TENS of thousands of people poured onto the streets of Kumasi yesterday for the latest “Dumsor” demonstration to urge President John Mahama to either step up action to end the ongoing power crisis in the country or step down for a more visionary, competent person to assume the mantle of leadership.
Holding placards with anti-government inscriptions, the demonstrators in red and black attires – the symbol of lamentation – moved slowly through the principal streets of the Ashanti Regional capital, and called for the “end of dumsor” in the latest sign of mounting public anger.
The protest march, which was organised by a pro-opposition group, Movement for Change (MFC), was deemed to be the biggest ever in Ghana, with members demanding swift action to tackle the unsteady electricity supply that has affected businesses, particularly those in the small-scale sector.
Freddie Blay, Rashid Bawa with other demonstrators
The Dumsor demonstration started in the latter part of last year, attracted 15,000 supporters in Kumasi and went on to record more numbers in Accra.
While continually met with counter-demonstrations and press conferences from pro-government elements, the Dumsor demonstrations surged in popularity, shocking members of the governing party.
Yesterday’s march began around 7:30 am at State Boys and went through the principal streets of Kumasi.
The size of the turnout forced organisers to divide the demonstrators into five groups with each either led by national officers or Members of Parliament (MPs) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who joined the demonstration.
The protesters clogged major roads stalling traffic before bringing the city to a standstill, as they marched with placards with some of the inscriptions expressing their frustration and anger over the unsteady electricity supply in the country amidst dwindling economic opportunities for the citizenry.
“We just want to express our frustration with the NDC government which has woefully failed to deliver a core service like electricity to the citizenry,” said a 90-year-old woman protester, Maame Abena Adwubi of Bekwai-Abodom.
According to her, if they did not speak out, nothing would change.
“From Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, we are witnessing an unprecedented popular mobilisation against the erratic power supply in the country, and will only end when the energy crisis is resolved,” said the Minority Leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu.
He told DAILY GUIDE that the huge numbers underscored the anger of the people resulting from the sufferings being endured under the present administration.
‘The people are now feeling the pinch of the energy crisis; aside the economic meltdown with high inflation, currency depreciation, and the falling standard of living,’ Hon Kyei Mensah Bonsu submitted.
For the Member of Parliament for Subin, Isaac Osei, artisans and people working in the small-scale sector had been made worse off by the power crisis and demanded an immediate solution from government.
His counterpart at Tafo-Pankrono, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, spoke about the stress and the impact of the unstable electricity, and indicated that people could not even plan because of improper programming of the supply of power.
According to him, the historic turnout for the Dumsor demonstration reflected the ‘level of public anger surrounding the power crisis.’
‘The signal is clear. People are angry, livid because they have not been treated fairly. This government has failed them,’ he told DAILY GUIDE .
The 2016 running mate of the NPP, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who addressed the crowd, said the current energy situation had detonated all the accumulated pain of millions of Ghanaians across the country.
A demonstrator displaying a placard
According to him, President John Mahama’s government had had the greatest resources ever since independence, but could not manage these to the benefit of the citizenry.
He called on the people to reject the NDC government and replace it with the NPP, which he said, had the men of integrity and honesty to govern for the benefit of all and sundry.
Dr Bawumia said the current energy crisis was far from being a generation problem as being touted, instead of poor management and lack of good governance, asserting that the solution lay in change of government.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi
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