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11.07.2019 Feature Article

If Public Demonstrations are Allowed in Ghana, Why are They Prohibited in Kumawu?

If Public Demonstrations are Allowed in Ghana, Why are They Prohibited in Kumawu?
JUL 11, 2019 FEATURE ARTICLE

As far as I am aware, the 1992 Republican Constitution, regardless of its defects as many a Ghana has come to realise, does bestow on any citizen of Ghana the right of peaceful public demonstration. This right of public demonstration is recognised in all democratic countries the world over. Once you notify the police about your decision to proceed on a peaceful public demonstration for any specific genuine reason, giving them the date and time, they have to grant you permission. In Ghana, one needs to give the police five days advance notice through an application made to the police. This is to enable the police arrange for police officers to offer the demonstrator(s) protection and to guarantee not only the safety of the demonstrator(s) but also that of the public.

In the United Kingdom, their law permits one to go on demonstration with or without seeking police permission. However, for your safety, and not to be restricted by the police from taking to the routes that you want to, in the course of your public demonstration, it is better to inform the police so that they mark your route for you in advance. Nevertheless, there are many occasions where some small groups of persons have publicly demonstrated without seeking police permission yet, when the police become aware of it, they proceed to guide and guard them but not to stop them.

Going back to Kumawu, some people had applied to the local police to proceed on a peaceful demonstration. This was about five or more months ago. Their reason as I later became aware of, was to convey to the attention of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his NPP government that Kumawu, although the strongest seat of the Danquah-Dombo-Busia tradition, thus the current NPP, in Ghana, is greatly being short-changed under his administration. There are no jobs for the youth. There are no any government projects taking place in the area unlike in other parts of Ghana. Even the hospital started by the Mahama NDC administration has been left half-completed. The NPP government have no intention to complete the work on the hospital which otherwise, would have been completed had Mahama and NDC not lost the 2016 general elections.

As demonstration is defined by the dictionary as “a public exhibition of the attitude of a group of persons toward a controversial issue, or other matter, made by picketing, parading, etc. or a manifestation of grievances, support, or protest by public rallies, parades, etc.”, I often do not see any wrong with peaceful demonstrations as it was about to be the case of Kumawu. Nonetheless, as the local police approved the organisers’ application to demonstrate on the date specified, the Effiduase Divisional Police Commander went to Effiduase Court to obtain an injunction to stop the demonstration from taking place. He wanted to know the main reason for the demonstration and those secretly goading them to demonstrate.

Does someone have to lurk in the dark to incite grown-ups to demonstrate against the government for obviously ignoring them in the sharing of the national cake whereby the constituency being overlooked is the NPP’s stronghold in Ghana? I could not understand the behaviour of the Divisional Police Commander so I had to discuss the issue with a lawyer when I went to Ghana in February 2019 on holiday. The lawyer told me thus, yes, the Divisional Police Commander has the right to seek injunction to stop it if he felt he could not provide the level of security needed to ensure the safety and protection of both the demonstrators and the public, even though the local police had approved the date for the demonstration as requested by the organisers. He further said, the police or the Divisional Police Commander after going to court to obtain and serving the demonstrators two injunctions, thus refusing the demonstrators twice, the demonstrators can also go to court to seek permission to demonstrate when they become convinced that the police have an agenda to deliberately stop them from ever demonstrating. The court has the duty to issue the demonstrators injunction against the police or to permit the demonstrators to go ahead with their plan since it is their constitutional right.

Let us look at this; why are some people allowed to demonstrate in many parts of Ghana, forcing the government’s hand to give them what they want but not in Kumawu? The answer is not farfetched. When the people are genuinely desirous to demonstrate against the government, the propagandist District Chief Executive (DCE) in Kumawu Sekyere District, Hon? Samuel Addai Agyekum, a sycophant who is deeply lopsidedly involved in the Kumawu chieftaincy dispute in favour of the publicly scorned and alleged Kumawuhene Barima Sarfo Tweneboa Kodua, thinks it is about the chieftaincy issue. Subsequently, he arranges to have an such initiative dead on arrival at the police station.

He is always on the radio and television talking about the projects that the NPP government under His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has done for Kumawu District all of which are total lies. He is worse than the NDC Sammy Gyamfi when it comes to throwing dust into people’s eyes. He had better belong in NDC than NPP since his propensity to telling lies knows no bounds.

Kumawuman people cannot continue to be suppressed by irresponsible people for all selfish and stupid reasons. The fact that some crook coming across as an overlord is determined to twist the hands of the people to rob them in a broad daylight should not deny the citizens of Kumawuman their constitutional right to go on demonstration to agitate for their fair share of the national cake.

One thing I know is when you push the coward harder to a corner, he will one day muster courage to fight back and when he does, the bully who thinks he is strong will take to flight.

Those people who had wanted to go on demonstration to convey their concerns to the government in the collective interest of the citizens of Kumawuman and the locality itself, you have my blessings today to do what is your constitutional right. Where are thou, oh the once brave men and women of Kumawuman? Have you gone into your graves with the bravery of Kumawuman only to have your descendants molested and oppressed by every Tom, Dick and Harry?

Woe betide those criminally oppressing the good people of Kumawuman with intent to deny them justice and their fair share of the national cake. A day of reckoning is coming!

Rockson Adofo
(Thursday, 11 July 2019

Rockson Adofo
Rockson Adofo, © 2019

This author has authored 1781 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: RocksonAdofo

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