A F.E.W. Demands #OccupyGhana #OccupyFlagstaffHouse
So this is story all about how,
Our lives got flipturned upside down
And I’d like to take a minute, So just sit right there
I’ll show how we got ourselves into this place where folks are finally going to protest the detestable work of the government
No… that didn’t rhyme. I know.
I dont care.
But in all seriousness, I wouldn’t to tell the story of my last 48 hours (still won’t rhyme though):
See here is my picture timeline of how we arrived at #occupyGhana #occupyFlagstaffHouse…
First, there was no fuel. So I woke up to this image while I was here in Sierra Leone… An image posted by Edward Tagoe, who was firing off about the fuel shortages in Ghana.
Then, folks got angry and started requesting action:
And I thought… “woooo hooooo”: But then there was a lot of fighting about our demands. Rightfully so, especially because we don’t want to be another Egypt or #OccupyWallStreet that is leaderless and has no tangible aims. We wanted to have purpose. So I thought about this really, and then I got stuck because what do we really want? So I tried to ask on facebook by posting this:
“The thing is… I am so here (though can’t be there physically) for the protest whether its done right, wrong, peacefully, violently… whatever, only because this govt has been trying since inception to cover up everything and make things look peeeezy to attract FDI. It was clear from his first 100 days that Mahama was on a mission to literally ‘sell’ Ghana as a wonderful place to start business and have financial security. Any way that image can be tainted, in my estimation and based on a cursory look at his cabinets priorities, will by all means get their attention (NPP protest doesn’t count because it was mired by party affiliations— no good can come of that, especially from a party that so many think is out of touch anyway). That said… I still don’t quite know what we were asking for. When Af-Ams pursued their civil rights… it was really about being seen as humans and largely just about repealing horrible legislation. I think that’s way easier for people to rally around because you don’t need any deep understanding of macroeconomics or political economy. This #occupyghana #occupyflagstaff move however is so much more… well… technical. Do we want Ghana to start servicing debts? Stop imports? Continue subsidizing fuel costs? Reveal their financials? Give out bags of rice? Repeal their macroeconomic package? Give the IMF the middle finger and forego austerity measures? Make us promises? I mean… demands are so hard to make here. I think the only thing we can actually ask is that they all step down and we get another election. Or that Mahama resigns… because anything else will SURELY have an adverse effect. Any request we make on the coffers of the nation will slip us into a worse situation before it gets better. The best we can do is ask for say… constitutional review to decrease power of the executive, increase voting power by electing DCE’s, decentralize budgets and release capitation grants… but erm… that won’t really stop the fuel shortage or dumsor, not in the short term… it just addresses the serious leadership deficit. I dunno… what say you?”
Next, there was a lot of talking and back and forth with friends about the answers, but eventually I decided.. it was really simple. So I created and posted this:
But then, after further contemplation, I thought… this is the ends, what are the means? So I worked with two of my besties… and we came up with this:
In a functioning democracy, the state’s sole purpose is to institute changes to help all the citizens of the nation. If the Republic of Ghana is indeed a functioning democracy, our state institutions must take concrete steps toward helping its citizens. First and foremost, the state must make public yearly financial and functional targets that can be monitored and evaluated by the people who voted them into power. If the governed believe that their leaders have neglected this responsibility, the people must act as a stimulus and exercise their rights to freely express grievances, and demand a response to the same. The inability of the current government to supply simple necessities such as fuel, electricity and water make it necessary for us, as sovereign people of Ghana to demand that concrete steps be taken toward the completion of the following before the end of the year:
- PAY YOUR BILLS- Create a plan that shows how the government will pay it’s 1.8 billion dollar debt so that fuel can flow freely. We are not asking for this money to be paid all at once, but we insist that the government construct a payment schedule that it can adhere to and that will be sustainable over the course of their term.
- CHANGE CABINET APPOINTMENTS- We do not deny that many members at the helm of government are competent enough to carry out their tasks. Unfortunately, they have not been doing so, and have not been held accountable for their grave mishandlings. We ask that the President identify new, cross party members to fill positions such as Finance, Energy and Agric. to ensure a diversity of thought and an impetus for better decision making.
- RECOUP LOST FUNDS- Cronyism has had a large impact on ‘missing money’ since this President has come to power. In just over a year, we have seen billions of dollars lost through scandals with GYEEDA, Subah and SADA. We ask that the government investigate and PENALIZE those responsible for these ails by a) freezing accounts, b) seizing assets and c) setting monies lost to a fund that will be used for either disbursement of capitation grants or reallocation into energy and agricultural development.
- BE TRANSPARENT- The role of secrecy and lack of transparency cannot be ignored in our current situation. The Freedom of Information Act has been sitting in the governments hands for over a decade. We are asking that the President, in his capacity as the executive, expedite the passage of this act. In the interim, we ask that financial reports of all cabinet agencies be made public, so the public may understand how and where tax money is being spent.
- GIVE US A PLAN It has been said that “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”. We are asking for a detailed 2-year plan (until the next election) from each Cabinet member outlining a) goals/ expectations and b) timeline of completion of major projects. This can then be tracked on www.assurances.gov.gh in order to provide better accountability for actions.
Our demands are F.E.W.– fuel. electricity. water. We believe the requests made above are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
The goal was to make the language really easy to access and understand, and also make the pathway SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time- bound). We think that there is plenty of time between now and December for the government to make a valiant effort toward fulfilling these and showing political will to be better. Once they start, FDI will flow, IMF will give money and well we can all make WAY better informed decisions come 2016…
Given the slew of articles disparaging Ghana as no longer the golden child… and the laughing stock that is our $3million dollar black stars debacle… and well… just life in Ghana, it seems about time that #OccupyGhana #OccupyFlagStaffHouse be put into effect..
What say you? Too ambitious? Not ambitious enough? Unrealistic? Waste of Time?