FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
22ND SEPTEMBER, 2023
“The citizens freedoms may be restricted by law on the grounds stated in the 1992 Constitution, but they cannot be denied. Any such denial will be unconstitutional and void.”
A NATIONAL DAY OF SHAME (BACK TO THE HORSE AND BUGGY DAYS)
Ghana, as a democratic country gives its citizens certain rights including the rights to freedom of assembly. Peaceful protests in whatever manner they present themselves represent one of the ways individuals and group in a democratic state express their views and opinions on matters that affects them.
Protest is one of the democratic ways enshrined in our 1992 constitution to challenge a government and speak out.
It is very shameful and unacceptable that up till now, 2023, officers of the Ghana Police would be acting as usual, very unprofessional and mean in discharge of their duties of mainly protecting lives, maintaining law and order.
However, barbaric policing methods to counter the peaceful protestors who were only demonstrating their lawful and constitutionally guaranteed right, as enshrined in the 1992 Ghana Constitution was seen yesterday in its fastigium manner.
Article 21 (d) of the 1992 constitution states “A person shall have the right to freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstration”. In the case of
New Patriotic Party Vs. Inspector General of Police, the Supreme Court was invited to interpret this article in light of section 7, 8, 12, and 13 of the Public Order Act, 172 (NRCD68).
Section 7 of the Public Order Act, “gives the interior Minister the power to prohibits the holding of public meetings or processions for a period in a specified area; section 8 of the Act, also provided that the holding of all public processions and meetings and the public celebration of any traditional customs shall be subject to the obtention of prior police permission; section 12(c) of the Act again further gives a superior police officer the power to stop or disperse such a processions or meeting; and lastly section 13 of the Act made it quite clear as an offence to hold such processions, meetings and public celebrations without such permission.
The Supreme Court of the Republic being the Apex and final body on all legal matters and the only body clothed with constitutional interpretation Unanimously ruled that, these provisions of the Public Order Act were in conflict and direct contravention with Article 29(d) of the Constitution.
Owing to the fact that, any such restriction on the right to freedom of assembly would make it meaningless and a sham. Section 7 and 8 of NRCD 68 were seen to be inconsistent with the letter and spirit of the provisions of the Article 21(d) of the Constitution and were therefore unconstitutional, void and unenforceable.
In short, these sections of the Public Order Act no Longer Exist in the Statute of Ghana hence, the Ghanaian Police do not have nor hold that legitimate, constitutional or any rules or conventional right to stop such gathering after they have been notified 5days ahead of time.
This means that individuals or group’s only need to notify the police of their intention to protest 5 days prior to the protest.
This notice must contain the information pertaining to the decision to demonstrate and the tune and place of said demonstration. The purpose for the 5 days’ notice is to give the police ample time to assign an officer or officers to guide the process.
What happened yesterday is nothing but a monumental international disgrace, unprecedented failure and an unconstitutional action of violation on the fundamental human rights on these innocent demonstrators (Ghanaians) from “Democracy Hub” by the Ghana Police which is chaired by the Vice President of this republic which in this case is “H.E. Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumiah” Article 201(a) of the 1992 constitution.
Democracy Hub as a group made up of Ghanaians Article 21(e),” freedom of association, which shall include freedom to form or join trade unions or other associations, national and international, for the protection of their interest; decided to embark on a legal demonstration “OCCUPYJULORBIHOUSE” after serving the Ghanaian Police almost One Month ahead of time which far satisfy the 5 days legal requirements and therefore we (UNITED VOICES FOR CHANGE) want the Police to answer the following questions;
1. Did “Democracy Hub” served them a notification before the demonstration was staged?
2. Did the notification from “Democracy Hub” satisfied the 5 days legal requirements?
3. Did they Police served their application of Injunction on “Democracy Hub”
4. Are the police aware that “they cannot serve a person who has not enter legal proceedings through his/her lawyer”?
5. Are the police aware that such service is null and void and therefore amounts to no show which therefore grants them no rights to interfere or stop or disperse the demonstrators on the back of the said injunction?
6. Did the leadership of “Democracy Hub” had an arrangement with the Police? If yes, what was the arrangement with regards to the route and what was the position of the
police before going to the court for that injunction seeking to stop the demonstrators?
7. Were the demonstrators legally served and can the police provide the public with their proof of service?
8. Are the Police also aware of the injunction served on the Electoral Commission on the ongoing limited registration?
9. Are Police personals present and giving police protection to E.C members on the ongoing limitation registration after injunction has been served on them?
The sudden change and recent intolerance, politically motivated actions and steps and deliberate attempts by the Ghana Police in supressing and trampling down the fundamental human rights of the Ghanaian people is very worrying and sad at this unprecedented economic excruciating crises and historic heights of corruption is very shoddy and pathetic for the ordinary Ghanaian.
We (UNITED VOICES FOR CHANGE), therefore condemn in no uncertain terms the police officers’ irresponsible and inhumane molestation on the unarmed peaceful protestors.
For a service that has been badly and widely criticized for its partisan policing methods in recent years and for which a parliamentary probe is currently ongoing, the 16the century style of unprofessional and ruthlessness unleashed by them on the peaceful demonstrators in Accra yesterday further diminishes the reputation of the Ghana Police Service.
We are therefore calling on all CSOs, Otumfuor Nana Osei Tutu II(Asantehene), Chieftaincy institutions, National Chief Imam, Faith-base and religious institutions, international organizations to as a matter of urgency steps in and speak out in defence of the rights of the Ghanaian.
Ghana is for all Ghanaians and not for some few groups of people and therefore, people should be allowed to voice out when the need be!
Shame, Ghana Police for your barbaric and inhumane actions yesterday!
Long Live Ghana
Long Live United Voices for Change
Antwi Sylvestin Ronald