Source: Class FM Ghana - Anti-government pressure group Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA) is free to picket any park, but not the Electoral Commission (EC), which is a “security installation,” Chair of the Commission, Charlotte Osei has said.
A planned picketing by the group to push for a new electoral roll ahead of the 2016 general elections was botched by the Police twice, with an explanation that the Commission is a security installation.

On their first attempt, the Police fired tear gas and water cannons at the demonstrators, as well as beat some of them up, with truncheons and cudgels, for, allegedly, veering off agreed routes for the protest activity.

The second attempt was thwarted with a restraining order from the court.

Apart from insisting that the EC is a security installation, which cannot accommodate picketing, the Police Service said it gathered intelligence that indicated that robbers and criminals posed a threat to the country’s security, and, therefore, could not spare any officers to safeguard a picket.

Leaders of the group accused the Police of trumping up excuses to frustrate their protest.

Speaking on the issue for the first time, Ms Osei told Journalists at a press conference at the Commission on Wednesday September 30, 2015, after a discussion with the various political parties over some proposed electoral reforms and concerns that the EC “is a security installation to the extent that at least, for nothing else, we have a data centre here, which carries very sensitive information and biometric details of 14 million Ghanaians.”

She demanded clarity on what the Alliance meant by picketing. “It depends on what you call picketing and they will have to define that.”

“You have to recognise that we have lives here, work is ongoing. As much as people have the right to demonstrate, others have the right to go about their duties normally,” Ms Osei said, adding: “There also people, who come to our premises to transact business with us, they should have the right to go about that business properly, and we also have assets here, which were bought with tax payers money, which need to be also protected, so if the picketing is going to be disruptive to all that then I will have a problem with that personally… so I will have a problem with picketing to the extent that I don’t know how disruptive it would be to business and to safeguarding the lives of my staff and the park, why not?” she asked.


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