WHY WE APPLIED TO JOIN THE CASE OF ISAAC WILBERFORCE MENSAH v ATTORNEY-GENERAL & OTHERS

Our ref: OG/2023/030

OCCUPYGHANA PRESS RELEASE

Accra, 28 November 2023

WHY WE APPLIED TO JOIN THE CASE OF ISAAC WILBERFORCE MENSAH v ATTORNEY-GENERAL & OTHERS

On 11th November 2018 the Plaintiff (Isaac Wilberforce Mensah) sued the Attorney-General, Auditor-General and the Audit Service Board in the Supreme Court for several reliefs including a declaration that the independence of ‘the Auditor-General… provided for in Article 187(7) [of the Constitution] is … restricted to the actual exercise or execution of his auditing work and activities necessarily incidental to the performance of that function.’ The general tone and tenor of the action pit the Auditor-General against the Audit Service Board, challenging the full independence of the Auditor-General.

On 20 October 2020, the Supreme Court granted OccupyGhana leave to file an Amicus Curiae Brief in the matter, which we filed on 26 October 2020. However, from that date, nothing appeared to have happened in the matter. Significantly, although the Supreme Court had earlier directed the parties to file either a joint memorandum of issues or separate issues for trial, none of the parties complied. The effect is that the case has not moved to trial for more than five years after it was filed, and more than three years since our intervention.

We have been unrelenting in trying to get the case to trial. On 20 May 2022, 5 July 2022, 29 July 2022 and 17 October 2022, we wrote to the Supreme Court registry inquiring about the status of the matter and urging the matter to be placed before the court. We received no responses. On 20 February 2023, we were compelled to draft the issues arising, which we sent to the parties and their lawyers for adoption and filing in court. We received no responses; and they took no steps.

In the meantime, the Supreme Court delivered judgment in GHANA CENTRE FOR DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENT & OTHERS v ATTORNEY-GENERAL, which took another step forward in freeing the Auditor-General from the unconstitutional shackles of the government. However, the key issues raised in the pending action, relating particularly to the independence of the Auditor-General vis-à-vis the Audit Service Board (majority of whose members are appointed by the President), has remained largely unresolved.

Frustrated at this state of affairs and the sheer inaction of the parties, we were compelled to file an unusual application to be joined as a defendant in the action, so that we could force the case to trial. In court today, the Supreme Court disagreed with us. However, as a result of our application, the Court has set clear, mandatory deadlines for the parties to do what the law requires of them, and which we have been urging them to do: file the memorandum of issues by 22 December 2023, and appear before the Court on 31 January 2024 for the case to proceed. The Court also ordered the registry to prepare a schedule of all applications filed and rulings made in the matter to date.

We got what we wanted from the court: ACTION. We remain committed to ensuring that the independence of the Auditor-General, which in our view is absolutely guaranteed by the Constitution, is respected by all. It is only in an environment that acknowledges and respects the clear and express constitutional injunction, that the Auditor-General ‘shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority,’ that Auditors-General will feel sufficiently independent and liberated to exercise the full functions of that office, particularly in the exercise of the powers of disallowance and surcharge.

As Chief Justice Gertrude Torkornoo stated before the court rose, ‘this is all for God and Country.’ We agree. For us, it was one small procedural manoeuvre; but it has resulted in giant steps forward in our fight for an Auditor-General who fearlessly and independently performs the functions of the office.
-END-

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-

OCCUPYGHANA® DISTURBED BY ALLEGATIONS OF THE BRUTALISATION OF A JOURNALIST BY NATIONAL SECURITY

14TH MAY 2021

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT

OCCUPYGHANA® DISTURBED BY ALLEGATIONS OF THE BRUTALISATION OF A JOURNALIST BY NATIONAL SECURITY

OccupyGhana® has taken notice of the allegations of assault by National Security operatives on a journalist of Citi FM and Citi TV, Mr Caleb Kudah. News reports and the victim’s testimony allege extra-judicial punishment from National Security operatives including slaps from behind, kicks from booted feet to his groin, molestation and brutalisation of his person while he was handcuffed and could not defend himself.

