Stop Dumsor Demo…Mahama Begs Stars

President John Mahama has called for an end to hostilities in the entertainment industry over an intended celebrity-inspired demonstration against the power crisis, popularly called Dumsor, which has bedevilled the nation for over three years now.

The beginning of last week saw a new wave of criticism of government by some of the country’s celebrated music and movie icons including actresses Yvonne Nelson, Lydia Forson and rapper Sarkodie who led the charge.

‘We need our lights back!’ yelled Yvonne Nelson, the lead campaigner.

They could not fathom why Ghanaians would be made to bear the brunt of an energy crisis which had come to be known as dumsor-dumsor in spite of several failed promises by government to end it, leading to an intensive #dumsormuststop social media campaign, with a planned vigil scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 2015.

Others including former President of the Ghana Actors Guild, Nii Odoi Mensah, comedian David Oscar and the doubtful HIV/AIDS Ambassador, Dzidzor Mensah, who deceived the entire nation with her HIV status even though she claimed to be negative, had also jumped to the defence of government and the President, thereby generating a huge hullabaloo with their fans and followers taking positions amidst name-calling.

Yvonne questioned the strange stance taken by some of the stars, particularly David Oscar, who claimed that he was comfortable with the dumsor; and took to her Twitter page Friday morning, asking if the comedian was indeed a Ghanaian who resides in the country.

She tweeted: “What a shame! Is David Oscar Ghanaian? Does he live in Gh?’

Activists of the ruling NDC were not left out, calling the young ladies among the campaigners prostitutes (ashawo).

For Nii Odoi Mensah and those in his camp, they did not think the situation in the country warranted the action their colleagues intended to embark upon; asking Ghanaians to give government more time to solve the problem in spite of the several failed promises by the President and his men.

This is what compelled President Mahama to call for a cease fire.

He therefore took to his Twitter handle, JDMahama, saying, ‘the division in our politics is bad enough. Let it not spread to our creative industry. Let’s cease the polemics.’

With that, he urged the movie and music icons to stay united and not allow political tendencies to divide their ranks.

Interestingly, the President failed to condemn a member of his party’s communications team, one Halidu Haruna, who rained insults on the likes of Yvonne Nelson and Lydia Forson for criticising the government over its inability to solve the power crisis.

Halidu, who is nursing the ambition of going to Parliament on the ticket of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the Ablekuma Central constituency, went to the unimaginable extent of describing these ladies as prostitutes.

He later turned around to render an apology after Ghanaians descended on him.

Meanwhile, barely 12 hours after organisers of the #‎dumsormuststop vigil announced On The Run as the new venue for the event, managers of the station are saying they have not granted any permission for the place to be used for the vigil.

The action of the owners might trigger a boycott of the facility mostly patronised by the youth.

Manager of Total Ghana, owners of On The Run, said organisers of the vigil had not contacted them and therefore they could not use their premises for the event.

This was the second venue in the past 24 hours that had turned down the request by Yvonne Nelson, Sarkodie, DKB and other celebrities to hold a vigil to protest the current power crisis.

The organisers were forced to change an initial venue- the University of Ghana – after authorities of the university opposed the use of the campus for the protest against the power crisis.

The vigil, expected to be a peaceful procession by the celebrities and their fans with lit candles, torch lights, bobo and lanterns, is an offshoot of a social media campaign, #‎dumsormuststop, which Yvonne started last week.

Lawyers for Yvonne Nelson and Sarkodie wrote to the Greater Accra regional police command to inform them about the vigil. The police on Thursday gave the celebrities the go-ahead to hold the vigil on May 16.

A letter by Total Petroleum Ghana Limited, copied Friday, said organisers had not contacted them.

The letter, signed by Olivier Van Parys, Managing Director of Total Petroleum Ghana Limited, said: ‘Please note that our company, Total Petroleum Ghana Limited, which is the owner of the said location (On The Run), has not been contacted for any such programme and would therefore request the general public to disregard the announcements running on various media including your online portal,’

This means the organisers have to start looking for another venue for the May 16 event.

By Charles Takyi-Boadu

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