Ghana Police Caught In Animal Farm Play-Acting  -Won’t Allow ‘Fix the Country’ demo After Sir John’s Funeral

James-Oppong-Boanuh, IGP James-Oppong-Boanuh, IGP

The Ghana Police Service is vividly enacting the famous "Four legs good, two legs better" phrase in the book, "Animal Farm" in a manner which would have attracted the admiration of its British author George Orwell, if he was alive.

The law enforcement institution, had allowed the burial and funeral rites of Kwadwo Owusu Afrieye alias "Sir John"; one of the biggest funerals to happen in the country recently with President Akufo-Addo, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia, Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah and many other dignitaries in attendance, in spite of the COVID-19 restriction.

Interestingly, the institution is busily using the same COVID-19 restrictions by advising the public not to honour any invitation to participate in a demonstration organized by conveners of the #FixTheCountry protest that does not comply with provisions of the Public Order Act.

The Police made the call in a statement yesterday, June 8, 2021, despite allowing the public burial of a COVID-19 patient, although others who died from the virus were buried under strict COVID-19 protocols with only few family members present and corpse handlers dressed in protective clothing.

The Police Service's statement, comes after a Supreme Court ruling quashed an earlier order they secured from a High Court to restrain the protestors from staging a demonstration against bad infrastructure, corruption, economic hardship and dysfunctional state institutions.

But the police, insists the decision of the Supreme Court does not conclude their litigation with the conveners of the protest at the High Court as the substantive case will be heard on June 14, 2021.

"The substantive case between the police and the conveners on the right to demonstrate is still pending at the High Court (Criminal Division 1) Accra, and slated for hearing on Monday, June 14, 2021," the police said in the statement.

On May 6, 2021, the Ghana Police Service secured an injunction from the High Court using COVID-19 as an excuse to stop a planned demonstration by the #FixTheCountry campaigners.

"It is hereby ordered that the organizers/conveners of FixTheCountry protest march, their associates, officers, agents, assigns, and workmen are prohibited from embarking on any demonstration on Sunday, 9th May 2021, or any other date until the restriction on public gatherings is lifted by the appropriate authority," the order secured by the police read.

The campaigners challenged the injunction and proceeded to the Supreme Court to make their case for the injunction to be quashed.

The Supreme Court yesterday after hearing arguments from both sides, nullified the injunction, giving the green light to the protestors to stage their demonstration.

A Supreme Court Panel presided over by Justice Yaw Appau set aside a High Court order that indefinitely barred the "fix the country" campaigners from staging a street protest.

The court held that this order was in error and proceeded to quash it.

In restraining the protestors, the High Court stated that they are not to hit the streets until such a time that the appropriate authority lifts the Covid-19 restrictions on public gathering.

The campaigners insist this order is unlawful as, under the High Court's rules, injunctions granted without arguments by the affected persons (ex parte) ought to last for just 10 days.

Lawyers for the Campaigners led by Justice Sai on Tuesday, June 8, urged the Supreme Court to speak on the matter. He insisted the order speaks for itself and restrains his clients indefinitely.

The AG, however, disagreed.

He described the case filed by the campaigners as misconceived and completely unwarranted. He explained that under the High Court rules, Ex Parte orders are to last for 10 days.

He added that by law, the order granted on May 6, stopping the May 9 protest, has since elapsed. He therefore urged the court to dismiss the case since no order is in force which currently bars the protest.

The AG however added that even before the expiration of the order, a fresh application for an injunction had been made by the IGP knowing well that the May 6 order was to last 10 days.

The court in this ruling, noted that the rules of the High Court allows such Ex Parte injunctions to last only 10 days. It thus said the Judge erred. The court therefore proceeded to quash that portion of the order that barred the group indefinitely.

The case was heard by Justices Yaw Appau, Mariama Owusu, Lovelace Johnson, Clemence Honyenuga and Prof Henrietta Mensah Bonsu.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) has since called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to prosecute organisers of Sir John's funeral following the total disregard for COVID-19 protocols at the grounds.

Videos and photos making rounds on social media show most of the mourners were without nose masks and disregarded social distance protocols at the funeral.

The GMA is unhappy such "super spreader" event was organised at a time when the country is still racing against time to meet its target of vaccinating about 20 million citizens by the end of 2021 against the deadly viral disease.

"The GMA condemns such activities that violate our protocols and has the tendency to reverse all gains made in our fight against COVID-19," the statement said.

It added: "We call on the law enforcement agencies to investigate and deal with the organisers of this and any similar events to serve as a deterrent to others who intend to endanger the public health of our nation. We call on the Inspector General of Police to act without fear or favour in this regard."