We have also seen footage alleging a raid of Citi FM’s and Citi TV’s premises by operatives purported to be from the National Security Ministry, to pick up another journalist, Zoe Abu-Baidoo who details how she was ordered to delete photos and videos on her own phone under intimidation by a person identified by both journalists as a Lt-Col Agyeman and accomplices such as one Chief Inspector Ampadu.

We also take notice that the female journalist was not harmed physically, but the gentleman was “worked over” by the operatives for more than five hours. In no case, we further notice, was any lawyer present for either journalist.

We have also seen a letter purported to originate from the National Security Ministry and signed by its Chief Director Lt-Col Ababio Serebour (Rtd) indicating the Ministry’s awareness of the allegations and rather unhelpfully claiming without any timelines that disrespects the intelligence of Ghanaians, the Ministry’s willingness to investigate the allegations and revert. We also notice the nonchalance in verbiage and the non-subtle attempt of the Chief Director of the Ministry to brand the serious allegations and the Guantanamo Bay-styled assaults as “interrogation” that clearly did not respect the right of the person to a lawyer.

It goes without saying that we in OccupyGhana©️ are troubled by these developments, and it is with an iron will that we maintain civil language towards the National Security Ministry in issuing this press release. These allegations, in their very nature, have no place in a civilised democracy, a 29-year-old democratic experiment, and under a republican constitution that touts the rule of law. The allegations outline a bestial culture of impunity, an animalistic disregard for basic human rights and a demonic manifestation of tendencies that have no place even in a holocaust camp. We are appalled and disgusted, and when proven true by an independent body, we demand that the perpetrators so named be charged with nothing less than the crime of attempted murder, tried, convicted, jailed and dismissed from the employment of the government without any benefits.

Consequently, we ask the following questions:

  1. Was Mr. Caleb Kudah, at any point during his accosting by the National Security operatives, informed of what specific Ghanaian law he had breached by his mobile phone documentation of the issue or object that had piqued his journalistic interest?
  2. Was the journalist read his rights at any point during Lt-Col Serebour’s (Rtd) description of an interrogation?
  3. Under what law did National Security operatives coerce both journalists into deleting materials on their personal mobile telephony devices?
  4. The Chief Director of the Ministry of National Security alluded to some “No Photography” rules at restricted security zones. Can he be kind enough to refer us to what law his description of such rules is grounded in?

We have no faith that the National Security Ministry can provide a satisfactory investigation into the damning allegations and therefore would like to advise Government to set up an independent body of inquiry into the matter.

The allegations of brutalities against journalists are not new, but we are disturbed that the assaults on members of the media keep getting bolder and bolder, and the impunity is assuming hellish proportions. This must stop immediately. If this is what happens to journalists, then we shudder to think of what is happening to other voiceless Ghanaians in the quiet at the hands of security operatives.

Even more concerning for us is the knowledge that Mr Kudah was documenting vehicles acquired by Government and for which it had been claimed, had been disposed of and not left to rot as at least two investigative journalists had uncovered over the past two or so years. If that was the case, then his cause was just. That his quest to hold government accountable for tax-payer expenses resulted in his alleged brutalisation sickens us immeasurably. Once independent investigations confirm this terrible maltreatment of Mr Kudah, government must understand the depths of our disgust with its press freedom credentials if any of the perpetrators of these heinous allegations are not made to face the full rigours of the law.

We reiterate that we fully support members of the media in the discharge of their lawful duties. We remind government that it is unpardonable treachery to the citizens when people who are hired with citizens’ monies, trained with citizens’ monies, paid with citizens’ monies, clothed with citizens’ monies, fed with citizens’ monies, and (painfully) equipped and armed with citizens’ monies, would turn round and use those arms to oppress the citizens. And the worst insult to the citizens would be if the perpetrators are successfully sued in court; then citizens’ monies would be used to pay the damages awarded. We clearly have learned nothing from the Ayawaso West Woguon incidents and we strongly demand that government takes immediate and firm steps to end this despicable anti-democratic backslide.

