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Opinions of Thursday, 26 December 2013

Columnist: Yekin, Kofi Ali Abdul

The reign of democratic terror in Ghana (Nima

) Part 2
I somewhere last week brought to your attention the demonstration on the state of Nima Gutter, to get the authority responsible for the gutter to wake up to their responsibility, that was met with police brutality. I also remembered informing you about the police reining the youths before the court of law, for embarking on the demonstration.
Well, the drama around the court issues is getting very interesting and exposing the nature of institutional injustice being perpetuated by those we have entrusted with, part of the responsibility of facilitating the Ghanaian for justice. The Ghana Police and the Court are putting themselves to test before the public gallery again.
Imagine the rich subjecting the poor to severe beating, because the poor asked for what rightfully belongs to him. Imagine the same rich person dragging the poor to the police station for further punishment, after the beating. The Ghana Police Force is not only dragging the youths of Nima to the court but doing this on falsehood, because the youth of Nima are asking the state of Ghana to use the tax payer’s money to put a public gutter in good order.
There are several anomalies about the way and manner the police are dealing with this issue. The whole thing makes people like I question the integrity of our Police, in its role of upholding justice in Ghana. I strongly believe our police force should be honest, sincere, professional and up to date, in their dealing with public concerns. Is the police role in this matter personal, for which lies have to be employ to have their way at all cost?
The Ghana police have ended up having so many Ghanaians losing their lives, by actions believed to have been carried out on the basis of truth and honesty. The Ghana police have initiated and been instrumental to legal cases, in which thousands have annually ended up on death roll or sentenced to long term of imprisonment. The Ghana police are the only institution officially entrusted with the duty of preparing the citizens of the nation for the justice system, of which falsification of fact is not expected to be a part.
To start with, the sole purpose of justice is to identify and expose falsehood, for truth to be established. The duty of the Ghana Police is to ensure that no single Ghanaian lives a falsified life or subject another Ghanaian to such life. So where this exists, the police institution is expected to employ the law through the legal system, to assist in relieving the victim of the falsehood and have the truth establish. The police establish the truth through the court of law and everyone present must see that the truth, in accordance with the law, prevails. The police in civilized societies hold very high this virtue of justice by the truth, which goes a long way in building citizens confidence in the justice system and trust in the police, as an institution.
It is important to remind ourselves that the law is about the truth, while the truth is the law made through the parliament of Ghana or an item of the Ghanaian Constitution. Any other law or action deferring from what the law states, is false, if it is even made on moral grounds or in good faith. Taking a case to court is the beginning of the process of establishing the truth. The premise and process must all be lawful. The case on the Nima Gutter Demonstration betrayed the truth in favour of falsehood, by the premises and processes, the police employed.
The Ghana Police force summoned the leaders of the Nima Gutter Demonstration to court on the 26th November 2013, on the basis that the youths did not notify the police before embarking on the demonstration. The title of the Summon reads “Failure to Notify the Police before Embarking on A Demonstration”. This was not the case because the youths wrote to the police, specifying their intention to embark on demonstration, the reasons, where and when. There were series of meetings with the police on the mode of the demonstration, where officers of different ranks and divisions were involved.
Yes, there were some contentions and recommendations by the police, to which the youth conceded to almost all the concession verbally.
The issue on Notification started with the youths first submitting a letter for demonstration to the Nima Police State. In the letter, the youths indicated that they will be going to the Golden Jubilee House to submit their petition to the President, who was copied in the letter. The Nima Police divisional commander then asked the youth to submit their letter to the regional police commander at the Police Headquarters.
The youth had a meeting with the regional police command that was also attended by the Nima Divisional Police Commanding officer, prior to the demonstration. The regional commanding officer advised the youths to remove the part involving going to Jubilee House and reading their address to the president. The youths agreed to this and decided not to add the Jubilee House to their demonstration.
The police then asked the youths to limit themselves to what was referred to as “The Police Demonstration Routes” which is expected to end at the famous Obra Spot. The youths replied they have no business at Obra Spot as the demonstration is about Nima Gutter. The youths made it clear that their demonstration is going to be limited to the Nima environs and the gutter vicinity, in particular.
The youths left the location of the meeting and a strange called claiming to be coming from the police. The caller then asked the youths to postpone the demonstration to another date. The youth replied that they have already informed all those who are participating in the demonstration and most people have set aside that day to attend the demonstration. They stressed that changing the date will not only be inconveniencing the members of the community who are attending the demonstration but will also be allowing the members of the community to start reading meaning into the postponement. They informed the caller that the demand by the police to call off the demonstration or postpone it, in less than twenty four hours, is not feasible.
