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19.05.2005 Politics

Wahala 4: Police caution against counter demo

By Ghanaian Chronicle

IN LINE with the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC)'s resolve to ensure that peace prevails in the region, the Regional Police Command has declared that it would not entertain any counter demonstration to the proposed Wahala march by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) scheduled for May 26, 2005 in Kumasi.

The outgoing head of the Command, ACP Mr. K.A. Opare-Addo has stated that no group would be allowed to stage counter demonstrations on May 26.

He explained that though a constitutional right, the police would, as a security measure, and in the name of peace, not allow any such demonstrations on the same day when the CJA stages one.

Opare-Addo clarified that the police would not stop anybody or group of persons from demonstrating either for or against the "Wahala" march. "It definitely would not be on the same day," he stressed.

The stand of the police follows the confirmation by the local organizers of the Committee intended for Joint Action (CJA) that the fourth of a series of protest marches dubbed "Wahala 4" is now slated for Thursday May 26, 2005 in Kumasi, to call the government to order.

The organizers have also confirmed that the outstanding feature of the march, being the route, had been cleared with the Police Administration and that it would definitely come on as planned.

Nana Akwasi Kwarteng (Convenor), Hajia Salamatu (PNC rep) and Yao Doe-Tamakloe (Secretary) have refuted claims that the Kumasi version of the march has collapsed.

"It is very much alive and making impressive inroads in Kumasi and Ashanti in general" they said, stressing that preparations would continue to ensure a successful demonstration.

The Ashanti Regional Police Command has already been notified of the CJA's intention to stage the march on May 26.

Wahala 4, according to the organizers, is a campaign against high fuel prices, rising cost of living, insensitivity on the part of government, arrogance and incompetence of the Kufuor-led administration.

The Wahala march in Kumasi, originally slated for May 5, 2005, was called off at the eleventh hour, following a court prohibition order at the instance of the regional Police Command, which decided to rely on the statutory mandate to postpone the event in order to make adequate preparations for it.

Long before the CJA announced its intention to go to Kumasi, the Ashanti Concerned Youth, led by one Stephen Amoah, threatened to stand in the CJA's way. The group said they would not tolerate CJA in Ashanti and therefore would not welcome any of their activities, including the Wahala march in Kumasi.

The Alliance for the Defence of Peace in Ghana (ADPG), a coalition of various organizations and associations, is already in place. It claims to champion the cause of sustaining peace in Ghana and has criticized the staging of Wahala march by the CJA in Kumasi.

Lately, the Kumasi Gentle Club, a youth group claiming to play advisory and advocacy roles in the political and traditional set up, has called for the indefinite suspension of the demolition in Kumasi but local organizers of the CJA say threats of counter demonstration and provocative statements by fringe groups believed to be associated with the NPP, would not deter them from demanding for an accountable government.

They say the intended pro-government demonstrations in Accra and elsewhere ahead of the Wahala 4 cannot affect the outcome of the Kumasi march.

To the CJA, the protest is part of the process of deepening democracy and should not be misconstrued.

The CJA has, accordingly, registered its commitment to a peaceful demonstration and hoped the police would provide adequate security and protection.

They hoped also that the police would not conjure any reasons to occasion a further postponement of the demonstration in Kumasi on May 26.

The Wahala train is expected to spread to Sunyani and Techiman in the Brong Ahafo regions.

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