Jurors of the High Court in Accra have embarked on a strike demanding their unpaid allowances and better treatment from the state.
The strike, which has been in force since October 26, has caused several court cases, including the trial of the 14 people accused in the death of Major Maxwell Mahama, to stall in the interim.
The jurors say their allowance is in more than eight months arrears. In April 2023, jurors in Accra embarked on a similar action for the same reason. The jurors are also demanding some state protection, given the risks they face in the execution of their duties.
A disgruntled juror who spoke to Citi News on condition of anonymity bemoaned the ill-treatment they receive from the state. He accused the Chief Justice and the lawyers they work with of bad faith, saying that they do not take their concerns seriously.
“We risk our lives to do this work for the entire year and we have not been given anything even to aid our transportation,” the juror said. “And we have tried to talk to the Chief Justice and the lawyers that we work with, but they don’t take us seriously. And all that they say is that we are not supposed to strike, but we are not on strike. And the fact is, we don’t have money to use as transportation and come to court, and that is the truth.”
The juror also accused the government of breaking its promise to pay them their allowances on time. He said that they were told how much they would be paid and no one raised any issue about that, but the government has failed to honour its commitment.
“They cannot even stand by their own decision and pay us,” the juror said. “And that is not the agreement that we signed for.”