Yours, for God and Country

OccupyGhana®

OccupyGhana®️ Calls For Electoral Disputes To Be Resolved According To The Law.

23rd December 2020

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT

OCCUPYGHANA®️ CALLS FOR ELECTORAL DISPUTES TO BE RESOLVED ACCORDING TO THE LAW.

OccupyGhana®️ has closely observed the events and circumstances preceding, in the course of and arising from the general elections held in Ghana on 7 December 2020. We are convinced that elections are meant to convey who the people (in whom ultimate sovereignty lies) have mandated to lead them for the next four years. Any other result is unacceptable.

We must first convey our satisfaction with the work of the Electoral Commission in the registration of voters and the voting itself. With the threat of COVID-19 and all the bumps and criticism, we concede that the EC did a creditable job for which it deserves our congratulations.

The EC however began to run into problems when it set itself a rather optimistic 24-hour deadline to declare the presidential results. Much as we appreciate that the EC had put measures and structures in place to ensure that it met that deadline, failing to moderate that with factors outside its control such as the weather, meant that it could not meet that deadline. We appreciate the fact that the EC was nevertheless able to declare the results within 48 hours.

However, we have taken note of errors in the figures in the published results. We recall that the issue of errors came up during the hearing of the Presidential Election Petition in 2013, where we encountered terms such as ‘computational errors’ and ‘transpositional errors.’ From that decision we learned that it is possible for such errors to occur. When they do, they will invalidate an election in the relevant polling station, constituency or region, or even nationally, if their effect is sufficiently significant to hand a victory to a person other than the real victor. Thus, much as some of these errors are basic, are regrettable and ought not to have happened, it is imperative for all political parties and contestants to critically review the underlying documentation (which they all were expected to receive at the polling stations) and mount challenges where these errors affect the will of the people disclosed in the voting in the relevant polling station, constituency or region, or nationally.

We have therefore noted that each of the two leading parties has expressed different levels of dissatisfaction with aspects of both the presidential and parliamentary elections and results. That is to be expected; and that is why although article 46 of the Constitution gives the EC independence in its work, which has been explained by the Supreme Court to mean that ‘…in the conduct of their business, the Electoral Commission is completely independent in that regard and is not subject to the control, direction, management, manipulation and or interference from anybody or institution whatever,’ the same Court has held that the ‘independent status of the [EC] does not make it immune from action for the purpose of declaring that it has… acted in a manner that, having regard to its unreasonableness, irrationality or unfairness, cannot be accorded the sanction of legality.’ An EC that refuses to hear or consider any reasonable challenge based on credible evidence is an EC that is acting unreasonably, irrationally and unfairly.

With particular reference to article 295(8) of the Constitution, the Supreme Court has said that even ‘where a person or authority [such as the EC] is not, by the provisions of this Constitution, 1992 or any other law, subject to the direction or control of any person or authority in the performance of his duties or functions, the court is not precluded from examining the correctness or otherwise of the exercise of such duties or functions.’ And for emphasis, the Supreme Court has repeated that ‘if even the power or function is entrusted exclusively to an authority [such as the EC] …and in the exercise of that function the authority is subject to no direction or control of anybody, article 295(8) of the 1992 Constitution still empowers the Ghanaian Courts to enquire into whether that authority is exercising that function in accordance with the Constitution.’

Thus, if the EC has misconducted itself or has deliberately or negligently made a wrong declaration, the EC is not immune from legal challenges. It is our view that this challenge may be mounted administratively, by the political party or contestant showing to the EC, through its Statement of Polls or other credible evidence, that what has been declared is false and/or does not reflect the will of the people. We believe that when such evidence is presented to the EC, the EC is bound by law to consider it and possibly reverse a false declaration. However, if the EC is not ready to listen, or wrongly dismisses the administrative challenge, or cannot effect a change because the results have already been gazetted, then the Constitution provides the ultimate routes to challenge those results through either the High Court (for a parliamentary election) or the Supreme Court (for the presidential election.)

