It’s “sabotage” – CSOs fight police on picket halt

The Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Cluster on Decentralisation and Citizens’ Participation has said institutional sabotage and barriers continue to oppress and exclude women from meaningful participation in the country’s development.

The CSOs planned to picket on Thursday, 28 November and Thursday, 5 December 2019 to put pressure on Cabinet to prioritise the Affirmative Action Bill.

They were, however, directed by the Ghana Police Service to postpone the event.

The CSOs described as disappointing, attempts by the Ghana Police Service to prevent them from picketing, as part of their advocacy to ensure the speedy passage of the Affirmative Action Bill.

At a press conference on Thursday, 28 November 2019, a Co-convener for the group, Efua Edith Chidi said the they notified the Ghana Police Service ahead of time but only received a response on the afternoon of Tuesday, 26 November that they cannot go ahead with their action.

Ms Chidi said: “We delivered letters to the Ghana Police Service on November 12 giving notification of both picketing, we did not receive feedback until the afternoon of Tuesday, 26 November asking us to postpone our planned picketing.”

“Needless to say, this has been a very disappointing turn”, Chidi said, noting that it has “approached this campaign as patriotic law-abiding Ghanaian citizens working collaboratively with the police. The reasons provided are insubstantial to say the least.”

She noted that institutional sabotage and barriers such as the police preventing them from picketing continue to oppress and exclude women from meaningfully participating in the country’s development.

“Is it not within our constitutional right to picket?”, she asked, adding: “Institutional sabotage and barriers such as this, continue to oppress and exclude women and other marginalised groups from meaningful participation in our country’s development processes. They perpetrate women’s relegation and negate towards development.”

Ms Chidi also reiterated the comments of President Nana Akufo-Addo while on a visit to Vancouver early 2019 about the lack of dynamism and activism on the part of women who are seeking to be in decision-making positions.

“The most important thing is power to sit around the table where decisions that are made are enforced and become the norms and regulations by which society lives, not enough movement is being made by the 52 per cent of the Ghanaian population that are women to be able to be in positions to make these decisions. We have not seen enough dynamism and activism on the part of those who are seeking”, she quoted the President as saying, adding: “We see it today, as the efforts of a group of women to demonstrate active citizenship and dynamism has been conveniently thwarted by constitutional barriers. It is unfair and an affront to the principles of human rights equality and democracy”.

“We have decided to cooporate with the police even as we think it’s unfair, we shall work with them to fix new dates for picketing as we continue to press for the passage of the bill.”

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