An Accra-based lawyer has given a new twist to the tussle between the organizers of the Arise Ghana demonstration over which route to use for their protest to register their displeasure about the economic hardships in the country.
According to the legal practitioner, the police administration can push for the organizers of the protest to be cited for contempt adding the stay of execution being flaunted by the leadership of Arise Ghana has not been heard by any court of competent jurisdiction.
“It was just right for the organizers to have succumbed to the police directives because their stay of execution application has not been heard by the court,” he said.
Lawyer Kwesi Fokuo Benini shared this aspect of the law on stay of execution on the Ghana Yensom morning show hosted by Kwame Obeng Sarkodie on Accra 100.5 FM on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.
“A stay of execution is only binding on the victor if it has been heard by a competent court of jurisdiction,” he explained
The protesters clashed with the police phalanx amid the firing of rubber bullets and tear gas on Tuesday, June 28, 2022.
There were injuries on both sides.
So far 29 of the demonstrators have been arrested.
The police, in a statement, condemned the breach of the agreement by the demonstrators.
Speaking on the Class Morning Show about the incident, Mr Ben Ephson, who is the Managing Editor of the Daily Dispatch, told Kojo Oppong Asamoah that since the Kume Preko march led by Nana Akufo-Addo in the 90s against the introduction of Value Added Tax, “demonstrations have become ‘ineffective’ at getting governments to change their mind”.
For instance, he noted that the E-levy was reduced from 1.75% to 1.5% not because of a demonstration.
In his view, the Arise Ghana demonstrators faulted by insisting on using the Jubilee House road when they had initially agreed with the police that it was out of bounds.
“I think that the leaders of the Arise Ghana demonstrations have a responsibility for anything that happens because if you’ve agreed with the police that these are the routes we are going to take, the police said, ‘we’ll not allow you on this route’, so, the police blocked the routes you originally wanted to use and you wanted to break through that, no responsible police officer or commander in charge will allow you”, he said.
“That one, no matter which government is in power … they [police] will not allow you. I think that the leaders have a responsibility to bear for their decision to go back on their agreed routes with the police”, Mr Ephson stressed.
He wondered: “What is so special that if you don’t go to Jubilee House, you can’t make your views known?”
“You want to go pass Jubilee House, the police says, ‘we won’t allow you’, you agree: ‘Ok, we’ll go to a different route, then you want to go there [Jubilee House] … why, if you don’t go to Jubilee House, can’t you make your views known? Does going to Jubilee House make your message more sensible? If you have a message, pass it on”, he fumed.
“You cannot take the law into your own hands”, an angry Mr Ephson said.
“I repeat: I will not adhere to any group which will renege on an agreement with the police. Why do you want to go to Jubilee House? Has God told you if you go to Jubilee House, you’ll be heard better? You put people’s lives at risk”.
“My anger is that you agreed that ‘we’ll go through this path."