Thousands of Ghanaian protestors yesterday besieged the streets of Accra, in a march to register their displeasure against the President John Agyekum Kufuor-led administration over the levels of recent fuel price increases in the country.
The demonstrators who were without any party paraphernalia, carried placards with various inscriptions indicating that the government had imposed hardship on the nation and encouraged them to welcome poverty as their companion.
The march, which kicked off from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was organized by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), which comprises the leadership of various minority political parties and other activists. The parties included the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Convention People's Party (CPP), National Reform Party (NRP), EGLE Party, and the People's National Convention (PNC).
Some of the inscriptions carried by the demonstrators included: "We have all become paupers," "Kufuor don't make poverty as our companion," "From NPP zero tolerance to fuel corruption"; "Yabre! Petrol hikes suffocating us"; "Say no to Kufuor's Golden Age of corruption"; and "Transport, fees 'wahala'."
Others were, "Say no to Kufuor's Tsunami," "Where are the so-called men of God?" "NPP government is a disgrace to Ghana," "School fees wahala," "We want Ya-Na to be buried," "Kufuor remember no peace in Dagbon," "Toilet fees wahala," "K4 remember your promises," and many others.
The Former President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, the immediate past flagbearer of the NDC, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, vice chairman of the PNC, Mr. Danny Ofori-Atta, Chairman of the Council of Elders of the EGLE party, Mrs. Araba Bentsi-Enchil, a vice chairperson of the CPP, Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah, the national chairman of the NDC, Mr. Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, the national organizer of the NDC and a host of others, including the vociferous CPP member, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr. took turns to address the demonstrators before the march took off.
The police provided adequate security and the event passed off peacefully, without any incidents.
The protestors presented a petition to the Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Ebenezer Begyina Sekyi-Hughes.
Presenting the petition to the Speaker, the spokesperson for the CJA, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan stated that the NPP government is insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians, adding that the fuel price increases had increased the rising cost of living, and also imposed severe economic hardships.
Accusing the NPP government of demonstrating political arrogance, the CJA declared that the recent increase in prices of petroleum products, is a gross manifestation of the insensitivity to the already overburdened people of Ghana.
According to him, Ghanaians are dissatisfied with the growing subservience of the NPP government to the prescriptions and conditions of the IMF and the World Bank, to the detriment of Ghanaians.
Alhaji Ramadan stressed that the NPP government cannot continue to keep piling taxes on Ghanaians when the same government refuses to curb its overblown expenditure. He urged the NPP government to curb corruption and cut down on its ostentation and profligacy.
"We therefore hereby urge the Parliament of the Republic to demonstrate its independence and commitment to the people of Ghana by reviewing taxes, levies and margins which make up over 50% of the price of the petroleum products, in order to reduce hardships especially among the poor and the disadvantaged and consequently to reverse its approval of the price increases by March 7, 2005."
Urging the Parliament to ensure honesty and transparency in the management of the economy, Alhaji Ramadan prevailed upon Parliament not to approve economic measures that impose undue hardships on the people.
v The CJA indicated its preparedness to hold the NPP government to its fundamental obligation to make life bearable for the citizens of this country, and accused the NPP of undermining confidence in the country's democratic institutions through its policy of deception and lies.
"That the culture of impunity manifested by the arrogance of the government and its pursuit of selective justice is an affront to the good people of Ghana," Alhaji underscored.
Receiving the statement, the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Freddie Blay, on behalf the Speaker, commended the CJA for their commitment to true democracy and assured them that the petition would be given the necessary attention. He alluded to the fact that democracy is blooming to give chance to all and sundry to express their concerns about issues of governance.
The majority leader of Parliament, Hon. Felix Kwasi Owusu-Adjapong, and the minority leader, Hon. Alban Bagbin who joined the demonstrators, commended the professional manner in which the security had handled the event.
The former lamented about the inadequate resources of Parliament, which makes the House too small to accommodate a lot of people.
The petition was signed by Dr. David Pessey, Mr. Edward K Omane-Boamah, Mr. Kwesi Pratt (Jnr), Mr. Ofosu Ampofo, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan, Ben Bediako, Dr. Obed Yao Asamoah and Bernard Mornah.