The interior ministry has directed all political parties to seek prior clearance for all political outdoor gathering and activities from the Ghana police service.
The move according to the sector minister, Prosper Douglas Bani is to enable the police to provide adequate security as well as ensure that no two activities clash to create conflict.
Article 21 clause 1, d, of the 1992 constitution provides that: all persons shall have the right to freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations.
But a close reading of the constitution reveals that the right to protest is, like all other rights, is not absolute. Clause 1, a to e, of the same article permits restrictions to be placed on the exercise of the right to protest and other public gatherings in the interest of defense, public safety, public order and public health.
The right to freedom of peaceful assembly therefore balances the rights of the individual against the broader interests of the community and that of other individuals. This is what according to the police requires every public gathering to have notified the police.
However, it appears this year’s political activities are being organized without recourse to the provisions under the laws, something the Interior Minister, Prosper Bani says must be corrected.
“No public activity of a political party is insignificant to the security of this country at this time. So it is an appeal to all political parties to be security conscious and to engage with the Ghana Police Service. “They should come and seek permission from the Ghana Police Service so that they can respond as duly provided.”
The Interior Minister also called on the public to be vigilant in the run-up to the elections indicating that “every citizen, every group of persons have the ability to first of all protect themselves, contribute to the protection of their neighbours at all times but more especially during the elections of December 2016” he noted.
Mr. Bani admonished political leaders to ensure the conduct, utterances and other dealings do not become an albatross on the country’s peace.