And Accra Stood Still!

The past Wednesday witnessed arguably the mother of all demonstrations in Ghana’s history led by the presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), bringing the nation’s capital under huge vehicular traffic.

It was put together by the NPP against the energy crisis that has saddled the nation for the past three years with no end in sight amidst failed promises from government.

The demonstration which was dubbed: ‘Won Gbo’ (we are dying) saw many in attendance with both local and international media describing it as the biggest ever in the sub-region.

An attempt by the police to use the courts to pull a stopper on the demonstration a day before the event failed to yield since the court declined its wishes.

As early as 6:00am, people had started arriving at the famous Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area amidst drumming and dancing in the black and red attires, mostly ‘dumsor’ branded T-shirts with red arm and neck bands to match.

By 10:00am, the train had started moving from the usual Obra Spot through Adabraka to the central business district (Makola, Rawlings  Park), the ministries area and finally ended at the famous Hearts Park at the Accra Arts Centre where  Nana Akufo-Addo addressed the packed crowd.

It brought together people from various parts of the country, including the young and the old, rich and poor, former ministers of state, NPP MPs, traders and the ordinary man on the street who are all affected by the power crisis.

People carried with them placards and electrical appliances with various inscriptions to drive home their frustrations.

Those that seemed to have caught the attention of most people was a placard wielded by a frail-looking old woman with the inscription ‘wow, what a John!’ and an inscription on a fridge which read ‘kwasea bi nti, me fridge as3ee’ in the local Akan language which translates to ‘because of one fool, my fridge is faulty’.

High point
The highest point of the demonstration was the near confusion which erupted at the Farisco traffic light where the police wanted the protesters to turn to the left and head for the TUC area.

The protesters, however, resisted and broke through a barricade and a human wall forced by the police to prevent them and headed straight towards the central business district where traders deserted their wares and joined the demonstration amidst cheers.

The demonstration has since generated a huge controversy in the country, especially among leading members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), setting the party against itself with two camps at play, battling it out the importance or otherwise of the event.

Confusion in gov’t
It involves the hard-line President Mahama’s supporters, including National Organiser of the NDC, Kofi Adams, his colleague Deputy Communications Director of the party, Fred Agbenyo, and Communications Specialist at the Presidency, Sam George  Nettey, who believe the event was organised by the NPP to score political points instead of giving alternative solutions and those in the camp of party General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who say the government must indeed pay heed to the concerns of Ghanaians and find ways to resolve since the crisis affects all.

koku Anyidoho and Kofi Adams
Those include former presidential spokesperson, Koku Anyidoho, who is currently one of the two deputy general secretaries of the NDC and Vice Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.

Instead of sitting down responding to criticisms against government, they stressed the need for government to up their game before things get out of hand, resulting in a huge fight among the two factions.

Presidential gaffe
While the NDC held the press conference to describe the demonstration as needless, President Mahama has disclosed that it would rather encourage him to find a lasting solution to the crisis, singing from different hymn books.

Some have, therefore, stressed the need for more of such demonstrations to get the president to fix the problem if he claims the demonstration would encourage him to find a solution.

What seems to also amaze many, however, is a comment by the president to the effect that the increase of mobile phone and television usage in the country has partly contributed to the dumsor-dumsor.

He has since come under attacks from various quarters.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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