It is Saturday, June 5, 2021 just a day after the largest opposition party in Ghana, the NDC marked of the 42nd Anniversary of the June 4th Uprising – one of the most reflective events in the political history of Ghana.
I embarked on a journey back into the forest where I always get answers to many complex situations in the past whiles on a hunting expedition. In the forest at night or day, I had total peace of mind to think more critically.
Before I catalog events that have pushed me to the forest, let me throw some light on the word “Oppression” and the event “June 4th Uprising “ as it has been defined and history recorded it respectively.
According to Wikipedia, “Oppression is malicious or unjust treatment or exercise of power, often under the guise of governmental authority or cultural opprobrium. Oppression may be overt or covert, depending on how it is practiced.”
It went on to say that “Oppression refers to discrimination when the injustice does not target and may not directly afflict everyone in society but instead targets specific groups of people.”
“No universally accepted model or terminology has yet emerged to describe oppression in its entirety, although some scholars cite evidence of different types of oppression, such as social oppression, institutional oppression, and economic oppression.” – Wikipedia further explains
Now, the same Wikipedia said, “The June 4th Revolution or June 4th Uprising was an uprising in Ghana in 1979 that arose out of a combination of corruption, bad governance, frustration among the general public, and lack of discipline and frustrations within the Ghanaian army.”
With the above background, I will proceed to my question. In the later part of 2019, the world saw the arrival of the deadly Corona Virus. Ghana had its fair share of the global pandemic in March 2020 and ever since things have never been the same.
As part of measures to fight the virus which was destroying lives and ravaging the global economy, President Akufo-Addo in his series of “Fellow Ghanaians” addresses imposed various levels of restrictions including movements, social gatherings, religious activities, closure of all borders and schools.
We were told the above measures including “social distancing, regular handwashing with soap under running water, use of hand sanitizers and wearing of Norse mask” will help curb the spreading of the virus.
The government ran to the World Bank to beg for a $1billion loan facility to help the country tackle the crisis. A Covid 19 Trust Fund was established and Chaired by the former Chief Justice Sophia Akufo which received millions of donations from the public and business but as to how these monies were utilized, we are yet to know as Ghanaians.
The year 2020 was a political season for Ghana and citizens were expected to go to the polls on December 7, 2020, to elect President and Parliamentarians.
The Electoral Commission within the same Covid 19 period held wasteful and unjustified mass voter registration exercises across the country where people stayed in long queues to register. During the period, the government deployed heavily armed security personnel (soldiers, police, immigration) to mostly Volta and Oti Regions – the strongholds of their opponent, largest opposition NDC.
Citizens of these areas raised alarm with the NDC saying the deploying was targeted at suppressing their vote through intimidation and harassment but the government disagreed with an explanation that they are policing the borders to curb the possible importation of Covid 19 into the country. Today, Ghana still has Covid even much more than then but the soldiers have left those towns. Why? Elections are over.
Political campaigns and rallies
Mass political campaigns and rallies were held with no regard to the Covid 19 preventive protocols and at the period, the government pretended there was no Covid-19.
Festivals of free goodies and promises emerged. Free Water, Free Electricity, and business stimulus packages were given out. The President suddenly got an idea and announced that he was going to build 48 District Hospital within one year starting from last year August. But we have only two months to August 2021 for that one-year target to elapsed and no sign of even molding a single block to start building of the 48 Hospitals.
Today, the election is over, President Akufo-Addo has secured his second term which was challenged by the NDC at the Supreme Court and Ghanaians have been slapped with Tax hikes and Covid-19 Tax at the time that other governments are giving reliefs and incentives.
Before the December 2020 elections, some notable organizations and a group of Ghanaians served notice to the Police to embark on Demonstration and packeting ageist government but they were stopped under the guise of Covid-19. But when there was anything in favor of the government Covid suddenly disappears in Ghana and the Executive Instrumental that imposes the restrictions become automatically moot. It must be worth noting that at the time of this restriction and prevention of “other” citizens from exercising their right to demonstrate, the People of Kyebi, the hometown of President Akufo-Addo were allowed to demonstrate against former President Mahama. Why?
The Ghanaian government held a public funeral in Ghana for the slain GEORGE Floyd of the United State but the leader of The Freedom Fighters League, Ernesto YEBOAH was arrested and still being trailed for holding a vigil at the Black Star Square in support of the #BlackLivesMatters – the same movement that was pushing for justice for the late George Floyd that the government held a funeral for.
The Minority leadership in Parliament was arrested and currently before the court for holding a March to the Headquarters of the Electoral Commission of Ghana over the Techiman South election disputed Parliamentary results.
Just about 4months into President Akufo-Addo’s second term, social media campaign erupted citing the high cost of living, corruption, poor governance, high taxes, poor roads, illegal mining (Galamsey), water crisis, power outages (dumsor) among others.
I must remind us all the issues being raised by the Fix The Country campaign were not too different from what was recorded as the cause of the June 4, 1979 uprising in Ghana led by late former President JJ Rawlings.
The campaigners planned to hit the streets on Sunday, May 9, 2021 which will mark exactly 21years of the then Akufo-Addo’s led Kumepreku Demonstration.
But Guess what? The Police again went to Court to obtain an Order restraining the organizers from holding the protest citing the Covid 19 restrictions and lack of resource to provide security for demonstrators but on that faithful May 9, 2021, Ghanaian saw the deployment of heavy police crowd control armored vehicles and men to the Black Star Squad in preparedness to perhaps dispersing any crowd should the convenors defies the court orders.
JJ Rawlings vrs. Kodwo OWUSU Afriyie (Sir John) funeral.
Ghana’s longest-serving leader and founder of the fourth republic, Jerry John Rawlings died last year November. It was speculated he died of Covid 19. The government hastily scheduled to hold his burial ceremony in December 2020 whiles Sir John, the former NPP general secretary, and CEO of Forestry Commission who dies about 5months before was still at the morgue.
The Chiefs of Anlo State and the Family of the former president kicked against the planned funerals saying they were not consulted.
January 21, 2021, JJ Rawlings was buried amid the seeming absence of Ewe culture and traditions. Akan culture dominated the ceremony. The Cheif of Anlo State boycotted the funeral and announced to hold their Version of the funeral for their Son and King in February.
Just after the announcement, President Akufo-Addo held his “Fellow Ghanaians” again to re-echoed there was Covid-19 and imposes restrictions on Funeral. Yes, technically the address was held to bar the chiefs and People of Anlo from holding their version of the funeral for their fallen hero of the Anlo land.
However and shockingly unimaginably, Sir John who is also reported to have died of Covid-19 spent almost 1year at the morgue contrary to Covid death rules.
Just three days ago, his mortal remain was flown in a helicopter to his hometown, Sokora Woono, and a grand funeral held for him with no regards to Covid-19 preventive protocols.
Indeed, President Akufo-Addo was present at the funeral and delivered his usual “smoother than the Queen of England” English language speech.
These and many more, I am off to the forest to seek answers to these complex situations. Perhaps, the animal in the jungle could best explain and provide me the answer to my question “Is Akufo-Addo using Covid 19 as a tool for oppression?”
See you when I return.
Mawuli Korsi Senyo