Manasseh Azure Awuni, investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of The Fourth Estate news outlet, has cautioned Oliver Barker-Vormawor, lead convener for the #FixTheCountry movement, and other members of the group that their actions are killing the once vibrant movement to the delight of the authorities it was initially formed to hold accountable.
Manasseh sounded this caution in a post made on his Facebook page on Thursday, June 2.
The renowned journalist was once in support of the group’s activities but had to publicly distance himself from it following the arrest and subsequent charging of Barker-Vormawor with a treason felony for threatening to stage a coup in Ghana if the e-levy was passed into law.
The group and its organisers have suffered widespread condemnation after the Ghana Police Service disclosed in a statement that it had received notification about an “intended armed demonstration in Accra” being organized by Okatakyie Afrifa Mensah, Captain Godsbrain Smart, Benjamin Darko, and Oliver Barker-Vormawor.
According to the police, the said demonstration, if allowed to happen, would amount to a flagrant violation of the Public Order Act, 1994 (Act 49).
In the statement that was posted on its Facebook page on Wednesday, June 1, the law enforcement agency said that it had received notification from the above-mentioned organisers of the intended demonstration on Sunday, May 29.
“The demonstrators intend to embark on a three-day demonstration starting on 4th June 2022.
“The demonstrators intend to contract a private security company to provide protection for the demonstrators.
“That the demonstrators and the contracted private security personnel will be armed with weapons.
“That the armed demonstrators will pecket at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporationn (GBC), and the Ghana Police Headquarters.
“That at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, they will demand to speak directly to the nation TV and layout their grievances,” the police revealed in the statement.
The statement, signed by Chief Inspector Bright Kwabena Danso of the Accra Regional Public Affairs Unit of the police service, assured that it stands in readiness to offer protection for any lawful protest but not the one the organisers intended to embark on.
“We would like to assure the public that the Police Service is ready and willing to provide the necessary protection for any lawful demonstration in the country.
“However, in this case, the service is of the view that the nature and character of the demonbstration as intended, is inconsistent with the Public Order Acat.
“We are therefore 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.”
Meanwhile, Barker-Vormawor has asked for forgiveness on behalf of the group, saying that upon hindsight, he and the other organisers of the foiled “armed” protest realized that they had goofed.
He added that while the move was “driven by love for the humanity of our citizens”, they (organisers) misstepped and he personally accepts responsibility for the faux pas.
“You live and you learn. The dramatic visual protest didn’t create the kind of impact we hoped. I was hoping that our democracy will be visually confronted with the urgency of getting accountability for violence.
“The police took advantage of, embellished it and led the PR on this.
“That’s fine too. I hope our missteps are forgiven when they happen. And we take the moment to learn and grow from them.
“I’ve never done anything that wasn’t driven by love for the humanity of our citizens. I take the fall for this one. It’s on me,” Barker-Vormawor wrote on his Facebook page on Wednesday, May 1, 2022.