Lawyer for the Let My Vote Count Alliance, Nana Asante Bediatuo, has called the high court ruling in his client’s favour, a “landmark ruling” that has further pushed forward the frontiers of Ghana’s democracy.
Members of the Alliance were seeking to picket infront of the Electoral Commission and Parliament over claims of bloated voters’ register for the 2016 elections.
The High Court, presided over by Justice Dominic Dennis Adjei, on Monday ruled in favour of the Let My Vote Count Alliance’s challenge of the legality of the Circuit Court’s decision to prohibit them from embarking on a demonstration.
The police went to the Circuit Court, ex-parte (without the notice of the Let My Vote Count Alliance) and sought an injunction against the group to keep them from proceeding with the demonstration.
Speaking to Citi News, lawyer Bediatuo noted, “whenever there is judicial intervention of this kind it helps everybody,” and he expressed hope “that the police would cooperate with citizens who want to express themselves and to exercise their constitutional rights.”
“The objective has always been to present a petition to the Electoral Commission,” he said as he reiterated the pressure group’s focus but that has still not happened though the pressure group still intends make known their demands to the Commission.
Lawyer Bediatuo pointed out that “the police are entitled to a notification… if necessary,” though it is not in every situation that police presence was required and that their presence was subject to their assessment and the subject matter of demonstration.
Asante Bediatuo advised that “we move away from this idea that anytime people want to demonstrate, they themselves has some ulterior motive.” “Part of having a democracy is having people being able to express themselves,” he added also pointing out that not every demonstration was against government policy.
“People should be freely allowed to express themselves and that is why the constitution does not place any limits except insofar as it has to do with public safety, public order, health and so on and so forth and they con requires that those restrictions be put into law,” he added.
He was adamant that all restrictions on human rights must be lawful and that police involvement in demonstration was supposed to be to the protesters benefit.
“If the government wants to place restrictions on they must be lawful and the policeman cannot decide on his own and therefore the requirement to notify the police was just so you can be protected, others can be protected if necessary and it is for the police and you to agree on those kind of restrictions that make it possible to have a successful demonstration.”
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana