The Democracy Hub, the organizers of the #FixTheCountry movement and the organizer of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest has denied allegations by the Ghana Armed Forces that participants of its protest used some unauthorized military accoutrements.
In a statement released on Monday, October 16 2023 and signed by its Conveners, the group denied the allegations by the Ghana Armed Forces and indicated that no participant in its peaceful demonstrations wore military accoutrements, nor intended to impersonate military personnel.
“Democracy Hub, the Convener of #FixTheCountry movement and the organizer of the #OccupyJulorbiHouse protest is issuing this press release in response to a recent press statement by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), concerning alleged unauthorized use of military pattern uniforms and accoutrements during our peaceful protest.
“In the GAF’s statement, it is claimed that during a recent demonstration in Accra, some protesters and private security personnel were dressed in military-pattern camouflage uniforms and accoutrements, posing potential risks to national security. We would like to clarify and dispute these allegations, drawing attention to the facts and legal framework surrounding this matter”.Democracy Hub
The group further argued that the law that specifically concerns the actual use of military uniforms and equipment by armed forces personnel does not have patterns resembling any form of camouflage.
According to the Democracy Hub, while it acknowledged the Ghana Armed Force’s interest in pursuing the incessant criminal conduct of its officers across the country or even of persons potentially being wrongly perceived as military personnel, its demonstration did not engage in any criminal activities or attempted to undermine national security but rather aimed to exercise its democratic rights and contribute to Ghana’s vibrant, open and transparent democracy.
“It is important to highlight that the National Liberation Council Decree (NLCD)177 Of 1967, referenced in the GAF’s statement, defines military uniforms, equipment, or accoutrements as those “worn or used by the Armed Forces of Ghana or any country”.Democracy Hub
Democracy Hub Condemns GAF’s Directives To Arrest Civilians During Protest
Furthermore, the group chastised the Ghana Armed Forces for its caution that it would arrest civilians who used items suspected to resemble the Ghana Armed Force’s equipment and materials.
The group noted that in constitutional democracy, the role of the military is primarily to protect the territorial integrity of the nation, not to enforce civil laws or arrest civilians participating in peaceful protests.
“We also wish to address the claim in GAF’s statement that GAF will attempt to arrest civilians during protests. Even though the decree the GAF is referring to was adopted during the coup era, it grants no rights or power to the GAF to enforce that decree.
“As such, we believe that any such actions by the military would be contrary to the principles of democratic governance. As such, we will not tolerate any purported attempts by the GAF to subject demonstrators to the kind of inhumane brutality they meted out to Ghanaian citizens in Ashaiman. We are against all forms of tyranny and the kinds of military brutality that the GAF has now normalized”.Democracy Hub
Again, Democracy Hub underscored its commitment to upholding the values of democracy, including the right to peaceful protest, and welcomes open dialogue and cooperation with all stakeholders, including the Ghana Armed Forces.
It indicated that its protests are fundamentally aimed at raising awareness about issues vital to Ghana’s progress and prosperity.
“Your goal is to ensure that our protests are conducted lawfully and peacefully, contributing to a vibrant, open and transparent democratic society. We believe in the rule of law and respect the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, which guarantees our rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression”.Democarcy Hub
The group therefore called on the Ghana Armed Forces to acknowledge the distinction between actual military uniforms and patterns used in civilian clothing, as well as the importance of citizens’ rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression in a democratic society.
Additionally, the group indicated that given the urgency and importance of the matter, it has written to request an immediate meeting with the leadership of the Ghana Armed Forces to discuss these issues and seek a constructive resolution.
“We believe that working together can lead to a more peaceful and prosperous Ghana. We are committed to finding common ground and ensuring that our protest proceeds in a lawful and peaceful manner that aligns with the principles of democracy”.Democracy Hub