Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Middle class Ghanaians move from Facebook to streets to protest bad governance

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

Today July 1, 2014 is Republic Day. On this day history was made as elite Ghanaians moved the discussions, debates, complaints about poor governance and corruption from social media networks Facebook and Twitter onto the streets of Accra.

Hundreds of middle class citizens most of them lawyers, engineers, architects, apps developers, journalists, university professors and consultants in various fields, some of them Ivy League educated and CEOs gathered at the Afua Sutherland Children’s Park as early as 6:00am to start the protest organized by the Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG).

Notwithstanding the peaceful nature of the protest, a heavy contingent of police was deployed to stop the protestors from marching to the Flag Staff House to present a petition to the president, and that was after the protestors and the police had agreed that 50 protestors would be allowed to march to the Flag Staff House to make the presentation. The police reneged and circumvented the deal. They formed a ring around the protestors and prevented them from moving beyond the environs of the Park.

The protestors decided to disperse and go to the Afrikiko Restaurant near the French Embassy, but the police didn’t allow them, the police cut off the protestors forcing the group to converge in smaller groups at various areas around TV3, the Ako Adjei overpass and surrounding areas. The police didn’t allow any more protestors to join the rest in these areas as they sealed all connecting routes. Some protestors reported being molested and beaten by police.

It rained for a few minutes during the protest, but protestors stayed in the rains chanting and singing patriotic songs including the national anthem.

This is the first time a non-partisan protest has been held against the conduct of a government in Ghana by the middle class most of whom have better and bigger opportunities both within and outside the country, hopefully this sends a signal to the government which has made scandals its daily offerings of its brand of governance.

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