental Rights—down in 77% of countries, including Ghana.

“Over the past seven years, Index scores for Constraints on Government Powers have fallen in 74% of countries—including Ghana. Around the world, legislatures, judiciaries, and civil society—including the media—have all lost ground on checking executive power, the Index shows,” a statement from the WJP further explained.

Perhaps the best explanation for Ghana’s poor performance manifests in the current state of affairs, which some experts have described as the practice of a sham democracy.

Added to this has been the government’s poor handling of the many corruption scandals involving some of its people in public office, the unjust ways security forces handle civilians or civil protestors (very close to memory might be the OccupyJulorbi House protest), and the failings in the country’s criminal justice system.

According to Afrobarometer research, a greater majority of Ghanaians (77%) say levels of corruption have increased and 87% say the country is headed in the wrong direction.

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