“The Ghana Police Service must recognise the pivotal role they play in maintaining the peace of the nation. Their approach to enforcing authority and handling citizens who seek to exercise their constitutional rights through peaceful demonstrations can significantly impact Ghana's stability during these challenging times,” a security analyst, Mr Anthony Acquaye has said.
Acquaye, a Security Policy Expert at the Centre for Security Dialogue and Peace Advocacy, said this in a statement dated September 21, 2023.
The statement said drawing lessons from recent civil unrest in various countries worldwide such as Nigeria, Lebanon, Bolivia, and Chile, between 2019 and 2020, it becomes evident that factors like economic disparities, political grievances, and social discord are potential triggers for civil disturbances.
“These same issues are emerging in Ghana, and the Ghana Police Service needs to understand that the continuous denial of citizens' rights through judicial means may lead to frustration and potentially explosive anger,” he noted.
Furthermore, the statement said the way the police handle demonstrators, including arrests and abuses, can draw significant attention on social media platforms and this attention has the potential to mobilise more citizens to join the protests, making it challenging for the institution to maintain control and potentially leading to civil disorder”.
His comment comes on the back of the arrest of members of the Democracy Hub who were preparing to demonstrate against the government’s poor management of the economy in Accra on Thursday, 21 September 2023.
While the police attempted to use a legal approach by citing the letter of injunction served by the organisers' lawyers, some argue that this response came too late.
“It was too late for the organisers to reach out to all their members to call off the scheduled demonstration and engage in further dialogue.
As Ghana faces these complex challenges, finding a balance between upholding the law and respecting citizens' constitutional rights is paramount,” Mr Acquaye stated.
“The Ghana Police Service must continually adapt its strategies to maintain peace and stability in the nation during these trying times,” the statement concluded.