Mahama directs probe into Wednesday’s police ‘brutalities’

President John Dramani Mahama has called on the authorities of the Ghana Police Service to initiate review into the circumstances that led to the use of brute force on Wednesday’s demonstrators.

The demonstrators were on a march to present a petition to the Electoral Commission (EC) when tear gas and water cannons were unleashed on them by the police.

Rubber bullets were also fired at them after they fell out with the police over the agreed route of the march.

Already, there have been calls, especially from the opposition New Patriotic Party and its leader Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for a commission of inquiry to be set up by the president to investigate the police’s action.

Speaking at this year’s Asogli Yam Festival on Saturday, President Mahama expressed regret at the action resorted to by the police, saying it undermined democratic values of the nation.

“Ghana is a nation of laws. We are a nation that respects the rule of law, a nation that strides itself on the strength and stability of our democracy,” he stated.

“One of the basic tenets of democracy is freedom of speech. The power of democracy lies in the voice of the people and their ability to express their opinions, grievances and approvals to their government. It is an essential component of a conversation that exists between citizens and their elected representatives and that is crucial to the development and growth of any nation.”

President Mahama, therefore, expressed support for the demonstration, which was led by pressure group Let My Vote Count Alliance.

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President Mahama acknowledged how the world over such actions have been employed to “at times actually strengthen the relationship between the people and their government”.

He said since he has sworn an oath to respect the rights of all Ghanaians, “I want us to keep talking with one another despite our differing points of view.”

President Mahama assured the organizers and leadership of the demonstrators – who have threatened to return to the streets on Tuesday, September 22 – that “I have held discussions with the police authority and urged the command to review the unfortunate event of last Wednesday in line with policies and procedures that officers are expected to follow in response to incidents of this sort”.

The organizers have given notice of suing the police over the incident.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana

Twitter: @kwame_amoh