AFAG Demo Hits Mahama

Demonstrators on the streets of Accra yesterday.

Demonstrators on the streets of Accra yesterday.



Traffic in the Accra business district came to a standstill yesterday when the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG) embarked on its much talked-about ‘Aagbe Wor’ demonstration.

Aagbe Wor literally means ‘They are killing us.’
For close to three hours, there was no vehicular movement on the main Nkrumah Circle-Accra central business district road, as the demonstrators had taken over the streets and the pavements, clad in red and black attires with armbands and head gears to match.

The demonstration, which started around 9:30 am, was against corruption and increasing cost of living in the country. Many people, including Members of Parliament (MPs), especially the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), traders, artisans, among others, participated in the protest march.

The NPP gurus were led by the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, MP for Suame; his Deputy, Dominic Nitiwul, MP for Bimbilla, and the Chief Whip, Dan Kwaku Botwe, MP for Okere.

General Secretary of the NPP, Kwabena Agyepong, and National Youth Organiser, Sammi Awuku, also took part in the demonstration with Abu Ramadan, Henry Asante of the People’s National Congress (PNC) and Ernest Owusu Bempah of the National Democratic Party (NDP).

Concerns
Ursla Owusu addressing the demonstrators
Together with a host of several other NPP MPs, members of other political parties, traders and the ordinary man on the street, who feels the prevailing economic conditions are hitting hard on him, marched along the streets and pavements of Accra to demonstrate against President Mahama and the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) over what they called incompetence, maladministration and corruption.

They wielded placards, some of which read, ‘Mahama must go’, ‘Ghanaians are  fed up’, ‘Tier two pension funds equal to Merchant Bank’, ‘Is it our fault to have you (Mahama) as our President?’, ‘Remove high taxes on drugs’, ‘Mahama, where is the tax payers’ money’, ‘World fuel prices down, Ghana fuel prices up’ and ‘Ghana Parliament is Chinese Restaurant’.

The rest included, ‘Ghana sinking into abyss’, ‘Ghanaians are suffering’, ‘Inventors and promoters of corruption’, ‘Ghana is on fire’, ‘Mahama and his NDC; tweaa government’, ‘John Mahama, visiting President’, ‘Only dum, no so’, ‘When evil men rule, the whole nation cries.’

Drama
For the first time since 1995 when demonstrations were banned in the Accra central business district after the massive ‘Kume Preko’ demonstration organised by the then Alliance for Change (AFC) pressure group—which claimed some lives leaving many casualties—yesterday’s demonstrators stormed the ‘no go’ area.

Upon reaching the infamous Farisco junction, the ‘Aagbe Wor’ protesters decided to proceed to the central business district instead of making a left turn to Tudu and the TUC office areas.

The police could not but stand in awe as the demonstrators defied instructions from their leaders to stick to the designated and agreed route for the march.

They then headed straight for the central business district where hordes of traders cheered them amidst shouts of ‘Aagbe Wor’ with some rolling in the open streets wailing.

NDC Headquarters Stopover
There was also a near clash when the demonstrators got to the junction where the newly commissioned national headquarters of the ruling NDC is located.

Upon reaching the place, some of the charged demonstrators tried to go to the premises of the headquarters.

But the police quickly moved to form a human wall to prevent them from having access to the area.

The demonstrators then proceeded to the other side of the building on the next street where they stood and hooted at occupants of the building, accusing them of using state resources to fund the project.

After a while, the police came in to talk to them to join their colleagues on the street.

NPP National Chairman, Paul Afoko, joined at the tail end of the demonstration when they got to the Makola traffic light close to the famous Presbyterian Bookshop in the heart of the capital city.

Traffic jam
When they got to the spot, the protestors stopped in the middle of the road for organisers of the event, led by AFAG Chairman, Dr Nana Ayew Afriyie, and a host of others, to address the crowd, bringing vehicular movement to a standstill.

After a while, they moved straight to the famous Hearts Park located at the Arts Centre, where leaders of the demonstration took turns to address the gathering.

One thing that ran through the various speeches they delivered was the need for a change in government since, according to them, President Mahama and members of his government were not only clueless on how to manage Ghana’s economy, but were also depleting the country’s already limited resources.

They therefore entreated Ghanaians to vote out the NDC in December 2016 when the country goes to polls to elect a President.

Greater Accra Regional Police Commander, DCOP Christian Tetteh Yehonu, lauded the demonstrators for the peaceful nature in which they conducted themselves, but was not happy that they defied the order to use the agreed route.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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