The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Finance Committee, Cassiel Ato Forson has accused the Akufo-Addo government of stifling the fundamental human right to free speech.

Speaking to JoyNews during an NDC demonstration led by the Party’s youth wing on Tuesday, he said, “today even if you express misgivings about what is happening in the country, you are not too sure of your safety. You cannot be out there criticising the government of the day.

“And we all know if you criticise the government, you are not necessarily wishing them bad, you are asking them to do what they have been voted for.

“And so, therefore, if someone criticises the government and that person is killed, brutalised by the military or the police, then it is only right as a party in opposition to point to the government that this is not the government we handed over to. During our time in office between 2009 – 2016, we were criticised but we never killed anyone, we did not brutalise someone, we did not ask the military to behave the way they are behaving. Someone certainly commanded the military in Ejura and Wa,” he added.

Registering his displeasure on the recent spate of insecurity, the Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP stated that the Akufo-Addo-led administration is marred with lawlessness and impunity amidst economic hardship.

Mr Ato Forson noted that the recent happenings in the country drag Ghana’s democratic gains into the mud.

“Already, this country is struggling with economic difficulties. We cannot allow insecurity to be part of it. If we ever allow that to be part of it, we will lose the fibre of our country. Ghana is known for its peaceful nature in spite of our challenges and so therefore, at any point in time, what we need to guard is what Ghanaian’s are Known for, how peaceful we are as a country.”

Government is stifling right to free speech - Ato Forson
Photo credit: David Andoh

His comment comes at a time when security issues have come under threat with the country recording incidence of armed robbery attacks, military brutality leading to the death of two people with four others injured through gunshots during a protest in Ejura.

Demanding justice for all persons killed and brutalized by what they describe as, “state-sponsored thuggery and/or adventurism by Police and Military forces,” the NDC youth decided to embark on a protest dubbed ‘March for Justice’.

The march sought to remind the President of his responsibilities towards the people of Ghana. Especially, in the area of public safety and security and also demand social justice for the unemployed youth in the country.

The Former Deputy Finance Minister further called on the President to provide stringent measures in resolving the current state of insecurity and ensure the safety of the Ghanaian populace.

Government is stifling right to free speech - Ato Forson
Photo credit: David Andoh

“We are saying that Mr President, please and please protect us, the people of Ghana deserve better, we have our problems already, we are struggling to have three square meals, we are struggling to get work to do, the ordinary Ghanaian is worried. Don’t add insecurity because that is the last thing we expect they should add to it.”      

Meanwhile, the Youth Wing of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has presented its petition to the Office of the President at the Jubilee House on Tuesday, July 6 after marching through some principal streets of Accra. The petition was received by a Deputy Chief of Staff, Emmanuel  Adumua Bossman, on behalf of the President.