Director of the Human Rights and Governance Centre Lawyer Martin Kpebu.

A Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu has explained the approach adopted by the #FixTheCountry Movement.

According to him, the request to use armed private security personnel during the 3-day protest that begins from June 4 is a saber-rattling type of activism.

Speaking on Top Story on Wednesday, Mr. Kpebu said the objective of the request is to bring the public’s attention to the shortfalls identified with policing, for redress.

“I mean, because of the matters we are confronted with, the fact that we are not happy with what the Police are doing, killing people and all that. It is attention they are trying to draw to the problem so that we fix them,” he told Evans Mensah.

According to him, the request for armed security by the #FixTheCountry Movement is nothing more than saber-rattling which is a form of activism.

He continued, “FixTheCountry is attempting to use some of these methods of activism to draw attention to the way some of this Police Service are approaching crowd control,” he cited the Nkoranza-Police clash for instance.

He noted that he does not believe members of the movement have intention to protest with the arms or weapons as stated in their notice to the Police.

This, he explained is because “the law does not allow citizens to bring arms to the demonstration or a public assembly, which is very clear in Section 206 of the Criminal Offences Act 29.”

#FixTheCountry Movement served a notice to the Police on their decision to embark on a demonstration against the Agyapa deal, cessation of the Achimota Forest Reserve and not to tamper with the country’s security.

In their notice, they requested to be allowed to contract armed private security personnel to protect the demonstrators.

But the Police in a statement noted that they are unable to provide security for a demonstration which is in flagrant violation of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 49) and has the potential to result in a breach of public order and public safety.

According to the Police, they have reached out to the organisers to reconsider their proposal and work with the Police towards the organisation of a lawful, peaceful and successful demonstration.

“We wish to assure the public that in the interest of public safety and security, the Police are putting in place all necessary measures to ensure that unauthorised persons do not march on the streets with weapons,” parts of the statement read.

Meanwhile, Security analyst, Dr. Adam Bonaa, has stated that the demand for private security for the three-day #FixTheCountry protest to be held from June, 4th is unjustified.

According to him, such demands “will not be justified anywhere in any country.”

“It is not allowed, to go on a demonstration of this nature and request that because you don’t trust the State security apparatus, you are going to contract your own private security and arm yourself, because you don’t trust the security agencies, I find it very difficult to understand,” he said.

However, #FixTheCountry convener Okatakyie Afrifa says the movement cannot trust the Ghana Police Service to oversee their demonstration on June 4, without harming them.

This, according to him, is the reason why they wrote to the Police to inform them of the presence of private security and the possibility of armed demonstrators. 

Speaking on Top Story, Mr. Afrifa noted that “in the past, unarmed demonstrators have been shot at by the Police who are expected to protect us and nothing has been done about it.

Hence, the FixTheCountry Conveners, want to protect themselves, so there is no repeat of the incidents at Ejura, Ayawaso, and Nkoranza among others,” he stated.