Yesterday, the leadership and members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) implemented their oath to carry on with their “March for Justice” street protest.
The security agencies, committed to keeping our peace, despite their disagreement with the organisers of the demonstration, bent over backwards in monitoring the demonstration to ensure that there were no excesses and no infiltration to mar the beauty of the event.
The media’s monitoring of the event indicated crowd control was professional. From the Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout to the Airport route through the 37 Military Hospital to the Jubilee House, and later to Parliament, everything was peaceful.
We need to commend the organisers for managing affairs to the satisfaction of members of the general public.
As for the message, we believe the leading opposition party intended it for its publics, and so Ghanaians may understand them. Being in opposition allows for some modicum of flexing, and we believe that’s what the NDC did.
Particularly for the NDC national youth organiser, it was a day and also a fitting climax, in his opinion, for a well-orchestrated programme of “shaking Ghana” and “compelling government to listen.”
What was not clear was the noise about government not having accomplished anything, and jobs still not available for the youth. The record doesn’t support that claim, especially given the fact that unemployment was worse under the NDC administration, from the Rawlings era through Professor John Evans Atta Mills’ and Mahama.
We are particularly enthused about the fact that this demonstration has come and gone – and most probably – with that, all other demonstrations that the NDC has sworn to inflict upon us.
Holding peaceful demonstrations adds to our democratic gains, and it is particularly refreshing when the NDC leadership has proved that it can be relied upon by the security agencies.
As they would admit, because they have been there before, governments all over the world manage situations before giving organisers of demonstrations ‘the green light’. While we hope that this ‘act of magnanimity’ on the part of the authorities and security agencies will not be abused in future, it is still important that all stakeholders refer to the laws when taking crucial decisions. After all, social stability is a collective duty.
While we allow the NDC the right to its opinions and messages, we need to stress that its current propaganda about injustice, together with the insinuation about the ruling administration having the Judiciary under its armpit, are patent lies that diminish the integrity of yesterday’s protest.
Any serious politician and law student would know that since our national independence, Ghana’s Judiciary has been largely flawless in the handling of its sacred responsibilities, regardless of the system of government that we have had to live with.
From Justice Kobina Aku Korsah through Nii Amaa Ollenu and Philip Archer; Georgina Wood to Kwesi Anin-Yeboah, we must admit making mischievous references to our Judiciary is like attacking the head of the family. The consequences will certainly be dire and often self-destructive.
Way to go
In all these, we at the Daily Statesman are particularly satisfied that the Ghana Police Service did not resort to the law courts to prevent the NDC from carrying out yesterday’s demonstration. That would have led to an intensified propaganda that the government was undermining the rights of the citizenry to protest.
We are also happy that there were no provocations and subsequent unhelpful reactions. That is the way to go in a democratic nation where the rule of law operates.
We will always agree to disagree about issues in the country, but as we give vent to our feelings, it is always important that we do so in a manner that does not impair the peace and stability of the country. That is what the NDC was led to do yesterday, and that is the way to go.