UTAG blasts minister, says he is trying to gag free speech

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The University Teachers Association of Ghana, UTAG, University of Ghana branch has called out the Minister for National Security for trying to shut up the public. UTAG said the minister’s claims that the public is inciting a coup in the country is tantamount to gagging on free speech.

A statement signed by Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Jerry Joe Harrison said UTAG “take a serious exception to the Minister’s statement and condemn it in no uncertain terms”. The statement said UTAG’s strong response is because the Minister’s comments have the potential to “gag the expression of dissenting opinion on what government does with the fiduciary trust reposed in it.”

“The University of Ghana Branch of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UG-UTAG), has noted with concern some comments purportedly made by the National Security Minister, Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah.

“According to the Honorable Minister, some identified individuals in academia (we believe, including UG-UTAG Members), civil society, and the media, are leveraging their influence in society to incite a coup to destabilize the country through spreading of mis/disinformation without adducing any evidence to support the claim.

“We take a serious exception to the Minister’s statement and condemn it in no uncertain terms, as it has the tendency to gag the expression of dissenting opinion on what government does with the fiduciary trust reposed in it, by the people. It also has the potency to prevent these individuals from exercising their fundamental rights to free speech.”

The group said, they do not support coups in the country but will also not allow the government to gag people from expressing their opinions. They added that they will resist any attempts to lead Ghana into the days of the culture of silence.

“We do not support any individual or groups calling for a coup in Ghana. But at the same time, we won’t be gagged from speaking our minds forcefully on all important national issues. We would fiercely resist any attempt, including political commentary, that has the potency to usher us into the dark days of culture of silence.

According to UTAG, nothing can stop coups and military interventions except good governance, strong action against corruption, proper management of the economy and bridging the gap between the poor and the rich among other policies that benefit the masses.

“The antidote to coups and military interventions in politics, are good governance, fight against corruption, proper management of the economy and the implementation of proactive pro-poor policies, that can help bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, as well as create a vibrant Middle Class in society.

Also, UTAG urged the government to initiate national dialogue and discussions on how threats of military interventions can be eliminated and how to promote peace and stability.

“While we call on the government to imbibe the antidotes listed above to secure our peace and promote political stability, we also ask for a national dialogue and conversation on how to guard against the threats of coups and safeguard our peace in Ghana.”

UTAG statement
UTAG-UG statement about Kan Dapaah

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