The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called for the “immediate institution of a police inquiry into the use of brute force” on protesters who were demonstrating against the compilation of a new register of voters.
The party also wants the “issuance of punitive sanctions where necessary.”
The protesters were met by the police on Thursday, 20 February 2020 around the precincts of Parliament when President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo arrived to deliver the State of the Nation Address.
In a statement released and signed by General Secretary John Asiedu Nketiah on Friday, 21 February 2020, the NDC condemned “the barbaric and brutal treatment of the innocent protesters” who thronged to the streets near Parliament House “to picket” as a “manifestation of their protest against the compilation of a new voter register ahead of the 2020 polls.”
According to the NDC, “The cruel and barbaric manner in which the police used unjustifiable force in an attempt to suppress the constitutional rights of Ghanaians to protest peacefully, was totally disproportionate and unwarranted”.
“This callous application of force resulted in physical injuries to some of the protesters including our Deputy General Secretary in charge of Operations, Mr Peter Boamah Otokunor. As have been seen in the video circulating on media, it was the Director of Operations at the Police Regional Command, Supt. Kwasi Ofori, who ordered the use of water cannons containing hot chemical solution on the protestors.”
The statement continued: “This unprovoked cruelty were triggered by a concern raised by the protesters, when a bus-load of NPP supporters were allowed to enter the Parliament House without hindrance when the protesters had been restricted for several hours from getting close to the entrance of the Parliament House”, and, thus, described it as clearly “an open display of political bias in favour of the NPP, a growing canker that must be resisted with might”.
“To top this aberrant behaviour of the goons under the authority of Supt Kwasi Ofori, our MPs decried the harassment and intimidation by armed military men and heavily jacked-up SWAT/National Security operatives who uncharacteristically stationed in the Chambers of the House.”
The NDC also condemned the “utterly unacceptable and despicable security arrangements” emphasising that despite the clear recommendation by the Emile Short Commission for the disbandment of these “unlawful armed units operating under the cloak of national security, President Akufo-Addo found it necessary to deploy them in the august house of Parliament in an unprecedented display of force, to instill fear into those who disagree with him.”
The NDC also emphasised that it has “an equal stake in this country, just as any other Ghanaian and will never be cowed into submission by such crude tactics” and called for an “immediate institution of a police inquiry into the use of the brute force on the protesters and issue punitive sanction where necessary.”