The youth wing of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is calling on the #FixTheCountry movement to join their ‘march for justice’ demonstration slated for Tuesday, July 6, 2021.
This comes after the Ghana Police Service promised to give the NDC protesters protection for the scheduled demonstration.
The police had earlier declined an invitation to provide security for the protest on the basis that COVID-19 restrictions were still in force.
But the NDC insisted on embarking on the protest, rubbishing the reasons for the denial of their request.
The police however rescinded their earlier decision after a crunch meeting between the two parties.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, the National Youth Organiser of NDC, George Opare Addo, stated that it will grant its platform to the #FixTheCountry movement to convey their message to the government.
He also stated that the police need to look into giving the movement the chance to exercise their right to demonstrate.
“I have criticised clearly the decision of the government to prevent the #FixTheCountry movement from embarking on their constitutionally mandated right to demonstrate. I believe that with the police agreeing that they will be around to provide us security, it is time that they also look at the issues pertaining to the fix the country movement.”
“But I am asking everybody, especially members of the Fix The Country movement to join hands with the NDC. We are fighting for almost the same thing. I will speak with their leadership and tell them where they can align with our views and opinions so that they come and then whatever they want to do they can use our platform to convey their message,” he added.
But the convener for the #FixTheCountry movement, Olivia Batsa, stated that although he was happy that the NDC has been allowed to demonstrate, it did not mean that they align with their cause and if they had to join the march, it will have to be a conversation the whole movement will need to have.
He also questioned the decision of the police to grant the youth wing of the NDC the security and permission to demonstrate while theirs was not granted.
“One of the things we need to be mindful of is that #FixTheCountry is not a group or entity. When individuals speak they speak on their own mandate so I cannot speak for the collective but I think we need to discuss the role of all political actors including the government and the NDC as well, as to their engagement in the mess we find ourselves.”
“Now if they are coming forth honestly and acknowledging their role in the mess, that’s fine but if they shift blame, then I don’t think that it aligns with the questions we are asking because we have said that the problems have been with the success of government and that puts the NDC in the square lights of what we think is wrong with how this country has been run for some years so just because they have been granted the chance to protest and ours was denied doesn’t mean our interests necessarily align,” he added.
Purpose of protest
The NDC youth wing had notified the police that it will organize a street protest dubbed ‘ A March for Justice ‘ on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, to demand justice for all persons killed or brutalized by the various security agencies in the country.
In a letter written to the Inspector General of Police, the NDC youth wing said it was writing to the police in accordance with the Public Order Act (491).
But the Regional Police Command’s explanation in rejecting the group’s request referred to Section 4 of the Public Order Act 1994 (ACT 491) particularly concerning public health.
“Restrictions imposed by the Executive Instrument (EI) 395 to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have still not been lifted”, the police stated.
This did not sit well with the youth wing as they threatened to go ahead with their planned demonstration despite the Police Service’s refusal to provide protection.
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh subsequently requested to meet the leaders of the youth wing over their planned demonstration.
What happened with the #FixTheCountry campaign?
The police filed an ex-parte motion at the High Court against the planned protest and got a ruling in its favour on May 6, 2021.
The High Court ruled that the planned protest is prohibited until the restriction on public gatherings is lifted.
“It is hereby ordered that the organizers/conveners of FixTheCountry protest march, their associates, officers, agents, assigns, and workmen are prohibited from embarking on any demonstration on Sunday, 9th May 2021, or any other date until the restriction on public gatherings is lifted by the appropriate authority,” the order secured by the police stated.
Unhappy with the development, the group took the issue to the Supreme Court, where a five-member Supreme Court panel nullified the May 6, 2021 injunction order.
Arguing in court, Justice Srem Sai, the lawyer for the #FixTheCountry protesters, said the High Court order was absolute notwithstanding that ex-parte orders ordinarily lasted 10 days with room for the parties to then appear on notice.