Police Battle Oda Youth Over Demonstration
THE PLANNED demonstration against President Mills’ administration by the youth of Akyem Oda and its surrounding areas in the Eastern Region yesterday was halted by the Oda police after an ‘unseen’ finger directed from ‘above’ that the youth should be stopped in their tracks.
The youth of the town, under the auspices of the Oda Youth Association, had wanted to demonstrate against the Mills administration for allegedly neglecting the Oda municipality even though President Mills promised not to discriminate against any group of people and be President to all Ghanaians when he took office 10 months ago.
According to the youth of Oda, they are seeing a different story. “The Oda constituency gave President Mills and the NDC an unprecedented 17,000 votes and as of now we are the only district in the Eastern Region without a municipal chief executive”, the President of the Oda Youth Association, Kwame Baa Mensa, told the DAILY GUIDE at Oda yesterday.
According to him, they wrote to the Oda police on October 26 notifying them of their intention carry out a peaceful demonstration to prompt President Mills about his ‘deliberate’ refusal to appoint an MCE for Oda after his first nominee was rejected by the assembly.
“We were constantly communicating with the police after the official notice of our planned demonstration, only to be told at the eleventh hour that we could not go on the demonstration because there were not enough men to provide security for us since most of them had been sent to Bawku and Yendi for operations”, Baa Mensa said.
According to Baa Mensa, the manner in which the directive was given was very intimidating. He explained that he was invited by the Bureau of National Investigations’ (BNI) branch in Oda on Monday evening to be questioned about his intention and that of the youth to go onto the streets to demonstrate against the government with some ‘unprintable’ inscriptions on their prepared placards.
“Immediately after the BNI invitation, the Police Commander, Superintendent Wisdom Akorli, who wrote to us to cancel our planned demonstration, invited me to a meeting with his district commanders from Akwatia, Kade and Akyem Swedru to give an assurance under duress that I would not lead the youth onto the streets yesterday and I that if anything of that sort happened I would be held responsible for breach of public peace”, he said.
According to the President of the youth association, what beats his imagination was why the police could not even sit down with all the executives of the association to explain the security implications of the demonstration long before yesterday.
“We were very much disappointed because the authorities and the police think we were being pushed by some politicians, but that is not the case. We are a non-political youth association and are only interested in the development of Oda”.
He explained that the youth want answers to how the common fund for the municipality has been utilized in the past 10 months and how revenues generated in the municipality are being used to benefit the people in the municipality.
“Youth from Oda, Aboabo, Asene, Manso, Gyadam, Oda Nkwanta, Tiankama Nkwanta and Akroso want transparency and accountability at the municipal assembly and a determined onslaught on corruption in all spheres of public and private lives”, the President noted.
Kwame Baa Mensa added that unless they are given the right to demonstrate within the next week or so they would forever have the impression that the Mills administration is intolerant of people expressing their views, especially the youth, who are seen as the future leaders of tomorrow.
“We want the Divisional Commander to be very neutral and professional as a police officer and not to be seen as an appendage of the government”. The youth also asked the government and kingmakers to find quick solutions to the long-standing chieftaincy dispute in Oda, which is affecting development in the area.