Photo Story: Protestors demand resignation of Akuffo Addo, Bawumia and Ofori-Atta

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In 1995, when the citizens of Ghana were at their wits’ end due to the high cost of living and the introduction of the Value Added Tax policy, the citizens got off their seats and thronged the streets of Accra in what is recorded as the biggest demonstration in Ghana’s political history.

About 100,000 people partook in the “Kume Preko” (just kill me) demonstration to drive home their displeasure about the “insensitivity” of the then Jerry John Rawlings administration.

After 27 years, some Ghanaians say the conditions that necessitated Kume Preko have worsened. Today, thousands of protesters marched from Obra Spot in Accra to Independence Square in what was dubbed “Kume Preko reloaded” to demand the resignation of President  Akuffo-Addo, Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, and some key members of his government.

These demands came against the backdrop of the hikes in food prices, the deterioration of the cedi, and the general economic hardships facing Ghanaians.

The protesters dressed in shirts imprinted with the face of the president held placards and sang one patriotic song after another. The protestors, including aggrieved market women, could be seen chanting “Away! Away! Away!” as they slowly marched to their destination under the watchful eyes of the teeming police.

A section of protestors at the demonstration

A market woman who was hitting a metal bowl with a piece of wood, like a traditional town crier had a message for the president: “Nana, have mercy on us. Nana, we are hungry. We are tired. The high cost of maize and other foodstuff has made it impossible for me to continue my kenkey business. My children and I are starving.”

“During his [2016] campaign, Kalypo was Ghc 1.50. Now, we have to buy one for Ghc 6.00. Nana, why? Why are you this wicked?” Paa Yaw, a 32-year-old driver, asked.

Months before the demonstration, a section of the Ghanaians called for the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, whom they said had failed woefully in the discharge of his duties.

Addressing the crowd at the Independence Square, Martin Kpebu reiterated his demand for the president to resign from office.

“As we are all aware, the cedi is the worst currency in Africa and the world. Even Afghanistan, where the Taliban are in charge, their currency is stronger than the cedi. So, we are also making the point that once we’ve gathered here as citizens, and we’ve expressed our disgust at the obscene thievery, at the obscene corruption, at the obscene conflict of interest, it means that Akuffo Addo, Bawumia and Ofori Atta must go!”

Martin Kpebu ended with the famous campaign message of vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.

“Fuel prices have gone up, isn’t it? Transport fares have gone up, isn’t it? So, what are we experiencing now, teachers are suffering, demonstrators are suffering, lawyers are suffering, market women are suffering, and journalists are suffering!”

A placard on display at the demonstration

Background

In recent times, Ghana’s economy has been reeling under pressure with inflation climbing from 13% in January 2022 to an all-time high of 37.2% in September 2022.

In addition, the Ghana Cedi is consistently losing its value to the US Dollar and other major trading currencies across the globe, making Ghanaians spend more on food, shelter, and other basic necessities.

The World Bank’s October 2022 Africa Pulse Report ranked Ghana as the country with the highest food prices in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2022. Since January 2022, food prices have gone up by 122%.

Currently, petrol and diesel prices are at a record high whilst public transport fares have increased by over 100% since January. Water and electricity tariffs have also risen by 27.2% and 21.6% this year.

Meanwhile, the government has formally sought the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to help improve the macroeconomic stability of the country. It, however, insists that the challenges being faced are due to the adverse effects of COVID-19 and the Russia-Ukraine war, a claim that has been debunked by many economists and experts.

PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate
PC: Clement E. Kumsah/The Fourth Estate

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