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13.12.2007 Editorial

Peaceful Demonstration

By Daily Guide

Demonstrations are allowed in the country under the 1992 Constitution, provided all the rules and regulations are duly observed.

However they become illegal when the necessary regulations such as the time, venue or routes chosen by the demonstrators are not strictly adhered to.

Also, leaders of demonstrations are expected to control the demonstrators so that they do not misbehave and infringe on the rights of other members of the society.

After all, demonstrations are generally meant to diffuse tension in people who might not be happy with one issue or the other. It is the civilized way of drawing the attention of government to their grievances.

Unfortunately, this is not how demonstrations are looked at in our part of the world. Demonstrators see demonstrations as opportunities to hurl insults at authorities and cause disaffection between them and the authorities.

For instance, yesterday's demonstration in Accra was heavily politicized as if only members of one political divide championed the function, but later in the day a few members of other political parties joined in the march.

One would have expected a spontaneous response for the demonstrators to give it a nationwide dimension as claimed.

Given the high-profile personalities who participated in the demonstration coupled with the alleged reasons for the protest, namely the hardships the people were going through and the recent increases in utility tariffs, it was expected to have attracted more people than it did.

Whatever it might be, the government must count itself blessed that the demonstration has come to wake it up from its slumber. It must listen to the voice of the people.

We are fully aware that living conditions all over the world today are not rosy. There is hardship everywhere and Ghana is not an exception. However, something can be done from now to put smiles back on the faces of the people.

The voice of the people must be heeded as an indication that the government has the interest of the people at heart. We are aware the national kitty is empty, but all the same the show must continue.

Likewise the people must be lenient in their demands because it is the duty of government to continue providing the basic needs like potable water, education and health facilities as well as infrastructure.

It is easy to criticize a government when one is outside it, but when the critics come into the saddle they find the problems different. It is therefore not necessary to be politicizing such important issues.

What is important is to understand the issues at stake. One must not expect a gallon of petrol to sell lower than GH¢4 when the World Market price of crude oil is about $100.

Similarly, it is necessary to increase utility tariffs in order to provide potable water to others in the country. The least said about electricity, the better.

DAILY GUIDE congratulates both the Police and demonstrators on the peaceful demonstration. It was a mark of maturity.

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