We also fully appreciate the right of all citizens to freely demonstrate and manifest their views. This is certainly an option available to every party or contestant who is unhappy with the results and believes that something untoward has happened. If that, coupled with presenting credible evidence to the EC, does not lead to the EC changing what it has declared, then the Constitution does not leave the aggrieved party or contestant empty-handed. That is why it provides the means of legal redress mentioned above, and for which express rules of court have been enacted over the years to facilitate a quick hearing and expedited determination of electoral disputes.

We urge these on the political parties and contestants.

We conclude by fully endorsing the call of the Peace Council in its statement of 19 December 2020 for (i) media sensitivity in these times, (ii) the police to enforce the laws, (iii) the parties to uphold the peace documents they signed and restrain followers from acts of vandalism etc, (iv) religious and faith-based organisations to urge followers to avoid violence, and (v) for traditional rulers to condemn all violence in their traditional areas.

May Ghana win.

In the service of God and Country,

OccupyGhana®

OccupyGhana® Demands Immediate Investigations Into Electoral Violence And Deaths.

11th December 2020

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT

OCCUPYGHANA® DEMANDS IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATIONS INTO ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND DEATHS.

OccupyGhana® congratulates Ghanaians on the successful completion of an historic eighth straight round of general elections under the Fourth Republican Constitution.

However, we are gravely disappointed, deeply appalled and extremely alarmed at the incidents and rise of electoral violence, which has reportedly led to the deaths of some Ghanaians. We strongly condemn these acts of violence and demand a full investigation into them, and the arrest and prosecution of those involved.

We regret that similar acts of electoral or other politically-inspired violence in times past have not led to any prosecutions, which may have helped create a culture of impunity, where people have believed that they can get away with it. These do not speak well of a peace-loving country like ours, which is building an enviable credential in electoral processes in Africa. In our still fragile democracy, we must with one accord stand against anyone who calls for or engages in violence.

It is even more regrettable when this violence is unleashed by our security agencies. We urge the security forces to exercise the highest levels of restraint when dealing with the public. Brutality and unjustified use of deadly force against those whom they swore to protect is unacceptable and criminal.

We have also seen across the world the devastation caused when violence is unleashed through provocative thoughtless and irresponsible statements made by politicians to their fan base. However, when violence results, those politicians and their families are nowhere to be found. That is why we must refuse instructions from political leaderships to engage in any social unrest or violence while their children sit comfortably at home with security. We cannot allow these to fester in Ghana.

We therefore entreat all stakeholders in our electoral process and security agencies to engage with the political parties involved to forestall any new violent incidents or fatalities. We have been and remain a peaceful people. We do not condone violence and we must oppose all who for personal ambition, seek to drag this country into the abyss.

We call on the leaders of all political parties to calm their respective followers down, condemn violence and speak peace to the people of Ghana. There is no conceivable electoral dispute or disagreement that cannot be resolved in the cold calmness of the court rooms of this land.

In the service of God and Country,

OccupyGhana®

THE ISSUE OF THE LYNCHING OF WITCHES

3rd AUGUST 2020

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT

THE ISSUE OF THE LYNCHING OF WITCHES

Like most Ghanaians OccupyGhana®’s attention has been drawn to a very disturbing video making the rounds on social media. It shows an elderly woman being assaulted by two women while a crowd watches.

The incident is supposed to have occurred in Kafaba in the East Gonja Municipality of the Savannah region. The victim is alleged to be a 90-year-old woman called Madam Akua Denteh, was accused by a local fetish priestess called Hajia Filina, of being a witch. It appears the prietess was hired by one Sanjo to make this ‘diagnosis.’ The others involved in this crime were persons named Aliu, Bumaye, Ashley and Manafo. The poor victim succumbed to her injuries and her dead body was later found where she was lynched.

