“That the man in tatters, and obviously without a mind of his own, could make sense in his presentation to newsmen about why he joined the march, should tell President Mahama and his handlers of the energy crisis that Ghanaians are not at all happy with his handling of the national crisis.”
For most Ghanaians, life is very hard at the Centre of the earth. Eking out a living has become a very hazardous enterprise in our once lovely country. To add insult to injury, the power outages have worsened the plight of many family heads, who were already struggling to feed the family.
Businesses are collapsing, and there are many Ghanaians out there, who cannot cope at all. Lives are being needlessly lost in the hospitals, homes and even offices, because of the frequent power outages. That is why many ordinary Ghanaians identified themselves with the sentiments expressed on the streets of Accra on Wednesday, when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) went on the march.
The party faithful were joined on the streets by thousands of ordinary Ghanaians feeling the pinch of mismanagement that have combined with wrong policies to reduce this once proud nation into a land of want and depravity. The wanton dissipation of public funds and excessive borrowing have combined to send Ghana back into the Highly Indebted Poor Countries bracket without the official proclamation.
After several years of verbal protestations, the NPP called their numbers unto the streets of the national capital. There is talk of a second demonstration in Kumasi on February 24, obviously to be followed by other protests in the other regional and district headquarters across the country.
It is obvious from the re-action of various National Democratic Congress spokespersons that the demonstration has hit their officials and followers very hard. Suddenly, there is talk of demonstrations not solving problems, and that followers of the Elephant Family had failed to offer alternatives to the ‘Dum-dum’ and the general economic malaise.
The comedy in these pronouncements could be found in several such marches organised by the NDC itself while in opposition. In one such auspicious march, deceased President John Evans Atta Mills, then the official opposition leader of this country, held a placard that came to haunt his administration.
“Ghanaians,” he asserted in the placard, “are capable of managing our own affairs.” – Needless to state that the NDC had to resort to foreign interventions to resolve critical issues. When the Merchant Bank was offered for sale to a consortium allegedly led by a non-national, it said a lot about the hypocrisy in that assertion.
The idea that the NPP could dialogue with the government, instead of calling members to occupy the streets, is also countered by the assertion that an administration with the ‘Yentie’ mentality, could never suddenly develop a taste for local dialogue.
New Patriotic Party presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo used the march to answer his doomsday critics by leading the demonstration in person. That he walked with the marchers all the way from the Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, to the Hearts Park behind the Arts Council in Accra, told a lot about how the presidential candidate’s physical condition could not fit the doomsday description of a failing health.
Rather, there was an ample demonstration that the leader of the Elephant Family is ready to challenge for a right to occupy Jubilee House. The fear that assembling all those people on the street could have its own security implications did not also materialise. Instead, Deputy Commissioner of Police Christian Tetteh Yohuno, Greater Accra Police Commander, had reason to raise a glass after the demonstration.
“I told my men not to confront anybody, and they were able to do that. So I congratulate my officers and men who were able to absorb all the provocation and did not confront the demonstrators, which has brought us this far. We are all happy that everything was peaceful,” the police capo asserted.
In all this, the story of one mad man’s march tells volumes about the eagerness of Ghanaians to advertise their concerns. A mentally challenged person marched along from Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, all the way to where the demonstrators finally dispersed at the Hearts of Oak Training Grounds at the beach.
That the man in tatters, and obviously without a mind of his own, could make sense in his presentation to newsmen about why he joined the march, should tell President Mahama and his handlers of the energy crisis that Ghanaians are not at all happy with his handling of the national crisis.
According to our friend without a mind of his own, the light, which was in constant supply at where he used to lie in the night, has been going off frequently in recent times. That is why he joined the march, when he heard that people were hitting the street, in protest at ‘Dum-so.’
For me, the story of the mentally-disturbed tells the whole story of the plight of Ghanaians. I do not know the name of the man, but his story reminds me of my own experience with a man with similar features in the year 2000. I had gone to Ekumfi Ekrawfo, my holy village, and was returning to Accra. When I got to Essuehyia Junction, I stopped to buy some pineapples.
Just as I was alighting from the car, I was confronted by a man in tatters. Every indication was that the man was mad. A nephew of mine in the passenger’s seat took a two cedi note from the dash board and gave it to him. On receiving the money, our friend without a steady mind, dashed straight to a rice seller and bought rice without fish.
From the way he munched at the food, it was obvious he was famishing. I asked my nephew to give him an extra five cedis on the dashboard, but our friend without a steady mind of his own politely refused the second offer and walked away quietly.
On the way to Accra, barely 200 metres to the Akotsi Junction, my car skidded off the road, climbed a hill, and somersaulted several times before coming to a stop. The roof and both sides of the vehicle caved in. My nephew and I struggled to get out of the car without even a scratch on anybody.
When the police arrived about 30 minutes later and examined the car, they would not believe that we walked out of that wreckage without any harm to our persons. My immediate reaction was that it was that ‘mad man’ who saved our lives. The strange news is that no one at Essuehyia Junction has ever seen the man again.
For me, the true story of the march in Accra on Wednesday was told by the man without a mind of his own. That is why I am disappointed that President Mahama was out of the country at the time and could not observe the march on television, at least.
For me, as a Ghanaian, the Head of State did not do the dignity of this nation any good when he chose the day of the march to hobnob with the ‘Butcher’ of Banjul, Yahaya Jammeh, who rules The Gambia with iron hands, and whose fingers are dripping with the blood of 44 Ghanaians butchered in Banjul on July 23, 2005.
For the records, the Hansard of March 2, 2007, captured Mr. John Dramani Mahama, then the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, asking Mr. Akwasi Osei-Adjei, then Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, this question, pregnant with meaning.
“What value of a Ghanaian was to the administration, and whether the government put ‘warm’ diplomatic relations with the Gambia above the lives of 44 of our citizens?” On Thursday, July 2, 2009, Nana Oye Lithur, then a human rights activist, complained bitterly over a Memorandum of Understanding the NDC government had signed with Gambia, following the murder of the 44 Ghanaians.
“Those who want to do diplomacy for Ghanaians, “she charged, “should go ahead, but shouldn’t mount platforms and claim to be interested in fighting for the rights of the people.” It is the sign of the times that since becoming Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection in President John Dramani Mahama’s Cabinet, the once vociferous advocate appears to have lost her voice.
One appreciates the wish of President Mahama, as ECOWAS leader, to honour the invitation of a colleague, but as William Shakespeare wrote in Julius Caesar, this kind of invitation “is a custom more honoured in the breach than the observance.”
Source: Ebo Quansah/The Chronicle
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