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15.06.2005 Feature Article

Crookery, Hypocrisy & Lies: Attributes of “Wahala” Demonstrations Organizers

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Over the past two months Ghanaians have been subjected to some nuisance, public demonstrations being organized by a group of thugs whose declared aim and avowed mission is to cause enough confusion in the country which will provide them with the opportunity to try some of their old tricks: about the thing that the leaders of this group have always done and succeeded: the staging of coup d'etats to topple governments. This group started their first disturbance in early April when the Kufour government announced increases in the prices of petroleum products. These people, notably Kwesi Pratt, Obed Asamoah, Attah Mills (poor guy), and Jerry Rawlings, suddenly realized that they have the interest and welfare of the people of Ghana at heart. They decided that they were going to go on public demonstrations to draw the attention of the Kufour government to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian. They called on the government to call off the announced increase in the prices of petroleum products.

The first demonstration that took place in Accra was a sorry sight. It attracted only about four hundred people, some of them recruited that morning with few bottles of Akpeteshie and lunch allowances of Five Thousand Cedis each as inducements. Not wanting to take any chances with the peace, law and order, the police put about two thousand police officers on the street to guide the demonstrators with a ratio of four officers to one demonstrator. It was a very sorry sight to see Jerry Rawlings, former President of the Republic of Ghana in a public demonstration sweating profusely with a towel on his shoulders. They became a laughing stock to onlookers.

Disappointed with the public response to their evil machinations, Rawlings and his “Wahala” apostles then vowed that they will go on demonstrations ad infinitum until the government withdraws the increase in the price of petroleum products. Since the capital city of Accra did not work in their favor Rawlings decided to take personal charge of organizing these disruptions. They put a second show in Accra at which Rawlings mounted the stage and accused President Kufour of corruption and stealing comparing him to a notorious armed robber. Many Ghanaians were enraged though not surprised at the madness displayed by Jerry Rawlings. The Christian Councils of Ghana asked Rawlings to apologize to the President. He refused and irresponsible politicians like Opposition Leader Alban Bagbin jumped to Rawlings defense.

Since then, Rawlings and his “Wahala” apostles have tried their confusion in Kumasi, the stronghold of the ruling NPP. They have vowed to cause enough confusion to force the government to withdraw the petroleum price increases. When Rawlings vows that he will cause “confusion” we all know what it means. But he is getting very frustrated because he realizes that he cannot get far with his usual tricks.

In any normal democratic system, every citizen has the right to go on public demonstration on any issue that they believe is important to them. But the people leading the “Wahala” demonstrations in Ghana have absolutely no credibility to accuse the government of bringing hardships to the people. These were the people who were in power for twenty solid years and in the course of their reign brutalized and cowed citizens into submission with constant threats of death or disappearance if any one dared to challenge them. In their time, they sent out soldiers and paid hooligans to shoot down and kill peaceful demonstrators. The present Ghanaian government has done no such thing. It has allowed Rawlings and his bunch of hooligans to demonstrate without harassment using state police officers to provide them with protection. If these people leading the “Wahala” demonstrations have any conscience and any decency left in them, they would have thought twice before embarking on such useless provocative exercises. Let's look at some of them:

Rawlings shot and bullied his way to power in Ghana in 1979 and 1981 and we all knew his stature and may be his bank accounts at the time based on his own pronouncements. Today the guy lives comfortably. Recently he imported a fleet of bullet-proof cars and speedboats. When he was challenged as to the source of the money that purchased all these expensive stuff he vowed that we may have to cut off his head before he discloses the source. It was under this man's administration that so many Ghanaians lost their lives, people were shot openly in the streets and many run out of the country into exile. And he has the nerve to accuse the Kufour government of corruption and bringing hardships to the people?

His Second In Command Obed Asamoah, his former Foreign Minister was found with over 300 Million Cedis and an unspecified amount of foreign currency tucked under his bed way back in 1997. He provided no proper explanation as to the source of the money. He continued to hold his office. Today, this crook has the nerve to accuse the Kufour government of corruption and goes on public demonstration to support his stand. Next is Kwesi Pratt, cited by Ghana's Auditor General for evading income and business taxes to the tune of 75 million Cedis. He too has the nerve to accuse the government of corruption and bringing hardship to the people.

During the “Wahala” demonstrations in Accra, Rawlings and his top lieutenants were seen driving posh four-wheel drives: Durangos and Jaguars besides the demonstrators. And they want the government to reduce petrol prizes to subsidize their posh life-styles. Canada is an oil producing country but petrol costs around $4.50 cents a Gallon, less than what is currently being sold in Ghana, a non-oil producing country. Britain produces oil but super petrol cost but about four pounds a gallon, twice the price of a gallon of petrol in Ghana.

The Ghana government needs to stand firm on this issue. Until Ghana produces enough oil on its own to feed itself, we will continue to be at the mercy of the fluctuating prices of crude oil on the world oil market. The government cannot take the blame for a problem it didn't create. Kufour needs to stand firm. He should never succumb to the machinations of these bunch of crooks led by Jerry Rawlings whose avowed aim is to discredit and bring down the government. Their actions are shrouded in lies, crookery and outright hypocrisy!!! Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

Michael Baffoe
Michael Baffoe, © 2005

The author has 7 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: MichaelBaffoe

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