This rather heart-breaking and barbaric act is but one of many such lynching incidents that plague the Ghanaian society. Victims of lynchings are not only suspected criminals but also often elderly women accused of being witches.

Mob justice in itself is terrible. Unfortunately, it is a rather dark side of our country’s history and does not seem to want to go away. It is unconstitutional, barbaric, unjust, unfair and criminal, and often has fatal consequences.

The fact that in this day and age, there are Ghanaians who still believe in the superstion that witches exert an enormous deleterious influence on life and the punishment for this alleged pernicious activity which should be death by lynching, is unbelievable. It hints at how deep the belief in erroneous, dangerous and arcane customs are and how much these beliefs influence life in the country.

That a crowd watched as a helpless 90-year-old woman was lynched shows the degree of acceptance of this inhuman practice in the society.

That this occurrence is not uncommon is rather sad. If one does a Google search with the words ‘witch’ and ‘Ghana,’ the stories and reports that pop up should make each Ghanaian hang their head in collective shame. It is not a coincidence that about 235 km due northwest from Kafaba is a ‘Witch Camp.’ In the town of Gushegu, the Missionary Sisters of the Poorest of the Poor run a camp for poor women who were accused of witchcraft, beaten, and cast out. These are the lucky ones who did not succumb to the assaults and this camp is their haven now.

Not only elderly women get accused but younger women and even children fall victim to this practice. According to a 2018 Human Rights Report by the US States Department, there are more than six witch camps spread throughout the northern regions of Ghana. These camps are said to hold about 2,000-2,500 adult women and 1,000-1,200 children and the numbers could be larger.

Article 15 of the Constitution demands respect for the dignity of all persons, and clearly states:

‘1.      The dignity of all persons shall be inviolable.

  1. No person shall, whether or not he is arrested, restricted or retained, be subjected to
  2. torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
  3. any other condition that detracts or is likely to detract from his dignity and worth as a human being.’

In spite of these constitutional rights, any fetish priest or priestess can get women and children assaulted and even killed with the simple yet dangerous designation of ‘Witch.’

This video has incited the usual uproar and the Police has even publicized a letter about the investigation. The President has spoken about it. We understand that some arrests have been made. We commend the police on being on the case. However, soon we will forget about this incident and another poor woman will be accused of being a witch and assaulted, even killed.

Unless there is a move to change this deeply-held belief systems and do away with these superstitions that witches dwell among us and are responsible for most misfortunes, these assaults and lynching of poor women will not stop.

It is our view that what occurred at Kafaba, before the murder happened, was a trial by ordeal, which is a second-degree felony under section 315 or our Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29). Indeed, each of the persons captured on the video as being present are guilty of the misdemeanour of being present when the crime was taking place, under section 316 of the Act. For not taking any step to prevent the crime, all those persons are guilty of a second misdemeanour under section 22 of the Act.

We therefore call for the arrest everyone who is identified as being present. Faced with the prospect of jail, they are very likely to help identify and track all the perpetrators in the murder.

We further ask that the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) step up its efforts to educate the population about superstitions and arcane customs and practices. A program reminding Ghanaians about the need to respect each other’s’ civil and human rights is also direly needed.

We also ask the Gender and Social Protection Ministry to enforce the closure of these so-called ‘Witch Camps’ and allow these poor women and children to re-join society with adequate protections. The Ministry has an obligation to offer vocational training to the occupants of those camps to aid their reintegration.  The Ministry should also embark on an education program aimed at teaching people in at-risk areas that witchcraft is a superstition for which no one should die.

We ask all TV and radio stations to dedicate time each day to exhorting against mob justice and the assaulting and lynching of women accused of being witches.

