A deputy Minister of Transport believes the police may have been provoked to use reasonable force to rein in errant demonstrators demanding a new voter's register.
Joyce Bawa Mogtari is convinced the protesters breached the laid down route agreed before the demonstration and called on organisers of future demonstrations to at least "adhere to basic instructions." She made the comments on Joy FM's Newsfile programme during discussions on the alleged brutalities meted out to members of the Let My Vote Count Alliance who embarked on a demonstration to demand a new voter's register. The organisers of demonstration claim the existing register was bloated and wanted to put pressure on the Electoral Commission to compile a new one. But the demonstration turned ugly with a number of the demonstrators beaten with horse whips, batons by police personnel.
A section of Ghanaians have accused the police of being brute but the law enforcement agency has been resolute in defence of their action. Bawa Mogtari conceded there were some excesses on the part of the police but believes organisers had greater responsibility to ensure there is peace during demonstrations. "Peace begets peace" she said but berated the organisers of the demonstration breaching the agreement on route for the demonstration. "The EC has always been declared a security zone. There is a good reason [for that]," she explained. Citing botched demonstrations in the past like the Kumepreko, ROPAL, some of which led to needless loss of lives, the Deputy Minister said it is time for people to learn lessons from such demonstrations. "The jurisprudence is there for us all to learn from and if we do not learn from the past and allow history to guide us then where are we going as a nation?" she asked. "The police may have been forced to use reasonable methods to control this particular crowd," she said.
When Kweku Baako, a panellist on the programme made reference to videos and pictures that suggested that the force used by the police was not minimum, the deputy Minister said "videos can be edited...we have all seen the pictures and some of them may not necessarily connote the truth and i wasn't there when the photos were taken." Egbert Faibille Jnr who was also on the show condemned the action by the police. Describing the action as an "orgy of violence" the Editor of the Ghanaian Observer Newspaper said even if the demonstrators broke the law there no justification for the type of violence that would lead to one of the demonstrators losing one his eyes.