Former Central Regional Chairman of the National Democratic Congress(NDC) and now Social Commentator, Bernard Allotey Jacobs has appealed to the Ghana Police to allow the Conveners of the ‘Fix the Country’ campaign to embark on their protest march following the Supreme Court ruling on the case.
The #FixTheCountry protest was scheduled to take place on Sunday, 9th May, 2021 but the Police secured a restraining order from the High Court prohibiting the protest, citing it is a breach of the COVID-19 restrictions to allow the demonstrators to have their way.
The Police action was pursuant to Section 1(6) of the Public Order Act, 1944 (491).
The High Court ruled that Conveners, their associates and all parties interested in taking the protest march are “prohibited from embarking on any demonstration on Sunday, 9th May, 2021 or any other date until the restriction on public gathering is lifted by the appropriate authority”.
The Conveners, however, registered their displeasure and filed an application at the Supreme Court seeking to quash the High Court ruling.
They prayed the court for, “an order of certiorari directed to the High Court (Criminal Division 1) Accra, to bring up to this honourable Court for the purposes of being quashed and the quashing of the order of the said High Court dated May 6, 2021 given by and under the hand of Her Ladyship, the Judge, Justice Ruby Aryeetey (MS), restraining the conveners of the “Fix-the-Country” public demonstration and Applicants herein, indefinitely, to embark on a public demonstration” and also wanted “an order restraining the Ghana Police Service, the 2nd Interested Party or their agents, assigns, workmen or workwomen, howsoever described or styled, from unlawfully interfering with the constitutional right of the conveners of the “Fix-the-Country” public demonstration and Applicants herein to embark on a public demonstration.”
The Supreme Court presided over by Justice Yaw Appau, in its ruling on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, granted the first order indicating that since the police obtained the restraining order in an ex-parte application, it should have been for a period of 10 days, following which, the State or Police must go back to the High Court on notice with a new application.
Because the High Court failed to observe this rule, the Supreme Court held that, “the order of the High Court is thus quashed”.
The Apex Court did not grant the second order by the conveners.
Touching on the issue, Allotey Jacobs argued the Supreme Court ruling, “writes off the Police statement that they won’t let them go on demonstration because of COVID”.
He asked the Police not impede the protest but rather “allow them to go on demonstration. For me, they should go on demonstration but bearing in mind that the Police will protect the sovereignty and the stability of this country no matter what”.
”When the youth are frustrated and there is desperation among them, somebody will rise up to become a leader and to call for violence. That is how I see it in my ears in politics. You take advantage of your enemies disadvantage and do what is right or wrong depending upon how you behave yourself when you’re on demonstration,” he added.
The Social Commentator also advised the protesters to obey the Police when they embark on their demonstration.
”Politics and democracy has come of age and so, if they are going on demonstration, they should be extra careful. They should obey instructions,” he told host Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ programmme.