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28.06.2005 General News

CJA Has Lost Focus - Dan Lartey

Ghanaian Chronicle

The leader of Ghana Consolidated Popular Party (GCPP) and the former Chairman of the Grand Coalition Party, Mr Dan Lartey, has indicated that the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), organizers of the serial Wahala Demonstrations has lost focus, so the Wahala was useless.

He said the idea behind the Wahala Demonstrations was about hardships but currently, the CJA had diverted their intentions to insults and increase in fuel prices.

"They were saying that Ghanaians were complaining of hardships but the Wahala did not cover hardships; the Wahala was on petroleum increase." he added.

He fumed that the Wahala demonstrations were ineffective since Ghanaians were aware that the government, before the general elections, would increase fuel prices, yet they won the elections, which meant Ghanaians were in support of the increase.

Speaking in an interview with The Chronicle, Mr. Lartey said, " In 2004, during the election campaigns, President Kufuor told the country that the price of fuel would be increased in 2005, and the people went ahead to vote him to office, and he went by his word and increased it so why should Wahala say he should reduce it?"

He said it was very wrong on the part of CJA to issue a threat to the government that if it failed within seven days to reconsider its decision on the fuel hike, they (CJA) would organize demonstrations.

He stressed that it was not the best for CJA to issue such a threat because President Kufuor's government was going by its manifesto to increase the price of fuel.

He advised the organizers of Wahala to change the theme for the Wahala since they were not making any impact.

He said what he expected from the CJA was that they should rather have cautioned the government to create more jobs for Ghanaians to be able to pay the increase in fuel prices.

He added that if the government failed to create the jobs for the people to enable them pay for the fuel prices, then people had the right to demonstrations and sit-down strikes to give them good governance.

"I do not support Wahala for the reason that petroleum price has been increased and so government should reduce it. NPP told the people of this country that they were going to increase the price of fuel in 2005 when they come to office, so what is their problem?" he emphasized.

Mr. Lartey said ever since the New Patriotic Party government announced the fuel increase, his stand had been that the government should increase the living wage of workers, not the minimum wage.

He explained that if the living wage was increased, workers would be in the position to work and pay the fuel price hike.

He said the increase in the minimum wage was not realistic since it was not a living wage for Ghanaians.

"The government must increase the living salary, I am talking about the cost of living, the totality, so that people would be able to work and pay for the fuel prices but you cannot come and tell me that because I said they should increase salaries, you are going to increase minimum wage.

"Minimum wage is not living salaries increase, it is the amount of money below which you cannot pay a casual labourer," Mr. Lartey reiterated.