|“God bless our homeland, Ghana
And make our nation Great and Strong
Bold to defend forever
These were the words on the lips of Concerned Ghanaians who gathered at the forecourt of the U. S. Department of State in Washington D.C. during the just ended US-Africa Summit to demonstrate against the President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama and his NDC government.
The sense of nationalism of these Ghanaians in the diaspora was unmistakable, and it swelled even higher as the verses of their beloved country’s national anthem rose from their hearts into the afternoon sky above the American capital.
Clad in red and black, colors signifying mourning and solemnity, the demonstrators chanted national songs like “yen ara y’asaase ni” and others, unabashed and unabated. They were poised to make a point to the presidents, dignitaries, donors and development partners gathered at the State Department. The Concerned Ghanaians were not the only ones at the demonstration grounds, but there were also Burkinabes, Congolese, Cameroonians, Guineans, and Gambians. These Africans were also there to highlight the plight of their various countries to the international community.
The Ghanaians who were there in their numbers held placards bearing slogans like “Ghana’s President is Damn Corrupt,” “Mahama is a Thief,” “John Mahama is More Deadly Than Ebola,” “Stop Borrowing and Fix the Economy,” “Mahama is Bad News for Ghana,” “Arrest Woyome and Free Kessben,” among others. They were in high spirits for sure, but the mood was undoubtedly serious.
In an interview with Ghananewsmedia, one of the organizers, Kwaku Kyei Ofori asserted that he was happy with the large turnout, considering the busy schedule of Ghanaians in the US. He said he could count many of the demonstrators to have come from out of state to join their compatriots in Washington D.C. He added that he felt elated that the purpose for which the demonstration was organized was achieved. Another organizer from New York said, “We have been able to bring to the attention of the international community the incompetence, nepotism and corruption of the Mahama-led NDC administration, and to call on donor partners and the IMF to put in place stringent measures to curtail the “create, loot and share” businesses of President Mahama and his appointees.”
With the numbers of the demonstrators growing by the minute, other international media couldn’t help but jump into the fray to offer their microphones to the demonstrators to make their case to the world. Reuters, Associated Press, American International News Service (AI), Sahara TV, and Washington Post are a few of the international media houses which covered the demonstration, while other Ghanaian media houses granted audience to the Concerned Ghanaians.
Despite the tight security and the barrage of barricades, the demonstrators were able to hold their fort, and sustained their demonstration from 11am to 4pm until their voices could be heard at every corner of the State Department area, thus attracting the attention of some Summit attendees to their spot. They posited that they are going to demonstrate relentlessly against President John Dramani Mahama – any time and any day that he steps foot in the US – until he puts his act together and brings back the glorious local and international image that the previous administration bequeathed his government and party.
In an eight-point resolution signed by Kwaku Kyei Ofori that was distributed to the international media and sighted by Ghananewsmedia, the demonstrators minced no words in vehemently speaking out against pervasive corruption in the Mahama government, and strongly demanded accountability of the public purse, good standard of living, quality education, affordable health care, etc.
Ghananewsmedia reproduces the petition below:
We recognize the current state of our nation, where people have lost hope due to the absence of basic amenities such as water and electricity. The despondency of our people knows no bounds due to lack of health care, housing, quality education, gainful employment, and appreciable production in the country.
We are cognizant of the massive corruption and monumental incompetence of Mahama’s government, which has brought Ghana to its knees in an unprecedented fashion.
We resolve as follows:
1. That no institution or country should give any more loans to John Mahama’s National Democratic Congress government, because we the citizens of Ghana will consider them as odious loans which will not be repaid.
2. That Mahama’s government should fully account for the $30 billion of loans acquired in the last 5 years with no corresponding assets to show for it.
3. That Mahama’s government should account for our oil revenue.
4. That Mahama’s government should account for all the increases in taxes, water rate, electricity and gas prices, which have shown no appreciable positive effect on the economy.
5. That Mahama’s government should dismantle his looting brigade and to prosecute, jail and recover the stolen assets with interest and penalties.
6. That Mahama’s government should introduce financial responsibility in budgeting by reducing the salaries/benefits of Members of Parliament and Ministers in accordance with the living standards of ordinary Ghanaians.
7. That Mahama and his NDC should work with all the other political parties and civil society to bring genuine fundamental electoral reforms, specifically in the areas of the bloated voters’ register, number of polling stations and general election procedure.
8. In effect we are asking Mahama’s government for a renewed sense of commitment to ethics and competence to give Ghanaians a new hope for the future.
Kwaku Kyei Ofori
Organizer for Concerned Ghanaians in the USA.