Sunday, June 26, 2022

‘Kum Yen Preko’ Demo By Coalition For Social Justice

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NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE ‘KUM YEN PREKO’ DEMONSTRATION BY THE COALITION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

History they say, has a funny way of repeating itself, that is why yesterday’s peaceful demonstration organized by the Group calling itself Coalition for Social Justice speaks volumes. The sheer size of the crowd, and the sea of red that participated in the event and number of identifiable groups that took part are indeed indicative that Ghana’s democracy has come of age. Twenty-four years ago, the sitting President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo led an anti-government demonstration in opposition to the Value Added Tax (VAT) introduced under the then Jerry John Rawling’s Administration. The protest march dubbed ‘Kumi Preko’ literally meaning “You may as well kill me” is said to be one of the biggest ever to have rocked the city of Accra with an estimated 100,000 people. The event which was initially billed as a peaceful protest somewhere along the line turned violent. Unidentifiable assailants shot live bullets into the crowd resulting in the deaths of a few protesters. This time round with a similarly huge and a similar name like the 1995 demonstration, the protest march recorded no significant unrest.

Demonstrations indeed are allowed under the 1992 constitution of Ghana. They are tools to express one’s grievances and vert their misgivings towards particular happenings in the country. Placards displayed by the ‘Kum Yen Preko’ demonstrators aptly carried their message. They accused government for the current hardship in the country and demanded it saves the depreciating cedi for a better economy. Even though Ghana’s economy is touted to be doing well, most people say they do not feel it in their pockets. Market women decry poor sales while others believe National Security is not the best. A number of people believe fuel and food prices have gone way beyond their pockets while others criticize what they call repression of free speech. We can go on citing grievances against the present administration but suffice it to say government nevertheless deserves some credit having performed well in some areas especially stabilizing the Ghanaian economy.

Ghana today has the largest GDP in Africa with growth averaging over 6%. It has introduced the free SHS programme which is widely acclaimed. The fact that drivers, aggrieved customers of defaulting financial institutions fishermen, spare parts dealers, market women and kayaye dominated the protest march should signal government to sharpen its reflexes to fix their grievances. With the 2020 general election less than a year away the ruling party and indeed government has a lot to do to resolve disenchantment among the people. We must admit, government has started the Town Hall meeting where it meets the people to explain its policies and listen to their complaints. We laud the Police for their professional conduct at yesterday’s demonstration that ensured a successful and peaceful walk. As it is said, to jaw is better than to war. We expect players in the political economy to sink their differences and dialogue for the eventual good of the country.

The scary red attires do not help build investor confidence. The concern of workers falling out of job should be the concern of all. Government and the opposition must be like the proverbial tongue and teeth which settle on their own any conflict between them. The recent decision by government to rescind plans to build a 450-seater Parliamentary Chamber following public outcry is indeed a plus for government. It is said he who cuts the path knows not where it is crooked except the by stander. The Coalition for Social Justice must rescind its decision to organize similar demonstrations across the country to help sustain the peace we are currently enjoying. Government needs absolute peace to tackle the country’s numerous challenges and all hands must be on deck towards this cause. We definitely need and cherish peace.

BY: JUSTICE MINGLE, A JOURNALIST.

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