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18.03.2005 General News

Wahala Siege: No "boom" from Mr Boom

By Chronicle
Wahala Siege: No
MAR 18, 2005 GENERAL NEWS

What the Placards say ... NPP- National Pickpockets Party ... Corruption made in NPP ... Ataa Ayi Nie, Kufuor Nie ... Petrol hikes suffocating us

THE FORMER President, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings, in recent times, best known for his “boom' speeches, yesterday shocked a huge crowd of protesters, when he refused to give them a dose . The march had been organised by the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) to protest the hike in fuel prices.

After the march with the protesters from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the Accra Hearts of Oak training grounds, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2004 election, was the first to address the crowd.

Alhaji Ramadan, First Vice Chairman of the People's National Convention (PNC), Mrs. Ama Benyiwa-Doe, NDC, Prof. Nii Noi Dowuona, General Secretary of the Convention People's Party (CPP), Emelia Arthur, Deputy General Secretary of the National Reform Party (NRP), then took turns to address the gathering.

Then came the turn of the former President. After cheering him on to the front stage with Adane Best's 'Soja Go Soja Come,' the expectant crowd held its breadth. Then somebody from amongst them offered Rawlings a stone, to symbolize his vindication, following his predictions of hardships to be experienced under a President Kufuor administration.

When he took the microphone, he simply said, “Today, I don't want to make any statement, so that the purpose of today's event would not be telecast. I have to listen to various speakers, and for that matter, I would like to keep quiet and listen to other speakers like Kwesi Pratt.

But on my way coming, I have learned a new song. Let me sing it for you.”

Flt. Lt. Rawlings, then chanted some of the slogans the demonstrators had marched along with, “Kufour Nie,” to which the crowd responded, “Ataa Ayi Nie,” then he went on “Abonsam nie,” the crowd responded, “Kufuor nie,” “Kronu Nie,” he shouted again, and again, the crowd responded “Kufuor nie,” “Ahokyere nie.”

For the next two or three minutes, the crowd cheered and danced in their responses to the chants. With the frenzy exuded by the crowd, JJ of all people surprised all by not being carried away as usual but ended it there to everybody's surprise.

A leading member of the CJA, Mr. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr., then took his turn to address the crowd following this historic speech of Jerry Rawlings.

Mr. Pratt, a member of the Socialist Forum, was received with a thunderous applause and Jimmy Cliff's 'Suffering in the Land.”

According to Pratt, the CJA would continue to demonstrate until the government listened to the cries of the people and reviewed the fuel prices.

He said the current price of petroleum products have not only imposed absolute hardships on the citizens, but also deepened the plight of the ordinary man.

Mr. Pratt, who is also the managing editor of 'The Insight' newspaper, stated that he would not be moved or perturbed by the actions or inactions of the Auditor-General's pressure on him to the effect that he owes tax.

“I would continue to fight for the plight of the people until the fuel prices are reduced. The Auditor General can go ahead and continue to do whatever he wants, but I will remain focused and ensure that the prices are reversed.”

Mr. Pratt indicated that it was unfortunate that government is imposing hardship on the nation and called on the citizens to bite the bullet while the ministers are eating chocolates and biscuits.

“How can you ask us to bite the bullet, while your ministers would be eating chocolates and biscuits and ride in big cars? Let's all bite the bullet if that is the situation,” he charged.

On his part, Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, accused the incumbent government of being undemocratic.

According to him, the government has resorted to using agents and institutions of state to intimidate individuals who fight for a legitimate cause.

Attacking the NPP further, he said, “They don't care about any Ghanaian apart from themselves and their extended families. That had motivated them to implement policies that would bring hardships on people.”

Professor Mills reminded the demonstrators that during the electioneering campaign, he warned them not to vote for the NPP, because they were liars, yet the people did not listen and he now stood vindicated.

Alhaji Ramadan also accused President Kufuor of not being a serious president, adding that while the people were suffering, he was at the Castle receiving beauty queens.

According to him, CJA has nothing against the government except that it has inflicted undue hardships on the people, saying, “All that we are asking is that the people were suffering due to the increase in the price petroleum products.”

He called on President Kufuor to listen to the cry of the ordinary people and reduce the price of the petroleum products to relieve what he termed, “The enormous burden that had been put on the Ghanaian since the fuel price increases.”

Prof. Nii Noi Dowuona, the General Secretary of the Convention People's Party (CPP), also accused the government of being arrogant and insensitive.

He said the government is consistently deceiving the entire population of Ghana through their propaganda machine.

The learned professor urged Mr. Kufuor to demonstrate through his lifestyle, to the whole nation that the good people of Ghana are suffering.

He however maintained that President Kufuor and his NPP government had embarked on a spending spree by buying expensive cars and building expensive mansions to the detriment of the ordinary man.

Mr. Kofi Wayo, a former member of the NPP, and now an avowed critic of the ruling party, on his part, said Jerry Rawlings was a dictator, but left office as one of the best democrats, adding that President Kufuor's democratic credentials have however become questionable.

Miss Emelia Arthur, on her part, said the 1992 Constitution makes it obligatory on government to work towards creating an egalitarian society.

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