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23.03.2005 General News

‘Go and get JJ at Ridge’ -CJA

By Chronicle

The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) has asked the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, the media, and individuals who have any issue against the former president, Flt Lit Jerry John Rawlings, to go to his Ridge residence and sort it out with him and leave the CJA to fight for the masses of Ghanaians, who are dying as a result of the current wicked policies of the government.

A member of the CJA, Miss Emelia Arthur, said this in response to a question as to what the CJA could do to prevent the former president from further insulting the current President Mr. J.A. Kufuor., at their announced WAHALA III demonstration, scheduled for Wa, in the Upper West Region on March 31st.

According to her, “If anybody, including the NPP government, has any issue against the former president, Mr. Rawlings lives at the Ridge Residential Area, go there and sort out with him and leave the CJA alone. After all, Rawlings is not a member of the CJA!” Mr. Rawlings, during the 'WAHALA II' demonstration last thursday, descended on President Kufuor, likening him to Ataa Ayi (the notorious armed robber), 'Abonsam' (devil), kronfour (thief), after he had said he did not want to say anything to detract the focus of the demonstration, but would share with the crowd the song he had learnt from them along the route. Although the demonstration was believed to have been more successful, compared to 'WAHALA I', discussions that have followed since had focused on those utterances of the former President, thereby shifting the focus from the objective of the organisers.

At the press conference yesterday, the CJA noted that the WAHALA campaign was gathering momentum, with Ghanaians now experiencing the full impact of the February 18th increases in the prices of petroleum products.

Dr. Pessey who was the spokesman of the day, said, “rather than responding to the obviously popular demands for a review of the fuel pricing policies, the President's men persist in their diversionary tactics of threats, personal attacks, and arrogant assertions of power to silence dissent.”

He continued that the NPP propagandists have continuously lied, frightened and confused the Ghanaian public with the 'spot price of crude oil'.

Dr. Pessey disclosed that the government, having used the Exploration Levy, a tax component of the petroleum price to pay for its audit services, lied to the entire population that they do not have discretion regarding its use.

The CJA provided a document which had been signed by the Deputy Finance Minister Dr. A. Akoto Osei, which instructed the Controller and Accountant-General, to release an amount of ¢975,828,240 from the Exploration Levy account, to pay for the management and financial audit of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). According to him, the claim therefore that, the “road fund, exploration and BOST levies included in the petroleum price build up are 'specific' and government has no discretion regarding their use…. is dishonesty at its height.”

Dr. Pessey continued that “after two successful demonstrations, the NPP is still shamefully claiming somehow that the protest is part of some elaborate coup plot! What lie will they tell next?” he asked.

He asserted that the NPP, having realized the growing public discontent against their government has hurriedly put together their so-called “Peoples Assembly to give the President the final chance to rally the troops to demobilize the campaign and recover some credibility.”

Dr. Pessey alleged that there was crisis in the NPP government; because they were unable to justify their position on the fuel price increase and as a result, are afraid to respond to the popular demand to reduce that crazy increase.

He maintained, “they fear that citizens would now move to demonstrate their rejection of policies that needlessly increase the cost to the poor, of water, electricity, education and health.”

Dr. Pessey disclosed further that as a result of the official arrogance of the NPP government, the CJA was announcing an immediate up-scaling of the WAHALA demonstration, which would move to the regions.

He revealed that civil society groups all over the country have contacted them to integrate their own planned protest actions into one national WAHALA demonstration.

According to Dr. Pessey, “the WAHALA campaign was not about the fuel price increases alone, rather it embraces all the general economic hardships that are being perpetrated on Ghanaians by the killer and wicked policies of the NPP government.”

He said the WAHALA campaign therefore opposed the lazy, reckless and unaccountable governance and demand that the people who are paid to manage the affairs of the country put the interest of the people before their own.

They re-affirmed their commitment to keep demonstrating until all their concerns and demands, as expressed, are fully addressed by the NPP government.

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