The Communications Director of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Richard Ahiagbah, has clarified that the government is not opposed to demonstrations in the country.
He dismissed claims that the government is against civil protest, emphasizing that the government appreciates citizens’ rights and will not attempt to suppress their rights.
He made the remark following the brutality meted out to the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protestors a few days ago in Accra.
The police filed an injunction preventing organizers of the protest from picketing in the vicinity of the Jubilee House. The protestors defied the police’s orders, and 49 of them were arrested.
On the second and third days of their protest, the organizers were prevented from marching to the Jubilee House, which was their intended picketing point.
The government was heavily criticized for preventing the protestors from picketing at their designated route.
In an interview on Eyewitness News on Citi FM, Richard Ahiagbah emphasized the importance of citizens obeying rules, adding that preventing the protestors from picketing at the Jubilee House is not the same as disallowing them from demonstrating.
“To correct the impression, this government and this party [NPP] do not oppose people demonstrating. Since this government has been in power, some people have demonstrated, I can count about five peaceful demonstrations. That impression must be corrected, to the extent that people have been demonstrating. When there’s a demonstration, people go out there, the atmosphere is charged, and things happen, that cannot be a system directing that demonstration.”
He added, “The circumstances of the event must be taken into account, let’s not have this blanket generalisation and say that under this government people won’t be allowed demonstrations. Who we are reflects the allowance of people to express their values. By way of demonstrating, express their frustrations. As a government and as a party, that avenue is there. If there are circumstances preventing people from demonstrating at the Jubilee House, and you are told not to go there, it cannot be equal to disallowing people from demonstrating”.
The Director of Communications for NPP observed that the threat level in the sub-region has heightened, stressing that it would have been suicidal for the police to have allowed them inch close to the Jubilee House.
“In our sub-region, you realise what is happening by the minute, by the day, the threat levels have heightened, and so you think that it should be okay to allow them to go?” he said.
Reacting to the demonstration by some Ghanaians in London, he said it was unnecessary for them to have embarked on a demonstration, adding that the economic crisis is a global problem.
“If I were them, I wouldn’t demonstrate because I would have appreciated the global situation,” he opined.
Tensions ran high outside the Ghana High Commission in London on Friday, September 29, as Ghanaians from across the United Kingdom gathered to voice their concerns about the state of governance and the economic downturn.
A little over 100 passionate individuals with placards with various inscriptions converged on the diplomatic premises to make their voices heard.
These demonstrators were resolute in their belief that the Akufo-Addo-led government had fallen short in addressing the pressing issues facing the nation.