Keep Demo Going – Former Army Captain

Budu Koomson 
Pressure is mounting on the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to fulfil several of the promises it made to Ghanaians in the midst of the worsening economic conditions in the country and a series of protests.

Latest to join the fray is a retired army officer, Captain Budu Koomson, who believes there is the need for Ghanaians to bring much more pressure to bear on the government to save the country from total collapse.

In an interview with Accra-based Oman FM, Captain Koomson, former Chief Operating Officer of the UT Group said, ‘We as a people need to be more assertive and demand action and retribution, should these operatives fall out of line.’

He underscored, ‘I am absolutely encouraged about the last two public demonstrations (the Boko Haram and 1st July’s hardship demos); it’s a beginning. I hope we gradually lose our fear and lethargy and demand of those we put in authority to live up to their billing or get out of the kitchen!’

On July 1 this year, a group of Ghanaians the government described as ‘middle class’ hit the streets in protest against the economic challenges inflicted on the people.

The group has promised ‘Red Friday,’ starting tomorrow, where aggrieved Ghanaians have been encouraged to don red attire until the present gloomy situation changes.

Aside that, Capt Koomson said, ‘I feel those in authority and managers of the country are pushing things to the extent that we could be approaching the tipping pointwhen the docile masses may finally wake up and find their voices.’ He expressed fear of increased crime of all shades among the masses, and ultimately civil disorder.

This, he said, was because, ‘All governmental indices seem to be a pipe dream. Planned deficit target of 8.5%, GDP growth of 8% and single digit inflation by the year’s end, seem to have been plucked out of a hat!’

The cedi, he said, was in a whirlwind while the Governor of the Bank of Ghana ‘seems to be bemused; the country went on a borrowing binge which all well-meaning and truthful Ghanaians warned against; but we were arrogantly told the government will borrow more.’

For him, the challenges facing Ghana as a country is not about the meagre resources it has, but how it is put to effective use, thereby expressing worry about the backlash people like him received when they warned about spending patterns of government officials and the impression it creates in people’s minds.

‘I was labelled an instigator and called all sorts of names and asked to produce evidence. You see, perception is not fact but a very potent and troublesome companion. Funnily enough, we ourselves contribute about 70% to what people think of us,’ he noted.

Reality Check
He noted, ‘Workers are being laid off; government itself is not employing. If it devotes money for youth work interventions, it almost deliberately puts in measures to abuse, loot and destroy the very laudable initiatives it launches (SADA, GYEEDA, SUBA, etc.etc.).’

In the face of all these challenges confronting the nation, the retired Army Officer said, ‘I am hard pressed to see any genuine effort on the part of this government to address joblessness.’

This, he said, was because, ‘The reality on the ground is at total variance to the aspirations of government,’ adding, ‘School feeding payments are in arrears; fertilizer subsidies are in arrears; scholarship payments to our students overseas are in arrears; payments to contractors and businesses are in arrears; money even to Parliament and the courts are in arrears.’

He observed, ‘The government owes so much on subsidies it is actually threatening the very existence of otherwise viable private businesses. Subsidies killed TOR; it is threatening VRA, ECG and Ghana Water In their bid to win political power, they do promise us the moon and in our sycophantic wisdom, we swallow and believe everything.’

Captain Koomson stressed, ‘As a people, we deserve what we get since those who manage our state and resources know that the average Ghanaian is too cowardly, too weak, too docile, too selfish, too subservient, a beggar for anything; won’t stand up for anything. We ourselves are so irresponsible and corrupt and will also cheat at the slightest opportunity.’

 By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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