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Opinions of Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Columnist: Sakzeesi, Camillus Maalneriba-Tia

On the issue of ‘Democratic Governance in hypocrisy’

Since last week Wednesday, September 16, 2015, when the 'Let My Vote Count Alliance' (LMVCA) demonstration for the compilation of a new voters register which turned violent, I have listened, watched and read seasoned politico/social commentators on it. They are often carried from the political party beds they wake up from. And that is where I feel sad about partisan politics in Mother Ghana’s land. It is destroying than building us up.

I cannot remember, but just about a year or so to the 2008 elections, the then opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) organized a similar demonstration against the then ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) which later went violent. The police used maximum brute force on the demonstrators leading to injuries suffered by some of those who participated in it.

Expectedly, it was as usual the NDC members who saw everything wrong in the police action. The NPP did not see any EVIL in the police action and therefore, did not condemn it – they JUSTIFIED it. The attitude of the NPP was very disappointing to the NDC including myself as a member of it.

The Wednesday under reference has brought out the HIPOCRISY in us once again. I was, and I am still aware of the evil intention of the organizers of the event. I also knew very well the hidden agenda of the demonstrators veering off at a point in their march to where a court had ordered them not to thread. And that was exactly what they cleverly did with some levels of provocation which prompted the police to react.

However, and indeed however, the BRUTALIZING nature of the police reaction must be wholly CONDEMNED in limitless terms. That is why I think the ‘noisy’ silence of the party I belong, the NDC is equally condemnable.

As I said, I am not in one bit condoning the irrational action/attitude of the demonstrators but how do we justify policemen who ran after armless demonstrators (that is what we saw in television footages), catch them and beat them up. Agreeably some physical confrontation may have been provoked on the blind side of media footages we saw.

Granted that it was the situation, all the police needed to do was to subdue and arrest them. The action by the police was very-very unfortunate and normally when an institution misconducts itself it is the ruling government that takes the blame which is also understandable.
In constitutional democracies which give birth to Parliamentary Democracies, all the rights that the citizenry deserve are granted. That is why the Constitution grants the Ghanaian citizenry – the right to DEMONSTRATE. The grant, however, does not go without regulations which are carved to instil discipline in civil societies.

So, the fact that the 1992 4th Republican Constitution grants us the needed civic rights it does not request of us to be IRRESPONSIBLE. Unfortunately, the LMVCA sought to use acts of irresponsibility to exercise their constitutional right which is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. And unfortunately again, they are citizens who are coming from a so-called foundation of the RULE-OF-LAW. How do they practice the rule-of-law when before the demonstration the leadership publicly declared that to spite the route restriction order by a court of competent jurisdiction – they were bent on threading those NO-GO areas?

Who, in a responsible National Security position would have spitted such a bluff? And based on that confrontational threat, the police on that day were combat-ready for the eventuality anticipated. Daringly, the demonstrators carried out their threat. I recollect in one of such demonstrations a participant dared a policeman who did not act in any way to provoke him –to “shoot me if you are a man”. The state security man ignored him despite the near chest-level body conduct in which he engaged him. Any trigger-happy man would have shot him with the excuse ‘he attempted disarming me and I did it in self-defense’.

He would have been right because the television footage which captured it proved that point. He was too professional in handling the ‘Agent Provocateur’. I thought to myself that if the policeman had even used his bare hands on the ‘agitant’ he would have been condemned to the gallows. Hippocrates as we are, the NPP would have seen everything right with the behavior of this misfit and certainly, the NDC would have seen everything wrong with the uncouth behavior.

Another misbehavior preceding this one is the one that the leadership of the demonstrators attempted veering off to the NDC headquarters which the police effectively blocked. This last one, too, they attempted getting there.
Now somebody should tell me the motive of wanting to go to a rival political party office if not with the intent of attacking the property and staff in there. And with what would they have used in the attack? You can make a guess.

In all these civic infractions, the NPP sees nothing un-towered with the LMVCA which owes allegiance to it. But the biggest of these hypocritic behaviors is with the flag-bearer of the party. He is ‘authorizing’ the President of the Republic of Ghana, to constitute a commission or a committee to investigate the incident. When I heard him make the call I cringed.

I felt so because he has ever been the Attorney General and Minister for Justice before in this country. Best still he touts himself one of Ghana’s fore-most Human Rights activists. Apart from the last one, the others were previously held. But it was during the NPP regime of which he now leads that the NDC demonstration took place.

It was the same behavior of flouting approved routes which saw us moving towards the then seat of government, the Christianburg Castle. The sitting President, H.E. John Dramani Mahama was among other very prominent personalities of the NDC who participated. They all became athletic when the police charged on us. Many people sustained various degrees of injury as a result of the brute force used by the same Ghana Police Service.

The human rights advocacy spirit of Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo refused to prevail upon him to request the Kufour administration to probe the violence. If it was not a constitutional infringement on civil society – why has is suddenly become one?

Nana Akufo Addo did not hear the operational command word of the then Greater Accra Police Commander, DCOP Douglas Akrofi’s “CHARGE” which unleashed his men on equally armless men as happened on September 16.

This is how the monster called partisan politics has been able to cage and cloud our God-given sense of sincere judgment of issues. And when I see people with impeccable academic laurels decide to procure IGNORANCE just because of their partisan leanings, then there is no need for one to acquire ACADEMIC INTELLECTUALITY.

As usual these intellectual dishonest men are all over radio stations damning the police, using vulgar words like thugs – alleging they are common civilians hired and given police uniforms to commit the atrocities recorded. This allegation was made by the IMANI know-all man called Franklin Kudjoe.

As Ghanaians we can only do ourselves good when we see things the way they are to be seen without partisan lenses. I am happy the President has commented on it and admitted that yes the demonstrators misbehaved but that the over reaction of the police is very condemnable and regrettable. I pat the shoulder of the President!

National Democratic Congress – it is your turn to issue a public statement on it. Don’t let us laugh over it because when rain beats SALT, BUTTER should not laugh because if it does not find itself in a permanent cooler – the sun will soon rise to its disadvantage. When it happened to the NDC, the NPP laughed and the NDC felt bitter. Now it is the NPP which is chewing the QUINNINE tab of police excessive force. Before we laugh, therefore, let us find ourselves in a permanent cooler (which is not guaranteed in partisan politics) before we do so.

The police acts of BRUTALITY is hereby totally condemned. I am done.

Camillus Maalneriba-Tia Sakzeesi