With these actions, we hope we can take a step closer to a Ghana, where civil and human rights are respected, and the lynching of witches becomes a thing of the past

In the Service of God & Country

OccupyGhana®

OCCUPYGHANA® CONDEMNS POLICE BRUTALITIES AGAINST DEMONSTRATING LAW STUDENTS AND DEMANDS REFORMS TO PROFESSIONAL LEGAL EDUCATION

OCCUPYGHANA® CONDEMNS POLICE BRUTALITIES AGAINST DEMONSTRATING LAW STUDENTS AND DEMANDS REFORMS TO PROFESSIONAL LEGAL EDUCATION

9th OCTOBER, 2019

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT

OCCUPYGHANA® CONDEMNS POLICE BRUTALITIES AGAINST DEMONSTRATING LAW STUDENTS AND DEMANDS REFORMS TO PROFESSIONAL LEGAL EDUCATION

POLICE BRUTALITIES

OccupyGhana® is appalled by the brutal assault that the Police meted out to unarmed and peacefully demonstrating law students and their sympathisers on Monday, October 7, 2019. We have seen footages and photographs that show several infractions against the rule of law and of humaneness on the part of the Police. This Police high-handedness and brutality against students exercising nothing more than their constitutional right to demonstrate and air out their grievances makes a mockery of the democracy we claim to respect, and we wish to unequivocally announce our disgust with that turn of events and to condemn same in no uncertain terms.

We have closely studied the Police Statement on the matter which, to all intents and purposes, is a poor attempt to throw dust in the faces of Ghanaians concerning a true and accurate account of the day. For instance, how does the Police Service explain how the protestors somehow procured arsenals of stones to hurl at Police officers on the Independence Road stretch between the Canadian Consulate to the Golden Jubilee House? How is it possible, in 2019, for the police to call an exercise of the constitutional right to assembly “illegal” when police permits are not required to stage a demonstration, and the notice requirement in the Public Order Act can never morph into an unconstitutional demand for some kind of police permission?

We could ask a dozen questions about the Police Statement, which we find as offensive as we find their unwarranted abuse of power and their impunity in a civilised society governed by respect for human rights, human dignity, the rule of law and justice. And we wonder how Government can bear the news that many of these harmless student protestors reportedly found shelter at a foreign consulate from the atrocities of their country’s own Police Service.

We repeat and remind the Police that the right to demonstrate is an inalienable right that requires absolutely no police approval or censure beyond notification. And no edifice, building or “zone” should exist which, having the benefit of public access roads, public traffic and public thoroughfare in whole or in part, cannot accept the presentation of petitions by unarmed and inoffensive demonstrators. No ground in this country is so sacred that it cannot tolerate the lawful exercise of unarmed students’ rights to demonstrate.

We demand, at the very least an apology from the recently-confirmed Inspector General of Police who bears ultimate responsibility for this egregious display of brutishness. We also demand that all Commanding Officers who directly supervised, sanctioned and called for these barbaric attacks on innocent protestors be punished in accordance with the law.

PROFESSIONAL LEGAL EDUCATION

We must also emphatically state that the time is ripe to address the root cause of this matter: the inability of the state to provide sufficient facilities to enable law students from the various law faculties and law schools gain access to professional legal education. We cannot, as a people, grant accreditation for several law faculties and law schools to be opened and run, and then maintain the current size of the School of Law for the professional law course, a completely unjustified bottleneck and another evidence of our lack of planning.

It is a fact that the introduction of the entrance examinations and the erstwhile interviews remain a formalised knee-jerk reaction to a problem that has an obvious solution that we refuse to provide. Ghana is not an island. Several other countries have resolved this problem in a manner that allows prospective lawyers to be trained and given the opportunity to write the final bar exam, however often they may write it. There is nothing wrong with learning from others and adapting what we learn to suit our purposes.

The Government cannot absolve itself of blame in this regard. It is statute that created the General Legal Council. That statute gives the Council the power to regulate professional legal education, sometimes with the approval of the Attorney-General. We insist that the same legislative process should be used to fix this problem once and for all.

A country of almost 30 million people cannot be proud that its official roll of lawyers has just about 3,000 lawyers. A ratio of one lawyer to 10,000 citizens is highly anaemic, and any existing or new policy that unduly restricts access to any form of education, especially in a developing economy, is not forward-looking and should be jettisoned. The time for action on this matter is now, and this buck stops at the desk of the Government.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we demand of the Police Service, the General Legal Council and the Government of Ghana to be guided by the principles outlined in the Ghanaian constitution that all power emanates from the people and not the other way round.

