By Paul Ejime
After months of police resistance, thousands of Ghanaians, especially youths stormed Accra streets on Wednesday in an anti-government #FixTheCountry protest against alleged bad governance, corruption and socio-economic hardships, including high inflation and youth unemployment.
The #FixTheCountry Campaign group had planned the protest for early this year, but police authorities, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, tried to stop the demonstration through a court injunction.
However, following the dismissal of the police application by an Accra High Court, Ghanaians in their numbers took over major Accra streets for at least five hours, starting from the Obra Spot, Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.to the Black Stars Square.
Clad in red and black, they chanted patriotic songs; some of them waving placards with various inscriptions such as, “corruption breeds poverty,” “fix our education system now,” “stop tribal discrimination,” “fix the country Mr President,” (Nana Akufo-Addo), “Ghana is most religious, yet most corrupt,” “let the institutions work not macho men” and “Justice for Kaaka.”
It is the second anti-government protest in two months in Ghana, following the demonstration called in July by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) of former President John Mahama, after the Supreme Court certified President Akufo-Addo re-elected in the December 2020 presidential vote.
The Ghanaian leader, who is current Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the regional bloc, ECOWAS, has been under pressure as Ghana struggles with economic troubles worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nothing is working, the government must wake up,” one young demonstrator alleged.
Ghana is often held up as a stable democracy in the politically restive West African region. But last year’s fiercely contested election has raised political tensions in the country.
Apart from the COVID challenges, the government has introduced new taxes and high fuel prices, whereby pushing up rate inflation in the country.
President Afuko-Addo is also criticized for building a new US$200m National Cathedral, in fulfilment of his electoral pledge, at a time the country is facing severe economic hardships.
Addressing the demonstrators, Mr Ernesto Yeboah, one of the Conveners of Wednesday’s protest, said Ghanaian “youth have expressed their displeasure over the state of affairs” in the country.
He said the country’s two major political parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the opposition NDC had failed to bring development or better the living conditions of citizens after 30 years of their collective leadership.
Mr Yeboah, Founder of the Economic Fighters League, therefore urged the youth to show courage in demanding for their dues.
His Co-Convener, Mr Oliver Barker-Vormawor, said “hunger does not know political or tribal colours.”
A Deputy Superintendent of Police, Mrs Effia Tenge, described the demonstration as peaceful and commended the protestors for their comportment.