The above was the basis on which the police decided to violently disrupt and stop the 18th November 2013 peaceful demonstration. The Police should have based and titled their court summon as, “Failure to Accept the Date Set for the Demonstration by the Police”. It could also have been “Failure to Waite for Police Approval before Embarking on Public Demonstration”. Interesting enough, anyone of these topics is contestable in court. The one presently employed by the police is false while the two possible ones are undemocratic and unconstitutional. We are therefore in court to defend falsehood, with the judge asking us “whether we are guilty or not?”
The next item of deception is how the boys were coned into going for the Summon. There is nothing wrong with the police inviting a person to come and pick up a court summon, where the state has failed in its duty to have the houses properly numbered and the layouts clearly marked. The police actually invited the Nima youths to the police station on a false premises, as the youths were at the police station in respond to a phone call from the police, regarding another coming demonstration the youth had planned and informed the police about.
On arriving at the police station, each of the seven (7) persons who led the demonstration, was issued with a summon letter to appear in court for the above reason. Every one of the seven youths who was issued with the police court summon returned home and appeared at the Osu Magistrate Court, Accra on the 28th November 2013, for the case.
It was strange for us to learn that the Police did not turn up in court on the date stated on the summoned letter and did not call the court to notify it of the reason for not coming. We also learnt that the police did not even communicate with the court on the case before issuing the Summon that put the court in total darkness, on what the case was all about. In fact we were taken to a police prefab court, for justice.
The court indeed informed us that there is no case from the police file on the subject above. The court then asked us to come back again o court on the 2nd of December 2013, with the hope that the police will turned up.
We got to court on the 2nd December 2013 and the police come with their file to register the case in court, as we all looked on in total shock. The police in this case are those who wrote the letter summoning us to court. On normal circumstances, the police are supposed to approach the court with evidence seeking for court order to have a person summon before it. It is the court who will be summoning us before it and not the police summoning us. All that the police have to do is to prove to the court that there is a case for which the court will then issue a Summon. The police therefore will not be coming to court to file the case in our presence, as it was in this case. The police are therefore not obeying the law but rather, making the law. We are therefore left with the Rule of the Police Law, than the Rule of Law of Ghana, befitting a decent justice system we all want.
Another issue of concern is the youths were granted a bail, after pleading not guilty, on the 2nd December 2013. How on earth should anyone be granted a bail when the person is not under arrest or in custody? The accused youths met the police at the court as each left his house a free person. The police came in and file in their case. The police then read out their case after which the judge then adjourned to the 16th of January, 2014.
What is then the motive behind granting the youths who are not under arrest, a bail? Is it a normal practice for the court or the police, to grant a free person attending a court hearing a bail, while the case is proceeding? Would the judge have asked the police the same question if we had been the plaintiff and they are the Accuse? Again were the police going to arrest the youths for pleading not guilty, necessitating the granting of bail?
I am reading a lot of meaning into this “Police/court bail” saga. It stinks as I smell rat. It implies a lot as it prejudge the outcome of the case. In fact, granting the youth a bail with a surety for each of them means the youths have been declared guilty, before justice even start taking its course. We are faced with a potential miscarriage of justice.
We therefore have no choice than to encourage all the members of our community to be joining us in court, as the police and the court are giving us concerns. Justice in Ghana is very expensive and if institutions are conniving to confirm what every Ghanaian knew is happing, then every well meaning Ghanaian have to develop keen interest in this case. We want everyone to be there when history is going to be made. We want you to be at the Osu Magistrate Court on the 16th of January, 2014 for the court hearing.
Any miscarriage of justice to any Ghanaian is a miscarriage of justice to every Ghanaian. Institutional injustice is not a crime against one Ghanaian but a crime against every Ghanaian. The filthy Nima Gutter in itself, is enough an injustice. The police disrupting our peaceful demonstration are unjust. The police falsifying the charge against us are injustice. The wrongful act of granting us bail with sureties is injustice. What again must happen to these brave innocent youths, under the guise of justice, before every Ghanaian will know that institutional exploitation and injustice must not be allowed to be part of our democratic Ghana?
Kofi Ali Abdul Yekin
Chair/Coordinator
ECOWAS Citizens Right Advocates
0243377829, yekali2002@yahoo.com