The President of IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, believes the police overacted in arresting the Chairman of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Bernard Mornah, and some 18 other persons for converging to embark on a peace march in Accra.
According to him, the action of the police is likely to attract negative media attention to the country.
The 19 persons including Bernard Mornah, were arrested by the Nima Police on Saturday morning when they gathered as members of the Ghana-Togo Solidarity Movement to hold a peaceful march to draw the attention of local and international authorities to the political crisis in Togo.
According to the Police, they had earlier permitted Bernard Mornah and his group, to undertake the peace march, however, they informed him later to cancel it due to operational challenges, and intelligence that another group was trying to interrupt their activity.
But Mr. Mornah denied the claim, saying that he assured the police that the peaceful march required very little police presence and that the march could not be postponed because of the resources invested into its preparation.
Franklin Cudjoe, who commended Bernard Mornah and the group for the initiativem said he believes their action was “harmless” and did not warrant the police’s action.
“I’ve seen a circular Bernard has sent around for this particular program and I thought it was really harmless. They have been trying to raise issues about international oppression and all that.
I think these are commendable as far as these people are bringing attention to oppression from afar and in this case, so close to us [Togo]. I think the police overreacted. They could have just allowed them. The challenge is that this thing will hit he international wires,” Franklin Cudjoe remarked.
Meanwhile, Bernard Mornah, who was granted bail after hours of being kept behind police counter without explanation of his offense, has indicated that he will drag the police to court for violation of his human rights.
‘Stop illegal, oppressive arrests’
Ghanaian innovator and researcher with IMANI Africa, Bright Simmons, has challenged the police over its suggestion that it must approve all notices of non-commercial events before they can be held.
According to him, that position “is not the law of the land,” as the Police want to impose on citizens.
In a Facebook post concerning the arrest of the members of the movement, Bright Simons said, “This continued insistence by the Police that they must approve all notices given to them ahead of public, non-commercial, events IS NOT THE LAW OF THE LAND! If they believe they need this law, they should talk to their sector Minister to head to Parliament with the requisite draft bill….
Can they stop this illegal, oppressive, behavior already!… They should discontinue all ongoing “investigations”/proceedings against the Kawukudi 19, apologize to them for the abuse of their rights, and show contrition publicly!”
What does the Public Order Act say?
The Public Order Act 1994 (ACT 491), from where the Police draws its authority in the holding of special of events indicates that, in attempt to stop a special events from occurring either because organizers refuse to comply with a request to postpone or relocate events, “police may apply to any judge or a chairman of a Tribunal for an order to prohibit the holding of the special event on the proposed date or at the proposed location.”