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Politics of Tuesday, 22 December 2020


Election 2020: Your right to protest not blank cheque for vandalism – Lawyer Sosu tells NDC supporters

MP-elect for Madina constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu MP-elect for Madina constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu

The Member of Parliament-elect for Madina constituency, Francis-Xavier Sosu, has spoken against the vandalism and violence associated with the pockets of demonstrations held across the country by his fellow members of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in protest to the election results declared by the Electoral Commission following the December 7, 2020 polls.

The demonstrators have, on several occasions, clashed with law enforcers.

In one instance near the EC’s headquarters in Accra, they hurled stones and other crude weapons at the police, who were keeping them at bay from invading the premises of the election management body.

The police had to disperse the crowd with water cannons.

In another instance at Manhyia in the Ashanti regional capital, Kumasi, the demonstrators invaded the district police command on suspicion that one of their own had been arrested.

They lit a bonfire and attacked the station and officers with crude weapons.

Speaking in an interview with Kwame Appiah Kubi on CTV’s Anopa Dwabre Mu on Tuesday, 22 December 2020, however, the human rights lawyer said such violent behaviour flies in the face of the same 1992 Constitution, which guarantees their right to march.

“Let me stress that the NDC, as a political party, will not sanction or support any such violence or any illegal means of protesting”, he said.

In his view, “it is very clear that the right to demonstrate must be within the limits of the law – Public Order Act – which requires that you notify the police of the protest because the demonstration and the things you are going to destroy may not belong to the Electoral Commission that you are angry with or even your political opponent”.

“It may as well be for NDC people who voted for you or people who just love the NDC”, Mr Sosu noted, stressing: “If you cause problems with your demonstration, that problem does not affect only one person”.

“I’m advising my party comrades that the constitutional right to protest is not a blank cheque for anything at all, including violence”, he counselled, adding: “The constitutional right to protest also implies an obligation to respect the rights of other people while protesting and also making sure that your protest is peaceful”.

Meanwhile, Mr Sosu has said it is also important for the concerns of the demonstrators to be addressed.

He said the EC, National Peace Council, Ghana Bar Association, Muslim Council and the entire nation must “address the concerns of the demonstrators” since what is happening now means “it could be bigger, it could trigger so many other things”.

“If it means setting up a parliamentary probe to audit the election results pink sheet by pink sheet across the over 38,000 polling stations, let us do it so that the truth manifests”.

On the same subject, former President John Mahama has urged the protestors to demonstrate in a peaceful manner, as they express their reservations about the results declared by the EC.

In a statement in which the presidential candidate of the NDC commended the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) “for the recognition of protests as an instrument of democratic expression”, Mr Mahama said: “Elections can be emotive”, adding that “the EC's incompetent handling of the Dec 7 poll leaves a sour taste in the mouths of all patriotic citizens”.

He said, “it is important to hold the EC accountable to ensure that it purifies itself and rises again to be the leading electoral body on our continent, Africa”.

“I still urge all who feel outraged by the EC's conduct to manifest their displeasure in a manner that is peaceful”, he said.

Out of the 13,119,460 total valid votes cast, the incumbent, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), polled 6,730,587 votes representing 51.302 per cent.

His closest contender, Mr Mahama, polled 6,213,182 representing 47.359 per cent.

The NDC has subsequently accused the EC of presenting “flawed” and “rigged” results in favour of President Akufo-Addo.