The Media Foundation For West Africa(MFWA) has condemned attack of anti-government protesters in Navrongo, capital of the Kassena- Nankana District of the Upper East Region by Police and Military Personnel at the instruction of a minister who accompanied the President during the visit of the President Nana Addo-Dankwa Akufo Addo to the the Navrongo Municipality.
The MFWA said “ Police and military personnel on August 14, 2019, violated citizens’ rights to hold peaceful protest by intimidating a group of anti-government protesters in Navrongo, capital of the Kassena-Nankana District in Ghana, as President Akufo-Addo arrived in the town for an official visit.”
The Foundation said reports from some media portals revealed that the attack was at the instruction of a minister who accompanied the President “According to a report published by 3news.com, a minister who accompanied the President called the police and military officers to clear the protesters who had massed up along the street with placards.”
The MFWA said it saw in a video, Security detail of the President grabbing and tearing written messages on papers. “Some of the placards read “Mr President, we want dams not dugout”, a reference to widely reported shoddy work by contractors working on irrigation dam projects in the north of the country. “Mr. President, stop renaming and build your own”, read another placard.”
Recounting the scenes, the Media Foundation said”
“The protesters were heard challenging the security officers’ violent intervention.
“Are we in a military rule or what?” one protestor questioned. “This is more than a military rule; this is not democracy. Shame, shame!” a woman shouted.
Mr. Clifford Achari, an aide to the Member of Parliament for the area, justified the action by the security personnel, saying that the protesters’ messages were offensive to the government and the president.”
The Foundation said the Security personnel however did not tear the placards of another group who are sympathizers of the NPP ,who also lined the streets to welcome the president. “Meanwhile, another group of sympathisers of the ruling party, who had lined up the street to welcome the President to neighboring Builsa South District, were left alone as they sang the praises of the President. This group of praise-singers also carried placards with messages such as: “Thank you Nana for giving us jobs”, “Nana Addo, King of Employment.”
“The MFWA condemns the double standards and political favouritism demonstrated by the security forces. The violence against the protesters amounts to censorship and a violation of their constitutionally guaranteed right to peaceful assembly and protest. We call on the Presidency to advise security agents to refrain from attacking citizens who are expressing their concerns to the president through peaceful protests, as such acts of violence and intolerance in the name of the President does not honour the president.”