Yours in the service of God and Country

OccupyGhana®

OCCUPYGHANA® DEMANDS PUNISHMENT OF OFFICERS WHO FLOUTED AFOKO’S BAIL ORDER

16th JULY, 2019

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT 

OCCUPYGHANA® DEMANDS PUNISHMENT OF OFFICERS WHO FLOUTED AFOKO’S BAIL ORDER

OccupyGhana® is demanding a full and impartial investigation into the apparent refusal of the State to comply with a bail order given by the High Court in favour of an accused person, Mr. Gregory Afoko. We also demand that agents of the State who violated the court’s orders should be punished to the fullest extent permissible under the law.

Ordinarily we would hesitate to comment on a matter that is pending in court. But we must be concerned when there is any appearance of gross and blatant violations of the constitutional rights of any citizen. Definitely, the actions of agents of the state in refusing to allow an accused person to take full advantage of a court order of bail, thereby holding him in illegal custody until a trial court makes a different bail order, should be repugnant to all.

It is a fundamental right for every person to be considered and treated as innocent until proven guilty. The criminal justice system must therefore not be deployed or manipulated to punish any person who has not been found guilty of any offence.

The facts as we know them show that at some point, a court of competent jurisdiction granted Mr. Afoko bail. The State appealed and applied to stay execution of the bail order. The State lost.

Thereafter, and once Mr. Afoko met the bail conditions, his continued detention for even one second was grossly wrong, blatantly unconstitutional and an egregious slap in the face of basic human rights, constitutionalism and the rule of law.

It is for these reasons that we call for an immediate, impartial investigation into this matter. Every officer of the state who was involved in this must be disciplined. If Mr. Afoko sues and wins, the damages must be borne personally by the public officers who did this. If our taxes are used to pay such damages, it would add insult to the injury caused to Ghana and our reputation by these repugnant acts.

The people of Ghana enacted this Constitution and stated in its Preamble that we believe in “the blessings of liberty,” “Freedom, Justice, Probity and Accountability,” “The Rule of Law,” and “The protection and preservation of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms.” If we lose or compromise these core principles, we would be lost as a people. We must all strive and fight to protect these.

No one is above the law.

