FLASHBACK: It is not an offence to insult the President – Ace Ankomah
For a number of times in the history of Ghana, some individuals have been the subject of arrest or some form of disciplinary action for insulting the president of the republic.
One of such instance occurred in September 2017 when a popular serial caller of the opposition National Democratic Congress, Frank Kwaku Appiah alias Appiah Stadium was arrested for tagging the president as a “wee smoker.”
His arrest generated a public debate where several arguments and positions were shared for and against his arrest by the police.
Private legal practitioner, Ace Anan Ankomah was one of the people who argued in defence of Appiah Stadium.
Ace Ankomah while describing the statement by the political activist as wrong, emphasised that Appiah Stadium did not commit any offence by insulting the president.
His argument shared in a Facebook post was backed by portions of the 1992 Constitution which he said does not prescribe such actions as offensive.
Read the full article published by GhanaWeb on September 27, 2017 below:
Lawyer Ace Anan Ankomah has dismissed assertions that insulting the president is an offence according to the laws of the country.
He explains that such acts as insulting presidents are wrong but cannot be described as an offence demanding action by law enforcement authorities.
His comments follow the recent debate arising as a result of the arrest of popular serial caller Frank Kwaku Appiah commonly referred to as Appiah Stadium.
He is alleged to have accused President Akufo-Addo of being a ‘wee’ smoker.
The Ashanti Regional Police command on Tuesday arrested Appiah Stadium in handcuff and subsequently transported him to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters in Accra for further interrogation.
His arrest led to a huge debate as a section of the public, particularly the NDC argued that it was unlawful.
“We demand the immediate release of Appiah Stadium from police custody now in the interest of the stability of the State. The release of Appiah Stadium from police custody is non-negotiable, as such we give the Akufo-Addo government 24 hours to produce him or we take every means possible to get Appiah out,” a statement from the party said.
But in a Facebook post on his wall, Ace Anan Ankumah stressed wrote “what is wrong is wrong. Appiah St?diom is wrong but has committed no offence. There should have been no arrest and no handcuffing. You can invite him for a discussion on the possible implications of his action on public order. Even then he’s not bound to honour the invitation. Leave the man to his own devices.”
Referring to an article of his from 2010, Ace Anan Ankumah noted that “Life is interesting. Those who insulted me for this position have become converts, disciples and apostles and are now speaking like my clones or parrots.” referring to the barrage of attacks he received for espousing similar points in defence of perceived NPP sympathisers who allegedly insulted late president Atta-Mills
In the said article, Ace Ankomah stated firmly that insulting the President per the Criminal Code of the 1992 constitution of Ghana, cannot be considered an offence.
He has also suggested that before 2001, there was an offence called insulting the President, but as part of the 2001 repeal of the Criminal Libel Regime, that section of the Criminal and other Offences Act were repealed.
“Until 2001, it was an offence to insult the president. Section 183A of the Criminal Offences Act provided that if a person who intends to bring the President into hatred, ridicule or contempt publishes any defamatory or insulting matter about the President, that person could be liable to a fine and/or imprisonment. But come 2001, the NPP government repealed this section together with the repeal of the then criminal libel laws.”
“Technically, insulting the President is no longer an offence under our laws. Meanwhile insulting a chief remains an offence which should never be criminalised,” he stated.
“This is the highest office of the land occupied by a man voted by Ghanaians, and we can’t have any Tom, Dick and Harry get up in a radio station and describe him in such unpalatable language” he said passionately.
Appiah Stadium has since rendered an apology to the citizenry and the President during an interview with Neat FM in Accra, Monday 25th September 2017.