Armed demo: ‘I take the fall for this one; it’s on me’ – Vormawor pleads

Source The Ghana Report

Lead convener of the #FixTheCountry Movement, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, has asked for forgiveness for attempting to organise an “armed demonstration” in Accra.

He said in retrospect, he and the other protesters realised they had goofed.

After a sober reflection and public backlash, he apologised for the content of a letter seeking approval for the demonstration that suggested that participants would be armed with weapons.

“You live, and you learn. The dramatic visual protest didn’t create the kind of impact we hoped for. 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, 1 June 2022.

Barker-Vormawor is already standing trial for coup charges and a road traffic offence.

He is currently on bail and expected to report to the police once a week.

He is part of a group that had planned to hold a three-day protest, including picketing at the Jubilee House and the police headquarters, over poor governance.

They also cited extra-judicial killings and police brutality.

In addition, they had demanded a live address on Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to communicate their concerns.

Medial personalities Blessed Godsbrain Smart (Captain Smart) and Okatakyie Afrifa Mensah, Oliver Barker-Vormawor, and Benjamin Darko were named in the letter as the organisers of the demonstration.

However, Captain Smart condemned the decision to arm protestors and contract a private company to provide security during the event and distanced himself from the letter.

Captain Smart found the content of the letter unacceptable and called for the arrest of the originator in an interview to clarify the development.

He suggested that the letter was put together unilaterally by Barker-Vormawor.

“I am tempted to believe that [Oliver Marker-Vormawor] is the originator of the said letter … I am tempted to believe that he is the one who wrote that letter.

“And I think that this is criminal, it is against the supreme interests of this country, it doesn’t depict the demand of the youth,” he pointed out.

According to Captain Smart, Okatakyie Afrifa Mensah had told him that he did not “know anything about that”.

“Nobody told me about the content, and I am even surprised that the police allowed somebody to deposit such a letter without picking the person up because there were no signatures,” Captain Smart explained on Wednesday, 1 June 2022.

He continued: “If there were signatures, then it is a criminality because it means someone forced my signature”.

“Yes, we want the right things to be done. Things are not right in this country, but I don’t support violence and not in any way would I want to have a blade in my hand to demonstrate. We did the first demonstration without even a stick… whoever wrote that letter is sick,” he stated in an interview on 3FM.

“There is a mentally derailed person who wrote that letter and that is not good,” he repeated in another interview.

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Meanwhile, the police have declined to approve the demonstration request, citing a breach of public order and safety.

In a press release issued on 1 June 2022, the law enforcement agency said it was willing to provide protection for any lawful demonstration in the country.

However, the nature of this demonstration was inconsistent with the Public Order Act.

“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,” the release noted.

The statement signed by Chief Inspector Bright Kwabena Danso has asked the organisers to reconsider the nature and character of their intended demonstration.

“The Service has reached out to the organisers to reconsider their proposal and work with the police towards the organisation of a lawful, peaceful, and successful demonstration.

“We wish to assure the public that in the interest of public safety and security, the police are putting in place all necessary measures to ensure that unauthorised persons do not march the streets with weapons,” the statement added.



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