OCCUPYGHANA CONDEMNS ARRESTS OF PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATORS

Our ref: OG/2023/023

OCCUPYGHANA PRESS STATEMENT

Accra, 22 September 2023

OCCUPYGHANA CONDEMNS ARRESTS OF PEACEFUL DEMONSTRATORS

OccupyGhana, in resolute advocacy for good governance, the rule of law, and the protection of civil liberties, strongly voices its concerns regarding the recent arrests of peaceful demonstrators by the Ghana Police on a public holiday, who were subsequently reported to be ‘processed’ for unlawful public gathering.

In a democratic society, we firmly uphold the belief that the right to peaceful protest is a fundamental pillar of freedoms of expression and assembly. These rights, enshrined in the Constitution, should be unwaveringly upheld and respected by all state institutions.

The recent arrests have raised serious questions about the appropriateness of the response by law enforcement agencies. Instead of opting for peaceful dialogue and cooperation with the demonstrators, the police chose to resort to arrests. It is important to note that these arrests took place during a time when potential traffic disruptions would have been minimal. OccupyGhana firmly asserts that alternative, less confrontational approaches could and should have been pursued to effectively manage the situation.

Furthermore, we are reliably informed that there was no court injunction served to the demonstrators, indicating that their right to protest remained fully protected under the law.

About 30 years ago, the Supreme Court held in NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY v INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF POLICE, in relation to the fundamental freedom of assembly including the freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations, that provisions in the erstwhile Public Order Decree that required a prior police permit to demonstrate were inconsistent with the current Constitution. The situation where the statutory requirement to now notify and cooperate with the police is being interpreted, applied and enforced as a de facto permit to demonstrate is unconstitutional and must give way to a more nuanced, liberal and permissive understanding of the constitutional rights of citizens to peacefully assemble and express their views.

We are informed that those who were arrested (which should not have happened in the first place) have now been released, which is a positive development.

OccupyGhana implores the Ghana Police to uphold the rule of law and show due respect for the constitutional rights of all citizens. We call for a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding these arrests to ensure justice is served and the rights of peaceful demonstrators are diligently safeguarded.

In the interest of nurturing a democratic society where dissenting voices are not merely tolerated but celebrated and respected, we call upon all stakeholders, including the Ghana Police Service and the government, to engage constructively with citizens exercising their constitutional rights. Together, let us ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future.

Our firm commitment remains rooted in our mission to advocate for transparency, accountability and the unwavering protection of civil liberties in Ghana.

In the interest of God and Country.

-ENDS-

RE: RIGHT TO INFORMATION REQUEST ON THE STATUS OF THE DRAFT CONDUCT OF PUBLIC OFFICERS BILL, 2022

Our ref: OG/2023/021

10 September 2023

The Minister for Finance
Ministry of Finance
Accra

Dear Sir:

RE: RIGHT TO INFORMATION REQUEST ON THE STATUS OF THE DRAFT CONDUCT OF PUBLIC OFFICERS BILL, 2022

We have been corresponding with the Secretary to the Cabinet, Office of the President, on the above-entitled matter. We have attached to this letter, all the correspondence between us, for ease of reference.

The Secretary to Cabinet now has informed us, by a letter received by us on 6 September 2023 but dated 18 August 2023 ref OPCA.3/3/180823, that Cabinet is awaiting a memorandum from your office for consideration before it concludes deliberations on the matter.

We write to inquire about the status of the said memorandum. Kindly indicate to us when you expect to complete the memorandum and when you propose to submit it to cabinet.

Yours in the service of God and Country,

OccupyGhana

Chief of Staff
Office of the President
Jubilee House
Accra

Attorney-General & Minister for Justice
Office of the Attorney-General & Minister for Justice
Accra

Minister for Information
Ministry of Information
Accra

Secretary to the Cabinet
Office of the President
Jubilee House
Accra

Executive Secretary
Right to Information Commission
Accra

Media Houses