The Occupy-Flagstaff-House Petition …

A group calling itself “The Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG)” apparently felt concerned enough to sacrifice their Republic Day holiday to protest on the streets of Accra and get beaten by the rains, to publish their grievance-filled petition at the seat of government.

And did they have grievances? It can be said to be a mile-long! Please check out the list:
* Erratic supply of electricity nationwide;
* Unreliable supply of potable water across the country;
* Ever-depreciating value of the cedi;
* Constant increases in taxes;
* Inefficient revenue collection;
* Very poor road network;
* Constant increases in utility prices;
* Frequent increases in the prices of petroleum products;
* Government’s inability to make statutory payments timeously to schools, health facilities and other state institutions;
* Government’s inability to address labour issues on a timely basis;
* Government’s inability exhibit decisive leadership in the fight against corruption;
* Government’s inability to kick out incompetent and non-performing appointees;
* The over-politicisation of socio-economic issues along partisan lines;
* Government’s inability to create job opportunities for the youth and fresh graduates;
* Government’s inability to effectively regulate small scale mining (galamsey) activities;
* Improper administrative decisions taken by some government officials;
* Lack of proper communicative skills on the part of some government officials;
* The non-passage of the Freedom to Information Bill;
* The non-implementation of the Senchi Consensus; and
* Government’s inability to tackle perennial flooding in the capital city and elsewhere in Ghana.

Wow! Twenty solid grievances. Quite some thought must have gone into their enumeration. The Chronicle commends the leaders and members of CGRG, and wishes more grease to their elbows. May they continue to elucidate issues for those of us Ghanaians who often gloss over things! The Chronicle is disappointed though, that the same thoughtfulness may not have gone into the coining of the title of the demonstration – Occupy Flagstaff House.

In our considered opinion “Occupy Flagstaff House” can be interpreted to be subversive. Given their background, the leaders and members of CGRG know that under a democratic dispensation, the Flagstaff House can only be occupied by the winner of a presidential election. There is an occupant there now, and the next presidential election is two years away. So who is CGRG ordering to occupy the Flagstaff House prematurely? When a group advertises itself as “a non-partisan civil society group”, it owes a duty to itself and the entire nation to be careful in its choice of words.

In this connection, The Chronicle will urge all Ghanaians to read the sermon that the General Secretary of the Christian Association of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, delivered at Kanda last weekend, where he asked Ghanaians to “pursue the change they yearn for without violence or any act that has the tendency to destroy” lives and properties. According to him, the quest for change should be done on the principle of dialogue, consensus building, and the very Constitution which governs us, as either an institution or a people.

“Most of us want to see change and transformation in our country, churches, marriages, oragnisations, and communities. In pursuing these changes, especially when things are not going the way we expect, we must do it peacefully, with the interest of the bigger picture or body at heart,” he emphasised. Later, in the evening of Republic Day, in his address to senior citizens, President John Dramani Mahama gave the assurance that he shared in the disappointment and frustration of Ghanaians as a result of the challenges facing the economy. Maybe, may be not.

But, The Chronicle has a question for him: When will whatever measures he is taking to restore the economy bear fruits favourable to the suffering masses?

Please, give us a timeline!