GOVERNMENT MUST ADDRESS PUPLIC APPREHENSION, DISTRUST AND RAMPANT DEMONSTRATIONS. PIRAN-GH
Our recent survey carried out in six out of ten regions show a very high apprehension among Ghanaians due to distrust in the political class, a situation that has resulted in our opinion, in violent and destructive demonstrations in our towns, communities and schools for either mistreatment or failure to meet the infrastructure needs of the people by the governing class at both national and local levels.
We have for instance witnessed over fifteen demonstrations just between September and November 2018. Some of these demonstrations included but not limited to; Kwabenya, a suburb of Accra had its residents demonstrating against their MP due to poor roads on September 5, Tarkwa residents on the 26th of September mounted road blocks and burnt tires to protest poor nature of their main roads, commercial drivers in the Hohoe municipality protesting the poor nature of their roads, residents of Nsuta blocks road and burnt tires to protest the killing of a teenager by a truck in the town, unemployed teachers demonstrated on September 7 to demand posting and to kick against undertaking national service before being employed. The KNUST and The Nkwanta SHS riots, National Concerned Spare Parts Dealers Association also demonstrated in Accra on Friday, September 21, 2018, to protest what they call increased taxes and other import levies affecting their business. In fact we can go on and on.
The vandalism that characterized some of these demonstrations has been on the increase in recent times without the security agencies getting a clue to nip them in the bud. An indication the national security outfit may not have been on top of their jobs as far as intelligence gathering is concerned. It is very worrying to have BNI and National Security operatives in every district yet none of them was able to pick up signals on any of the recent agitations having some people getting injured in the process.
As the popular maxim goes, extreme provocation is defensible. It is not, therefore, surprising that the citizens will react when they get the sense that national and local authorities are not delivering to their satisfaction. Especially when they are seen to be persistently delaying and diverting projects for their selfish interest, misappropriating funds meant for development among other bad governance practices. The masses will definitely see it as an affront to them and they will obviously ventilate their frustrations and disappointment in whatever form they deem appropriate. In the process, they sometimes close their eyes to the laws of the land. A typical case
in point is the recent demonstrations at Adentan in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, when a footbridge has not been completed leading to cars knocking down pedestrians in that community. The last one that broke the camel’s back was the one that resulted in the death of a first year student of West African Senior High School (WASS). These demonstrations which are means to show the displeasure of the citizenry sometimes get out of hand leading to injuries, destruction of properties (both private and public) and sometimes death.
This distrust in the political class from the highest to the lower levels of power account for some of the attacks on public officers (elected and appointed government officials) which are repugnant and condemnable to say the least, blocking of roads to prevent these officials from using the roads as was the case in Tarkwa, and preventing traffic flow as has happened in some communities in the national capital and other communities across the country including hooting and attacking government officials at social gatherings and other public functions.
These scenarios alluded to above depict security breakdown hence our passionate call on government and security agencies to be alive to their responsibilities and put their ears on the ground to be able to prevent some of these avoidable protests and demonstrations that are creating a seemingly unstable atmosphere in the country. These happenings have the tendency of slowing down the development agenda of the country.
We would further like to specifically call on the district BNI across the country and other national security operatives to strengthen their information and intelligence gathering efforts to curb these emerging violent demonstrations.
Those citizens who in taking advantage of their constitutional right to demonstrate to register their frustration, and committing crimes against the state in the process must be dealt with to deter other potential culprits.
We wish to condemn in no uncertain terms the behaviour of the students of Nkwanta Senior High School who went on the rampage recently destroying school properties, raping some of their female teachers and the wives of some of their male teachers. This behavior of these young students is so appalling and very regrettable to say the least. Those students who engaged in these acts must be fished out and dealt with. Students should be made aware of why they are in school and the consequences of their actions must be spelt out to them. Our apprehension is that, if these offending students are not dealt with seriously, other students in order parts of the country may take a cue and the consequences for the country will be dire.
We also believe that KNUST students should have been more responsible in their demonstration against the school authorities due to some of their decisions which they, the students consider as unfriendly. These are our future heads of institutions, members of parliament and what have you? The expectation is that, with the education they are receiving at the highest level, they should have been measured. It’s against these backgrounds that we will support any action that will be taken against those found culpable.
We wish to blame some of these happenings on the way political vigilantism is on the increase in the country lately with members of these groups being seen to be attacking government appointees including ministers of state in broad daylight. The bravado they display in these
negative acts and the impunity with which they carry them out leave much to be desired. The NPP government needs to show serious leadership in trying to bring the activities of this party vigilantism to a halt because, in the eyes of the public, those groupings affiliated to the NPP seem to be the worst offenders in recent times. Chasing out people from offices to the extent of even freeing their arrested colleagues in the courtroom when they were in lawful custody and were being tried.
It’s our considered opinion that the recent increase in violent demonstrations is as a result of the growing menace of political vigilantism which is not being checked. We would like to also add our voice to the ones already articulated for the current government to take responsibility and act decisively to assure the citizens and foreigners alike of their safety in the country from activities of these disgruntled political vigilantes.
Just on Sunday 18th November, 2018 around mid-morning, some citizens of Nsuta mounted a road block and attacked the Asiwa District Police Commander, shooting him in the neck in an ambushed fashion and injuring other officers in the process. He is in critical condition at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital receiving treatment. This is really bad for the peace that we pride ourselves of enjoying in the country. This lawlessness must stop!
We wish to urge the political parties to be measured in the kind of promises they make to their teeming supporters when they are on political platforms, in terms of jobs and other development projects. After winning power, these promises come to hunt them and in most cases, they seem to be clueless as to how to deal with the situation.
The political parties need to stay away from the recruitment process of the security personnel into service. This will enable the security agencies to consider qualification and the right people for the job and not job for party men and women as it seems to be the case in the eyes of the public. They need to consider integrity and competence in the recruitment of personnel into the security services to assure us of competence in their delivery to win back public confidence that is dwindling. Security cameras need to be fixed at some public places, as well as tracking devices to help clamp down on illegal meetings which will lead to violent demonstrations as has been the case in recent times.
It’s our hope and believes that the necessary impact will be made if our propositions are taken into consideration.
Out of the 1000 respondent strategically chosen for the survey, 560 representing 56% of the sample size ticked very apprehensive of the political class, whiles 440 representing 44% also ticked not very apprehensive.
Felix Djan Foh. President. Piran.gh
James Kwaku Dumenyah. Coordinator. Piran.gh