‘Fix The Country’ Protesters Hit Streets Of Accra

A long-anticipated ‘Fix The Country’ protest against what convenors have called pitiable living standards in Ghana has commenced in the central business district of the capital city, Accra.

As early as 6 am, hundreds had gathered at the starting point for the march at Obra Spot, a popular joint around the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra. At the time of going to press, the presumably thousands of protesters were marching through pre-approved routes.

The protest was initially billed as a non-partisan and youth-oriented demonstration. However, The Ghana Report can confirm that some elderly Ghanaians, including a 72-year-old, joined the protest.

Dressed in mostly red attire and bandanas, the protesters held placards bearing various strongly-worded statements and critiques of the government.

Among these statements included, “Stop The Religious Partiality”, “Dishonesty and Lack of Patriotism Gave us Year of No Return”, “Fix Ghana Now”, “The Killing of Innocent Ghanaians To Put Fear In Our Hearts Will Be Resisted”, “No 100 Cedis For Your Cathedral”, among others.

The protesters chanted songs supposed to channel their disappointment in political leaderships that Ghana has had since the turn of the Fourth Republic. Popular among these songs was Stonebwoy’s Run Go.

Some of the protesters who spoke to The Ghana Report expressed worry about the future prospects for themselves and their loved ones.

“None of these politicians can tell me they care for my future when they see how angry and hungry I am and yet give themselves car loans they will never pay for. These are wicked people,” a protester argued.

Another mourned: “It seems I am going to die penniless and it won’t be because I did not work hard. Ghana is hell!”.

Background of the protests

The hashtag #FixTheCountry has dominated news headlines for months.

A group of unhappy Ghanaians hopped on to the social media platform Twitter to vent their frustrations after inflation jacked up prices in goods and services.

These price hikes were coupled with frequent power cuts and an increment in taxes.

Other concerns highlighted included unemployment, a wobbly healthcare system, housing deficits, poor road networks, etc.

A demonstration was subsequently planned for May 9, but the Ghana Police Service secured an injunction against the congregation.

A judge in an Accra High Court ruled that public demonstrations contravened restrictions on public gatherings meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Failure to abide by the set rule would amount to breaching the Public Order Act.

The convenors of the protest appealed the decision at the Supreme Court, which ruled that nothing bars the aggrieved youth from protesting.

“There is no breach of the rules of natural justice here. Order 95 Rule 1 says the High Court judge has jurisdiction over the case, but the order is temporal. As it stands now, there is no order for us to quash.

“There is no order preventing your clients (Protesters) from holding any demonstration. The law is clear that the injunction should last past 10 days. There is nothing restraining you, so what is your problem,” Justice Yaw Appau ruled.

But the police said the Supreme Court ruling did not also prevent them from serving the conveners of the protest with a preventive notice.

After another round of legal tussles, the way was cleared for the protest to happen on August 4.

On August 3, The Ghana Police Service assured the Economic Fighters League (EFL) and other #FixTheCountry convenors of protection for the scheduled demonstration.

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), George Akuffo Dampare, who assumed office on Sunday, August 1, is said to have invited the group to his office to assure them of his very personal commitment to a peaceful march.

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