OccupyGhana®

PRESS RELEASE -­‐ OCCUPYGHANA®’S POSITION ON CASH HAND-­‐OUTS (SOLI) TO JOURNALISTS

On behalf of all well-­‐meaning
Ghanaians,
who
support
the
vision
to
make
Ghana
work
again,
OccupyGhana®
would
like
to
commend
the
journalists
and
media
houses
who
continue
to
cover
our
programs
and
bring
the
activities
to
the
general
public
in
their
homes,
workplaces
and
on
every
street
corner.
OccupyGhana®
recognizes
the
crucial
role
that
journalists
play
in
propagating
our
message,
and
galvanizing
ordinary
citizens
to
positively
engage
with
government,
to
ensure
good
governance
is
entrenched
and
routinized
in
all
spheres
of
national
life.
OccupyGhana®
considers
the
media
as
key
partners/stakeholders
in
the
crusade
to
get
Ghana
working
again
for
the
benefit
of
all
Ghanaians.
That
said,
the
media
is
also
expected
to
act
in
line
with
the
standard
ethical
practices
that
underpin
their
profession.
As
a
movement
committed
to
promoting
good
governance
and
highlighting
all
corrupt
practices
that
contribute
to
economic
stagnation,
and
lack
of
development
of
our
country,
OccupyGhana®
has
taken
the
bold
decision
to
discontinue
the
widely
tolerated
practice
of
handing
out
cash
to
journalists
who
show
up
to
cover
events
and
report.
Fully
cognizant
that
the
practice
of
paying
‘soli’
provides
a
fertile
ground
for
corruption
to
thrive,
this
decision
was
taken
to
demonstrate
OccupyGhana®’s
anti-­‐corruption
stance
and
also
to
establish,
for
the
record,
that
the
movement
is
not
about
talk
alone
but
also
about
deeds.
The
practice
of
handing
out
cash
that
is
carried
out
when
journalists
cover
events
flies
in
the
face
of
ethical
journalistic
practice,
as
it
can
be
construed
to
suggest
an
inducement
for
the
favorable
reporting
of
an
event.
It
also
potentially
raises
questions
about
the
accuracy,
fairness
and
balance
of
the
stories
that
are
eventually
written.
Although
we
believe
such
action
has
the
potential
to
“hurt”
coverage
of
OccupyGhana®
events,
we
believe
it’s
the
right
decision.
OccupyGhana®
stands
in
solidarity
with
the
many
journalists
who
do
not
insist
on
nor
request
cash
handouts
before
they
do
their
jobs.
In
fact
we
take
this
opportunity
to
acknowledge
their
principled
stance
and
hope
that
their
compatriots
will
come
to
accept
the
wisdom
of
their
position.
Once
again,
we
salute
these
patriotic
journalists
who
have
decided
to
put
Ghana
first
on
this
journey
to
get
Ghana
work
again
by
covering
and
reporting
OccupyGhana®
activities.
We
cannot
achieve
this
collective
goal
without
you.
This
is
a
national
crusade
and
every
well-­‐meaning
Ghanaian
is
encouraged
to
OccupyGhana®
for
God
and
Country.
Let
us
be
the
generation
to
plant
trees
today
so
the
next
generation
can
enjoy
the
shade.
Because
of
you,
Ghana
will
work
again.
We
#OccupyGhana®
for
God
and
Country
just
because
we
know
our
Ghana
will
work
again!
Your’s
in
the
service
of
God
and
Country.
George
Andah
For
OccupyGhana®
For
further
information
please
contact
Nana
Akwasi
Awuah,
OccupyGhana®
Media
Relations
by
replying
to
this
email
or
on
+233
575
415
816
or
reply
to
this
email.

OCCUPYGHANA® CONDEMNS RECENT ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND DEMANDS INDEPENDENT INQUIRY

OCCUPYGHANA® CONDEMNS RECENT ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND DEMANDS INDEPENDENT INQUIRY

1st FEBRUARY, 2019

OCCUPYGHANA® PRESS STATEMENT

OCCUPYGHANA® CONDEMNS RECENT ELECTORAL VIOLENCE AND DEMANDS INDEPENDENT INQUIRY

OccupyGhana® has noted with grave concern, reports of violence, including shootings with live ammunition that occurred during the by-election that was held in the Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency in Accra.

We are disappointed that a by-election right in the capital of Ghana could degenerate into such acts of violence, some of which were captured in pictures and videos that are making the rounds in the traditional and social media.

We condemn all such acts and call for the perpetrators to be brought to book and punished in accordance with the law.

We note that the Ghana Police has stated in a Press Release dated 31st January 2019 that it will investigate the incidents of violence. While agreeing that the police may investigate the matters with a view to causing the prosecution of offenders, we would propose that an independent body conducts a full-scale inquiry into the matter. Some of the video footage that we have seen show that some of the masked men who are accused of the intimidation and violence, and certainly one of the persons who assaulted a Member of Parliament, were in vehicles that bore the name or insignia of the police. The police that stands accused, at the very least, of complicity in these matters, cannot investigate the overall issue of the violence that occurred.

We certainly are at pains to understand why security personnel being sent on election duties would have their faces covered as if they were on some special forces operations in a war zone. We find that unacceptable and a gross breach of modern day policing methods.

That is why we are calling upon the government to immediately constitute a proper commission of inquiry under Chapter 23 of the Constitution to inquire into these matters. No person or group of persons should be allowed to destroy our reputation, disrupt our peace and denigrate the pillars of civility we have worked so hard to achieve

Yours, for God & Country,

OccupyGhana®