Ghanaians resident in the United States of America are gearing up for a peaceful demonstration dubbed ‘OccupytheGhanaEmbassy@DC’ to protest the poor governance, corruption and the general decline of the Ghanaian economy.
The demonstration, slated for Wednesday, July 23, 2014, is being organized by a US-based non-partisan Ghanaian pressure group called Ghanaians Against Bad Governance (GABG), and it under the general theme ‘Stop The Decline Now.’
This comes in the wake of a similar one held in Ghana, dubbed “OccupytheFlafstaffHouse”, which attracted global attention, in spite of attempts by certain government officials to rubbish it. The Ghana demo was organised mainly by middle class business people, and that, according to analysts, was the mark of its significance.
It is the conviction of GABG that the manner in which the country is being governed now, makes it necessary for ‘us to also let our leaders know that we deserve better. We cannot continue to sit on the fence whilst our country suffers due to the ineptitude of our leaders.’
As part of the campaign against bad governance and economic decline, the group has posted an open petition to the President of Ghana on various social media platforms, and has so far raised almost a thousand signatories, on Facebook alone to the petition, which they would be presenting to Ghana’s Ambassador to the US on the D-day.
In that petition they are asking the president to live up to his widely spread slogan of embarking on a ‘Better Ghana Agenda.’
Their main stated concerns are high levels of corruption, government’s inability to stabilize exchange rates (decline of the cedi), government neglect, failing businesses, unemployment, incompetence, and poor oversight.
On corruption, the group cited the total accumulation of $27billion in loans that translates to about 60% debt to GDP ratio with little to show for and the creation of shady schemes such as GYEEDA, SUBAH, FORTIZ etc to siphon money to cronies.
On exchange rates, they pointed out the continuous depreciation of the cedi; 30% decline year-to-date of the cedi to the dollar, adding that government’s measures have worsened the situation.
They also mentioned skyrocketing inflation, for which cement is now sold at GHC35, from GHC25 just last month, which indicates ‘a whopping increase of 40% in price.’
GABG said it is negligence on the part of government to have refusedl to pay statutory funds owed contractors, service providers, GETFund, Road Fund, NHIS Fund, and DACF, but government continues to pay dubious judgment debts and award inflated contracts.
They also observed that the general decline of the economy, erratic energy and water supply, rising utility bills with no corresponding efficient services, plus unfriendly and unwarranted business taxes are killing businesses in Ghana.
‘Unemployment is at a record high with no real government plan to create jobs. Our future is gradually becoming hopeless,’ the group said, adding that the recent Black Stars World Cup disaster was due in part to government incompetence and recklessness.
They also have issues with Parliament, describing it as a ‘rubber stamp legislature’, which has rendered the other arms of governance useless.
The group is therefore calling for immediate reversal of all the new foreign exchange rules from the Bank of Ghana, which has worsened the exchange rate issue.
‘Government needs to stop borrowing and focus on cancelling or plugging holes in non-working money-sapping schemes,’ they proposed.
The group also proposed immediate passage of the Right to Information Bill and Fiscal Responsibility Act, as well as the immediate payment of all statutory funds and moneys owed contractors.
GABG wants independent anti-corruption bodies such as CHRAJ, and EOCO to be given the powers of prosecution to deal decisively with corruption, and they also want the Attorney General office to be separated from the Justice Ministry to promote the independence of the Attorney General.
‘We are by this petition demanding simple but practical and accountable governance from our leaders. We hope by adding our voice, the government will appreciate the seriousness of the concerns and take immediate steps to address them,’ they said.
Meanwhile, information reaching Adom News indicates Ghanaians in other parts of the world, particularly the UK are planning similar protest events.
Flash back: OccupytheFlagstaffHouse protest march in Ghana
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