General News of Tuesday, 17 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwabena Agyei Agyapong says all is set for Wednesday’s “Wongbo” demonstration to protest the government’s handling of the energy crisis.
He said the party expects a huge turnout of party faithful and members of other political parties including the National Democratic Party (NDP), the People’s National Convention, the Convention People’s Party as well as Civil Society Organisations.
According to the NPP General Secretary who spoke in an exclusive interview with Graphiconline, Wednesday’s demonstration is “a peaceful protest” and cautioned troublemakers to stay away.
“We have agreed the routes with the police as we normally do. We informed them; they wrote to us to approve it; and we are asking our party faithful to come from all parts and come and assemble at Circle (Kwame Nkrumah Circle) and then we move,” he said.
Kwabena Agyapong explained that while the party expects a huge turnout, its desire really as a responsible opposition, is to convey the frustrations of the people to the government for superintending the energy challenge since 2011.
“First and foremost we are a responsible opposition and we are a serious stakeholder in the political arrangement in the country. It is our duty to convey the frustrations of the people to the Government of Ghana. This problem started in 2011, the government has not shown any seriousness in dealing with it by setting out the short-term programme or medium-term programme that is financially detailed and feasible with timelines.
They keep making promises and giving us assurances and all that have failed and we want them to take us seriously, this is a serious matter,” he explained.
Further justifying the call for Ghanaians of all walks of life to join in the demonstration, the NPP General Secretary said the badly managed national energy crisis has impacted negatively on all aspects of national life “especially in the health sector where life has been at risk, lives have been lost, laboratories are not working, blood banks are going bad, it is a serious matter and we believe that the president should show more sensitivity. I mean their attitude has been a clear case of insensitive government, uncaring government who are incapable of handling this national crisis.”
He said so widespread have been the effects of the energy crisis, which he insists has become a national crisis rather than the ‘challenge’ government spokespersons choose to call it, that so many businesses have been thrown out of business.
“Of course everybody knows that this situation has affected every aspect of our socio-economic lives negatively. Right from major industries who are having to shut down and lay off workers, to small and medium scale and then even artisanal workers – sprayers, fitters, vulcanizers, barbers, seamstresses, beauticians – they are all having a drastic drop in production as a result of this energy situation, the frequent power outages which has now reached unbearable proportion, it is now a national crisis, it cannot be deemed to be a challenge, it’s a national crisis and we are all dissatisfied with the response of the government to this national crisis.
They have not shown enough seriousness in tackling it and that’s why we think it is time for everyone to show their frustrations openly and perhaps it will jolt them into taking meaningful actions.”
To be joined by key party leaders including national chairman Paul Afoko, the general secretary himself, the 2016 presidential candidate Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and his running mate, Dr. Mahamud Bawumia, the demonstrators will mass up at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and march through the streets before ending up at the ‘Hearts Park’ opposite the National Lotteries.
They will then be addressed by party leaders before dispersing to their various bases. Kwabena Agyapong said no petition will be presented after the addresses.