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Current unrest in Kenya: Implications for Ghana and the call for measured protests

Written by on June 27, 2024

If the persistent economic challenges, governance shortcomings, and neglect of the majority of citizens persist over time, irrespective of the ruling government, it is likely to provoke public unrest and outcry.

I support any efforts aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of ordinary citizens. It is crucial to carefully evaluate various factors such as timing, motives, and underlying catalysts behind such initiatives. At this juncture, timing is particularly critical, as it should be for every law-abiding and patriotic citizen.

A protest, uprising, or unrest in Ghana akin to the current situation in Kenya, especially just three months before an election and the formation of a new government, would be counterproductive. Rather than impulsive reactions, citizens have the democratic avenue to express their concerns through informed voting based on genuine grievances and economic realities.

Without caution, these demonstrations could be manipulated, funded, and fueled by individuals, political parties, and entities with ulterior motives. They might exploit genuine aspirations for improved livelihoods to advance personal or political agendas.

Each protest should articulate a clear theme and purpose that transcends mere social media trends. Take, for example, #EndSARS, a decentralized movement and series of mass protests in Nigeria during 2020. This movement demanded the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit notorious for its long history of abusing Nigerian citizens, which was eventually dissolved in October 2020.

Similarly, in the USA, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, also known as the George Floyd protests, began in Minneapolis on May 26, 2020. These protests were a response to police brutality and systemic racism.

Currently in Kenya, #RejectTheFinanceBill represents ongoing decentralized demonstrations against a proposed tax hike by the Parliament of Kenya.

In May 2024, Kenya’s Parliament introduced the ‘2024 Finance Bill’ aimed at restructuring the tax system to address national debt. The bill has faced significant criticism, particularly from younger Kenyans concerned about tax increases, who have played a key role in guiding protests. Recently in Ghana, the #HandsOffOurHotels protest called on the government to halt the sale of sixty percent of SSNIT hotels to a company owned by a government minister.

As we anticipate potential protests in Ghana in September—just three months before national elections, as indicated on social media—what precisely is the central theme? What specific cause are we advocating for or demanding action on? We must not overlook pressing issues such as the e-levy, COVID-19 levy, the SML scandal, and numerous allegations of grand corruption.

The worst outcome and alternative would be to consign our President to a legacy as the worst Ghanaian leader ever. Posterity should judge him as we do now—a failed president. Alternatively, we have the option to vote against his allies, party, and favored candidate in the upcoming election.

While some argue there is never a bad time to demand good governance and a better quality of life from leaders, wisdom dictates being strategic and timely in pursuing noble causes for greater success. Wise leaders recognize the crucial role of timing in their actions.

I support demonstrations and calls for change until we witness real progress in realizing the Ghana of our dreams—the Ghana envisioned by Nkrumah. Over the past two decades, our country has seen limited progress. While successive governments have fallen short, the current administration’s performance is particularly disappointing.”

To our leaders and those in power: always remember that when patience wears thin, defiance and rebellion can follow.

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