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10.06.2005 General News

NPP Looting Ghana - Techiman "Wahalians"


Palaver-- Last Tuesday was a scene to behold at Techiman as tens of thousands of deceived and disappointed citizens of the Brong Ahafo Region made a date with the CJA-organised “Wahala 5” demonstration.

NPP Counter-Strategy

Easily one of the best organised in the series of “Wahala” demonstrations, if not the best, the Techiman “Wahala 5” benefited immensely from a very ill conceived and poorly executed NPP counter-strategy of first attempting to intimidate, then misinforming and dis-informing and then attempting to violently disrupt the demonstration.

In the end, these were what worked in favour of the demonstration as it gave free publicity to the event and incensed the people to defy the NPP propagandists as if to assert their independence and their freedom of thought and association.

CJA activist detained

The badly-bungled counter-strategy started on Sunday night when one of the CJA focal organisers of the “Wahala 5” demonstration, one Sulemana Owusu, was arrested by the police and detained overnight after an altercation he had with Uncle Ato, one of more than ten Accra-based “serial callers” who had been “bussed” to Techiman for the disinformation and misinformation campaign.

The national CJA team led by Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan managed to secure his release the next morning after very friendly but intensive discussions with an obviously embarrassed District Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Gyempe, who had clearly acted on “instructions from above” which he knew were wrong, in the presence of Detective Chief Inspector Asiedu and Sergeant Charles Antwi, but not before the news of his detention had filtered throughout the Techiman district and a crowd had gathered to demand his release..

Sulemana Owusu was instantly dubbed “Techiman Wahala Mandela” as soon as he was released and besmeared with talcum powder to signal victory over the forces of evil.

The broadcast of Mr. Owusu's arrest and detention by the Accra-based FM stations who had been alerted to the fact, also had the added effect of “internationalising” the incident, as foreign radio stations made contact with the CJA organisers for details of this latest of the human rights abuses of the NPP Government.

Kofi Jumah and his “Gang”

On the eve of the demonstration, on Monday, NPP Government officials descended heavily on the Techiman town. Led by the NPP's newly-found Rambo-type “executioner', Maxwell “Kofi Ghana” Jumah, NPP MP for Asokwa constituency and immediate past Metropolitan Chief Executive for Kumasi, the team of about 25 Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs and DCEs laid siege to the FM stations in the Brong Ahafo Region and especially the two in Techiman, Asta FM and Classic FM – haranguing the people and urging them to boycott the demonstration the next day.

At Asta FM, there was a standoff between the CJA team from Accra and the NPP thugs and serial callers led by a local unemployment nuisance, Kwame Appiah and numbering 9 in all, who had laid siege to the station and were waiting to “lynch” Baba Jamal, NDC Deputy General Secretary and CJA member who was doing a programme in the studio.

Finding themselves out-numbered, the gang fled the scene in a Toyota Landcruiser No. UW349U, since traced to the outfit of Francis Poku, the intelligence capo.

The Crowds Gather

The NPP haranguing of the residents of Techiman continued early Tuesday, the “Wahala 5” demonstration day, with exhortations by Kofi Jumah and his cohorts on Classic FM to ignore the “Wahala” March and go to their farms.

Those exhortations rather acted as the spark o the flames of an already ignited people and by 7.00 a.m, the crowd had already started gathering at the starting point at the Zongo L/A Park.

“Wahala 5” Begins

At exactly 10.30 a.m, the demonstrators, at this time numbering about 5,000, started off from the Zongo L/A Park to the Zongo roundabout, through to Techiman main roundabout, and a turn to the right to Sunyani Road, and a U-turn at Sunyani station junction, back to Techiman main roundabout, to Kumasi road, and a turn to the left on Bamiri road, through to Adom Junction across the Nkoranza road to Ahmadiyya road, and back to Zongo L/A Park.

It was the longest of all the “Wahala” Marches so far both in terms of distance and time, and largest in terms of attendance.

There was excitement when the demonstrators got in front of Classic FM, identified by the locals as a “hostile” (to the “Wahala” demonstration station, when Kofi Jumah and his gang of NPP invaders and serial callers were spotted hidden in the premises of the station and monitoring the demonstration. The timely intervention of the police however averted any nasty incident.

The Placards

What was unique about the Techiman “Wahala 5” was the inventiveness of the placards that the marchers carried. Topped by the one reading “NPP Looting Ghana”, they included such picturesque ones as:

“Kufuor nie, Twins nie;

Petrol ¢6,000 is costive but ¢30,000 is cheap;

Atta Papa, Go back and answer your crime;

Electrical Bills we can't pay”.

The Songs

Meanwhile, the songs were being composed by the minute, mostly by the women. One which particularly caught the attention of this reporter, went like this:

“Kufuor no no;

Wagye waa, waa;

Wagye dollar;

Wakoto Hotel”

(Meaning, “That's Kufuor, He has taken it waa, waa, He's taken dollars, He's gone and bought a Hotel”).

Another was:

“Kufuor wo he;

Oreko akope adwuma aba;

Ode ntafoo”

(Meaning, “Where is Kufuor? He's going to bring jobs, He's gone and brought twins”).

Yet a third was:

“Kufuor ee, Kufuor ee;

Yenfa ye sika ma wo

Na fa koto Hotel (3 times);

Adee kye a yede yen ano apem dan”

(Meaning, “Kufuor, we should give our money to you so that you can go and buy a Hotel, so that the next day we can go and hit our mouths against a house” – sung to the tune of “Obaa yi dee, ope sradenam”).

The demonstration ended at about 2.00 p.m, lasting about three and a half hours in all.

The Addresses

The end-point rally at the Zongo L/A Park was addressed by Mumuni Saaka Adam, the CJA LOC (Local Organising Committee) Convenor for Techiman, Ms. Ama Benyiwa Doe, Bede Ziedeng, Alhaji Ahmed Ramadan and several other CJA members.

The speakers all stressed the need for the “Wahala” agenda to continue until the NPP Government did something about the hardships, a point that gained even more significance when in the course of the March, it was announced that President Kufuor had announced that his Government was considering reducing the prices of petroleum prices.

NDC National Organiser Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo delivered special messages from former President Rawlings who was out of the country in Mali on official assignment and NDC Presidential candidate Professor John Evans Atta-Mills who was indisposed, both being veteran “Wahala” marchers.

The two expressed solidarity with the demonstrators and regretted their inability to be with them on the demonstration but insisting that they were with the demonstrators in spirit.

Both the demonstration and the rally finally ended at about 3.30 p.m.