What started as a hashtag on social media three months ago assumed a physical form on the streets of Accra yesterday, when hundreds of Ghanaians embarked on the #FixTheCountry demonstration.
The much-awaited protest for good governance and urgent fixing of the country’s challenges, came off after weeks of resistance from the Ghana Police Service through a legal tussle over the COVID-19 restrictions placed on public gathering to prevent the spread of the virus.
The over two-hour protest coincided with Ghana’s Founders’ Day which is observed annually to celebrate the nation’s forebears who spearheaded the cause that led to the country’s independence from British colonial rule in 1957.
Adorned in red and black and the national colours- red, yellow, green- the protestors converged at Obra Spot near Kwame Nkrumah Interchange (Circle) from 6am and covered a distance of about five kilometres through the principal streets of the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, Farisco, Trades Union Congress, Kimbu, the Atta Mills Highway and ended at the Black Star Square.
Amidst chanting of patriotic songs, tooting of horns and blowing of whistles, the protestors carried placards of which some read: “Fix the roads”; “Galamsey is unpatriotic Behaviour”; “No to nepotism, family and friends governance”; “The youth are the future not old men”; “fix our health system”; “High rate taxes, lack of jobs, help us”, and “Stop corruption and save Ghana”.
The Ghanaian Times observed that social distancing was a challenge among the crowd but many of them wore nose masks.
The police also lived up to its promise to provide security by deploying about 1,000 personnel from the Formed Police Unit and other departments whose vehicles were spotted along the route and the Black Star Square to ensure law and order.
Earlier at a pre-deployment briefing session, the Acting Inspector-General of Police, Dr George Akuffo Dampare, admonished them to exhibit a high sense of professionalism in the discharge of their duties, assuring them of the full support of the Police administration.
Contrary to the usual practice in Ghana where demonstrations are climaxed with the presentation of petitions to authorities, the conveners rather appealed to Ghanaians to sustain the momentum of the advocacy for better governance.
One of the conveners, Ernesto Yeboah, faulted the 1992 constitution for the country’s woes given that it had given too much power to politicians to the detriment of the ordinary citizens.
To this end, he said the next line of action would be to move a motion of no confidence in the 1992 constitution, saying “We’re going to gather one million signatures and names of Ghanaians who believe the 1992 constitution should be abolished.”
The daughter of the late #fixthecountry activist, Ibrahim Mohammed, also known as Macho Kaaka, in a brief address filled with intermittent shedding of tears, momentarily changed the energetic mood at the square into a somber one.
Extolling her father’s boldness and patriotism exemplified in his repeated call for a better Ejura, she said the family had missed him and wanted the world to never forget the cause for which he died and asked for justice to be done.
The #FixTheCountry campaign was started on Twitter on May 4, 2021 by a group of non-political Ghanaians, to press home the need for urgent socio-economic reforms in the country.
Conveners initially scheduled May 9, 2021, for a physical protest but the Police, on, May 6, 2021, obtained a restraining order from the High Court against the exercise. However, the Supreme Court later set aside the High Court order on the grounds that the High Court order was in error and proceeded to quash it.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR