Members and supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) poured onto the streets of Accra yesterday to demonstrate over what they described as government’s insensitivity to the cries of Ghanaians.
Dubbed “March for Justice”, the demonstration, which was organised by the Youth Wing of the NDC, brought together many supporters of the party from various areas in the Greater Accra Region.
By 6 a.m., the protestors started gathering at the Green Park, opposite the Accra Mall, which was the assembling ground for the exercise.
The security forces were also present in their numbers to provide security and ensure the walk was peaceful.
Some party bigwigs were present to charge the crowd and lead them in the walk.
Notable among them were the General Secretary of the party, Mr Johnson Asiedu-Nketia; the National Chairman, Mr Samuel Ofosu Ampofo; the Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Mr Sam George, and the MP for Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam, Dr Cassiel Ato Forson.
The demonstrators were dressed in red attire, with some carrying placards with inscriptions such as: “The youth are dying, give us jobs”, “Kum yen Preko”, “We are not safe” and “Akufo-Addo has failed the test”.
Before setting off from the starting point, Mr Asiedu-Nketia addressed the crowd, expressing his gratitude to them for heeding to the call to show up for the protest.
He said their presence was an indication that the country was in a mess and there was an urgent need for the government to up its game and address the challenges confronting the citizenry.
“The protectors of the country are getting a bad name because of the actions of President Akufo-Addo’s vigilantes. It has brought division between citizens and security personnel because those killing us now are clad in police and military uniforms. They have been given guns and when they kill civilians, it further deepens the division,” he said.
He proceeded to provide a solution: “As a democratic leader, President Akufo-Addo must restore the peace between civilians and security personnel. He should remove his vigilantes from the security agencies and bring back unity.”
The march commenced around 9 a.m. and the supporters walked through the Opeibea Traffic Intersection to the Aviation Social Centre and headed towards the Lands Commission Traffic Light.
They proceeded to the Christ the King Catholic Church and the Jubilee House to present a petition to the President, before continuing their walk through the AU Roundabout and finally ended at the Parliament House to present the second petition.
A Deputy Chief of Staff, Mr Emmanuel Adumuah-Bossman, received the petition on behalf of the President, while the Majority Leader, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu, and the Minority Leader, Mr Haruna Iddrisu, received it on behalf of the Speaker of Parliament.
The National Youth Organiser of the NDC, Mr George Opare Addo, who presented the petition, indicated that the government had not shown any commitment to the “life-threatening” challenges facing the country and was averse to calls asking for the country to be fixed.
He said individuals who waged crusades for the country to be fixed were seen by the government as enemies, as they were intimidated, harassed or killed.
He stated that although Ghanaians signed a social contract with the government to resolve their problems, it had rather become an insurmountable challenge that the government was struggling to resolve.
“Objective minds in our nation and those in your own government whispering on corridors have growing apprehension about where you are leading this dear country of ours. The leadership you have provided so far is one of ‘let's finish everything today because there is no tomorrow’.
“There is no hope for the youth under your stewardship. The very people you promised to protect are the ones being beaten and/or killed daily by thugs recruited into our security services; those you promised jobs have either been laid off, lost their investments or have not been employed at all,“ he said.
Mr Addo noted that more than ever in the history of the country, access to the few opportunities available was solely based on the possession a party card.
“The case of students, nurses, teachers, tailors, carpenters, okada riders, trotro drivers, doctors, masons, lawyers, traders, civil servants, farmers, to the last man on the street, has been of agony, pain and sorrow,” he said.
He observed that the world all over, governments were elected to work for people and not otherwise, but in the situation of the country, the government was working for a select few who were mainly family members and cronies.
In order to regain the trust of Ghanaians, he said, it was imperative for the government to take steps to fulfill all the campaign promises to the citizenry, particularly the provision of jobs and ensuring security in the country.
He urged the government to stamp out corruption by prosecuting corrupt officials, as well as ensuring the safety and security of all Ghanaians.
Additionally, he said, there was the need for the government to de-politicise the security services and introduce reforms, led by experts, to give true meaning to its independence.
He asked the government to instruct the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to improve the justice system and wean the Judiciary off partisan political influence.
Beyond investigating all acts of violence perpetrated by officers of the security agencies, he said, the government must ensure that all victims got justice, as required by law.
In that regard, he urged the government to implement the recommendations of the Emile Short Commission of Inquiry Report forthwith.