General News of Saturday, 1 July 2017
Vice President of IMANI-Ghana, Kofi Bentil says videos of him in a police pick-up during the Occupy Flagstaff House protest four years ago was misunderstood by many Ghanaians.
The legal practitioner who was at the forefront during the demonstration explained that he jumped into the pick-up himself after the police arrested some protesters without reason and that he wasn’t arrested as many thought.
He said, “I got into the car myself and said I was going to remain with them until I’m told where they are going, why they’ve been arrested and I was going to represent them in that situation”.
Mr Bentil said the police tried to pull him out of the vehicle but he refused to get down and rather called on others to join them in the car.
“I called on my colleagues to join…, a couple of them joined me and the police after trying to get us down unsuccessfully decided to drive away because more people were coming”.
Kofi Benti said he and two other lawyers who joined the car were able to get the gentlemen out after a few hours at the police headquarters which was a result of “the power of solidarity”.
He added that “Occupy Flagstaff House was the point where we were able to bring real weight to the concerns we had and the complains we had and people galvanised around that and it became the beginning of the end for the incompetence that we were seeing at that time”.
He stated that the quality of governance that the nation experience will determine whether the country sees more of such protests in future as the CitizenGhana Movement is here to stay.
He warned that “if we experience the levels of bad governance that we experienced under the past government, you will find us come back onto the streets”.
He said people in the middle class are no longer interested in seeking private solutions to public problems as they are now “mindful of others who can’t”.
He commended the organiser of the protest, Nana Akwasi Awuah for the move to get people on the streets to demonstrate against the hard times the nation was going through as radio and tv analysis of the situation at the time was not helping.
He said, “it’s easy to ignore an analyst, it’s easy to ignore somebody who is speaking on radio and asking for things but when you put feet on the streets it’s more difficult to ignore”.