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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Huge Demo Rocks Mills

A SEA of red-clothed demonstrators, running into several thousands, yesterday hit the streets of Accra, Ghana’s capital city, to protest against what they describe as failed electoral promises by the Atta Mills Government, pointing also at injustices and harsh living conditions in the country.

The demonstrators, wielding placards with inscriptions which summarized their concerns, also spotted pampers and sticks of kebab to taunt former Youth and Sports Minister, Muntaka Mubarak, over his alleged ostentatious lifestyle when he was in office.They marched peacefully for about six hours through some principal streets of Accra amidst loud music and dance in a jamboree-like style, to register their disaffection for the new government.The inscriptions on the placards set the tone for the march and some of them read, ‘Attaa Adaadaayen’, to wit ‘Atta (Mills) has deceived us’. Other inscriptions read: ‘Atta Sakawa’, ‘If Ghana is broke, fix it’; ‘Avoid killer loans’; ‘Who is ruling: Is it Atta or Rawlings?’; ‘Sakawa President’; ‘No money in our pockets’; ‘No employment for two years, Atta why?’ and ‘Atta 419”.

They also had a giant-sized canoe on a truck with some men engaged in a mock paddling to lay bare the plight of fishermen in the face of a nationwide shortage of premix fuel to power their outboard motors.They were cheered on and waved at all through the demonstration, with some street hawkers and petty traders joining them when they reached the Central Business District area in Accra. Private and commercial drivers tooted their horns in support of the protesters and a few shop owners abandoned their wares and danced after them for a short while before running back into their shops.

The demonstration, which started from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle through Adabraka and ended at the Hearts Park in Accra, temporarily electrified the capital city, causing a bumper-to-bumper vehicular traffic and momentarily bringing commercial activities to a halt.It was evident that the demonstration dubbed, “Atta A Daa Daa Mi”, which translates in English as ‘Atta (President Atta Mills) has deceived me’, was endorsed by a good number of city dwellers.

The charged demonstrators were further fired-up when they were joined mid-way by a number of Parliamentarians from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) including former Majority Leader, Felix Owusu Agyepong; Minority Chief Whip, Fred Opare-Ansah; MP for Weija, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway; MP for Okere, Dan Botwe; Old Tafo MP, Anthony Akoto-Osei; and former Information Minister, Stephen Asamoah-Boateng among others.

Also on the streets yesterday was the Convention People’s Party (CPP) National Youth Organizer, Kwabena ‘Kabila’ Bomfeh, Human Rights Lawyer, Godfred Dame, NPP General Secretary, Nana Ohene Ntow, Madam Frances Asiam, and a host of other political figures from the People’s National Convention (PNC).

The demonstration was organized by the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AfAG), a socio-political pressure group that has rather been on the tail of government for the better part of the year, and is the very first major street protest against the new government, voted to power on the wings of severaljuicy electoral promises which President Mills has not been able to fulfill yet.The promises have remained a chorus on his lips after ascending the Presidency some eight months ago.The leadership of AfAG, including Daniel Marfo Ofori-Atta, Kwabena Bomfeh, Samuel Awuku, Titus Glover and John Boadu, took turns to address the demonstrators at the Hearts Park and almost all the speakers called on the government to fulfill the electoral promises for which it was voted into power.

“We need to understand that our nation has come under attack; attack by people who want to undermine our democracy and it is our civic responsibility to stand up and tell such people in the face that we would not allow that.

“Even if our government is in power and still has a four-year mandate, it is our constitutional right that we hold them accountable,” Kwabena Bomfeh charged in his address to the irate crowd.

Citing examples of failed electoral promises from the new government, the AfAG official said while President Atta Mills had promised to “drastically reduce” the price of fuel should his party be voted into office, there has rather been sharpincreases in the already high price of the product, alleging that the NationalPetroleum Authority (NPA) is engaged in pricing irregularities.

“The recent shortage of petrol, diesel oil and premix fuel without clearly defined steps by Government to provide solutions but rather involved in blame games, enormous propaganda and deliberate attacks on the integrity of especially fishermen, is highly untenable,” he concluded.

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