President John Dramani Mahama has expressed tacit fears about the possibility of the Arab Spring, which caused the removal of many Heads of States in North Africa, occurring in Ghana if government does not improve on the conditions of living of the suffering masses.
He expressed the fear on his own Facebook page. According to President Mahama, “If the Arab Spring has taught us anything, it is that, it is no longer acceptable to be ambivalent about the needs of the poor and marginalized in our societies – especially in our expanding and unequal cities.”
“In the next two decades, even cities with limited resources shall experience explosions of urban growth. This means that implementing innovative concepts of urban development corridors and mega-urban regions is no longer a question of “if”, but when.”
The fear of the Preside came as a surprise to many of his Facebook fans who expressed shock at his post, especially coming only days after the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party had stated that an Arab spring could hit Ghana, considering the hardship imposed on the masses by the Mahama government.
Sampling the views of Ghanaians about President Mahama’s statements, a majority were not surprised that the president himself had realized the danger ahead of the country if serious measures were not put in place to relieve the masses of their current suffering.
“My brother, look at the hardships that we have been put through. Today, the cost of doing business has shot up because of the increase in the prices of petroleum products, utility tariffs and transport fares. Now we are being told that there’s a 17.5% VAT on banking services. How do we plan? We are certainly getting poorer,” a trader lamented.
“There’s extreme hardship and poverty in the country. We can certainly help President Mahama push for an Arab spring in Ghana, if he wants to leave Ghana now and enjoy the millions he has made as President in exile,” an angry truck pusher told the paper.
The Arab Spring was the revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on December 18, 2010.
By December 2013, rulers had been forced from power in Tunisia, Egypt (twice), Libya, and Yemen; civil uprisings had erupted in Bahrain and Syria; major protests had broken out in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Sudan; and minor protests had occurred in Mauritania, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Western Sahara, and the Palestinian territories.
Weapons and Tuareg fighters returning from the Libyan civil war stoked a simmering conflict in Mali which has been described as “fallout” from the Arab Spring in North Africa. The sectarian clashes in Lebanon were described as a spillover of violence from the Syrian uprising and hence the regional Arab Spring.
The protests have shared some techniques of civil resistance in sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches, and rallies, as well as the effective use of social media to organize, communicate, and raise awareness in the face of state attempts at repression and Internet censorship.
Many Arab Spring demonstrations have been met with violent responses from authorities, as well as from pro-government militias and counter-demonstrators. These attacks have been answered with violence from protestors in some cases. A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world has been Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam (“the people want to bring down the regime”).
Some observers have drawn comparisons between the Arab Spring movements and the Revolutions of 1989 (also known as the “Autumn of Nations”) that swept through Eastern Europe and the Second World, in terms of their scale and significance. Others, however, have pointed out that there are several key differences between the movements, such as the desired outcomes and the organizational role of Internet technology in the Arab revolutions.