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16.06.2005 General News

Wahala Marches On -CJA

By Palaver
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—Threaten possible court action against Police —Takoradi may be next stop

The Committee for Joint Action (CJA), organisers of the countrywide “Wahala” demonstrations have repeated their commitment to the marches until their objectives are achieved.

Describing “Wahala” as a “peaceful, lawful, non-sectarian, public-interest campaign open to all Ghanaians from every ethnic group, religion, profession and political persuasion who are interested in socio-economic justice, accountable government and sustainable national development, members of the CJA stressed that they would continue to demand more space for participation in the policy making and governance process.

At a Press Conference last Tuesday to review the Techiman “Wahala 5” March, a spokesperson for the CJA, Ms. Emelia Arthur, who is also the Deputy General Secretary of the Reform Party, described the demonstration as a great success.

Flanked by other CJA members such as Messrs. Kwesi Pratt (CPP), Ato Ahwoi (NDC), Bernard Mornah (PNC), Grandfada Amametople (Socialist Forum), Dr. David Pessey (NRP), Ms. Mariama Sinare (NDC) Ms. Ama Benyiwa Doe (NDC) and other sympathisers and supporters, Ms. Emelia Arthur however dwelt on what she called the lessons learnt from Techiman and the previous “Wahala” Marches held in Accra (1 & 2), Wa and Ho (3) and Kumasi (4) and summarised them as follows:

· People are tired of the hero-worshipping of President Kufuor, the arrogance of his Government and the constant refrain of blaming the previous NDC Government. People are also tired of the bad mouthing of critics of the Government and want to see the promised Positive Change;

· Intimidation cannot stifle the exercise of free speech and free association, including the freedom to demonstrate;

· “Wahala' is having a major impact, as the Government is now compelled to acknowledge the movement as a political force which can no longer be ignored. This is typified by the collapse of the NPP strategy of judicious silence, the frantic resort to spin and disinformation as manifested by the Kofi Ghana-led invasion of the Techiman March, and the unsuccessful diversionary spin of the President announcing a so-called discovery of gas in commercial quantities when the Government found itself under siege;

· Another manifestation was the Majority Leader's admission in Parliament that the “Wahala' Marches are having adverse effect on the Government's external resource mobilisation efforts;

· “Wahala” has checkmated the Government's programme to increase fuel and utility prices for three months;

· President Kufuor promised to review the price of fuel discounts to industry last two weeks.

The CJA announced the next steps in their programme as consisting of public for a in Tema and Cape Coast on 16th and 17th June respectively, followed by a possible demonstration in Takoradi at a date to be announced soon.