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Opinions of Friday, 4 July 2008

Columnist: Anlo Youth Council

Dery’s Action An Affront To A Constitutional Provision

It has become very necessary for the Anlo Youth Council to remind the Ghana Police Service and the general public that the police have a constitutional obligation to protect the life and property of all Ghanaians irrespective of their ethnic and political backgrounds.

They are reminded that peaceful demonstrations are constitutionally guaranteed rights of every citizen of this country by Article 21 (1) (d) of the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana. It is a conduit by which individuals, groups, political parties, indeed, every Ghanaian can express his or her views about issues of concern to them. The police have no rights, whatsoever, to prevent this freedom of expression of any individual. It is only by a court action where there is reasonable justification that the demonstration may not be peaceful and may not achieve its intended end that the police can enforce an order by a court of competent jurisdiction to prevent it.

To quote a recent statement by a prominent member of the clergy in recent days, ‘we have tried force but it did not work for us, we have now turned to persuasion.’ But from all indications, we have not been able to strengthen the institutional capacities of our institutions to act freely without the political, ethnic and other biased considerations in respect of truth and fairness. If we cannot respect the constitutional provisions we endorsed per the 1992 constitution of Ghana and respect the rights of all Ghanaians, then we should be ready to resign from the service or hold our heads in shame when things fall apart.

The image of the police is already in shatters. We are therefore appealing to Dery and his men not to stand in the way of Anlos to further drag their own image and that of peaceful and law-abiding Anlo into the mud this time round.

DCOP Bernard Guyiri Dery, the Regional Commander of the Volta who is insistence in preventing this demonstration should be ready to account for any mayhem that may result from this demonstration should his men try to prevent a ‘wheel that is already in motion and unstoppable’. His actions are becoming unbecoming of a senior police officer who is supposed to not only respect the tenets of our constitution but to ensure its enforcement without infringing on the rights of any Ghanaian irrespective of ethnic or political persuasion or show of any glimpse of biase

At any rate, DCOP Dery by a confidential letter intercepted by Anlo Youth Council dated January 31, 2008 and singed by the Inspector-General of Police, P.K. Acheampong, has transferred Dery from the Volta Region to the Service Workshop/AR with effect from February 4, 2008. Why Dery still remains in the Volta Region and bent on fishing the ‘unfinished but unattainable agenda’ of his master still beats our imagination.

Anlo Youth Council

President: Mayor Agbleze 0244-584835 Secretary: P.Y. Tsikata 024-2205520