General News of Saturday, 5 July 2014
Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, a presidential aspirant of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), was last Tuesday prevented from participating in the “Occupy Flagstaff House Demo.”
The Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper believes the organizers of the demonstration exhibited high levels of intolerance by selecting people to participate in the demonstration.
The non-partisan demonstration took place on July 1, Republic Day, by a group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG).
The group matched to present a petition to President John Mahama on what it described as the worsening economic situation in the country.
But speaking on Radio Gold’s current affairs programme, Alhaji and Alhaji with Alhassan Suhuyini, Mr. Pratt stated that though the CGRG was representing the ordinary Ghanaian, the organizers ended up sacking persons who did not fall in the middle class for which they belong to.
“It appeared that some of the organizers had come there to exclude others from participating in the demonstration. The demonstration was meant, in their view, for a certain class of people and if you didn’t fall in, you were not entitled to participate,” he bewailed.
He was surprise however that some leading members of the opposition NPP were allowed to participate in the demonstration whilst Mr. Asamoah-Boateng was hooted out.
In his judgment, Mr. Pratt asserted that denying people from exercising their right to demonstrate amounted to infringing on their right to free speech.
“The right to demonstrate has been elevated to a constitutional right. It is a right that is enshrined in our constitution and every Ghanaian including the most intelligent, the most sensible…have the right to demonstrate. Indeed demonstrations should be seen as an extension of the right of free expression,” Kwesi Pratt observed.
According to him, despite the Public Order Act which states how citizens should organize demonstrations to ensure peaceful coexistence, no group of persons have the right to sack or prevent any citizen from engaging in demonstrations.
The Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Junior, also commended government for allowing the demonstrators to exercise their right on a public holiday, noting that hitherto, the demonstrators would have been barred to carry out their demonstration.