An unending drama appears to have characterized the much touted protest march by the Alliance For Accountable Governance (AFAG) over whose stoppage the Police has secured a Fast Track High Court order.
No sooner had the restraining order been given than President John Evans Atta Mills issue a fiat, giving AFAG the green light to hit the street. AFAG’s correspondence to the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, Ms. Rose Atenga Bio, attracted a “no way” response from the security agency, with reasons which the political advocacy group rubbished as flimsy.
Even with the Police decision not to allow the demonstration, AFAG officials insisted that they would go ahead with the protest march to highlight what the organisers described as some socio-economic shortcomings of the Mills administration. The President Mills statement on the subject yesterday ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Paul Tawiah Quaye, to allow the demonstrators to go ahead with the demonstration.
He also asked that the demonstrators be given the necessary security cover to undertake the march. The directive has clashed with the Fast Track High Court, compelling observers of the political terrain to adopt a wait-and-see posture. Earlier, the Police had through their Public Relations Director, DSP Ofori, stated that should the demonstrators ignore a court order and go ahead with the protest, the security agency would employ legitimate means to stop it. The Police, when they turned up before Justice Utter Paul Dery of the Fast Track High Court, put forth their argument as to why the demonstration should not be allowed at this time and eventually getting their way. With the development from the court, the top hierarchy of the security agency was left scratching their heads for a solution out of the legal quagmire they had found themselves in.
The journey so far commenced with AFAG putting forth a 3-point call on the Presidency, bordering on the recent 30 percent increase in the price of petroleum products, the skyrocketing rise in prices of commodities and the increase in the academic user fees at the country’s public tertiary institutions. Waiting abortively without any response from the authorities, the leadership of AFAG concluded that the silence implied that the points raised are entrenched policies of government and so they would respond accordingly. The Police hinged their decision not to have the demonstration take place on the scheduled visit to the country by President Barack Obama on 10th July, the decongestion of Accra which called for the release of 300 cops as they put it. The Police added they intend carrying out a massive hunt for criminals in the national capital and would not have enough personnel for the demonstration.
AFAG rubbished the foregone, pointing out that demonstrations are held in the US even when international conferences are held, adding that such activities form core segments of fundamental human rights of citizens and should not be trampled upon. According to them, the demonstration scheduled to take place on 2nd July 2009 would not affect in anyway, the visit of President Obama. A source at AFAG described the President’s decision as amazing, putting his reaction, thus “we find it amazing that a fundamental human right would require a presidential fiat to be exercised.”
At the time of going to press yesterday, one of the leaders of AFAG had been invited by the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander to proceed for a discussion about the modalities for the demonstration in a complete about-turn on the subject.
The discussion, Daily Guide gathered, dealt with the route to take and other fine details. The procession was earlier scheduled to commence at 9am from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle through Kwame Nkrumah Avenue to the Kantamanto Road and to Rawlings Park, through Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, the 28th February Road and close to the Forecourt of the Accra Sports Stadium around 1pm.
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