Ghana’s two biggest political parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) which is the party in Government and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have taken center stage in a drama of blame games over the public heckling and booing of the country’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo during his speech at the 2022 Global Citizens Festival in Accra last Saturday.
The NDC’s National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, yesterday, Tuesday, issued a rather strong-worded statement in which he called on the NPP to wake up to the reality that the booing of the President was a reflection of the mood of the Ghanaian youth.
“A hungry man is an angry man, it is often said, but this plain truth is lost on the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government. The frustrations expressed by the youth on that fateful day perfectly reflects the excruciating and frustrating times Ghanaians presently find themselves”, Sammy Gyamfi noted.
“It bears reminding the ruling New Patriotic Party that the struggles of the youth are a microcosm of the daily ordeal of the Ghanaian people who must find ways to survive at a time inflation is 33.9%, with prices of goods and services skyrocketing every day. The youth expressed in the clearest terms, the daily struggles of the vast majority of our people who wake up every passing day with no hope of where their next meal is going to come from. Those young people simply gave voice to our daily struggles with unbearable prices of fuel at the pumps, high cost of living in the country”, Sammy Gyamfi posited in his statement issued on behalf of the NDC.
The NDC statement was in response to a statement issued on Sunday by the NPP and signed by its Deputy Communications Director, Ernest Owusu Bempah, in which the party had accused the NDC of orchestrating the booing and heckling incident against the President.
Owusu Bempah in his statement noted: “There’s nothing wrong if President Akufo-Addo goes to an event and receives cold reception. That’s a normal occurrence.
“But then, to allow politics to take centre stage at such an event and single out the President unfairly for political point scoring raises serious concerns.
“To put it more bluntly, it is pure evil and utter disgrace for the NDC to organize its supporters to go and shout down the President in the manner it happened.
“As a matter of fact, the mean-spirited treatment of President Akufo-Addo and the fact that the president’s appearance prompted loud and sustained boos and jeers from partisan NDC crowd at the global citizen event crossed some bright lines.”
This position is what the NDC’s Sammy Gyamfi, in his statement, strongly disagrees and even describes as an insult.
The NDC Communications Director, in response, noted: “This latest attempt by the NPP to blame the NDC for the monumental embarrassment that befell President Akufo-Addo at the Global Citizen musical concert is not only insulting to the sensibilities of Ghanaians but also underscores the fact that this government and their hired apologists are simply oblivious of our present reality or perhaps they are underestimating the anger of the Ghanaian people.”
He noted further that “clearly, the youth of Ghana have long lost faith in President Akufo-Addo and can no longer take his empty rhetorics. Ghanaians in general can no longer identify with President Akufo-Addo and Vice President Alhaji Bawumia who continue to mismanage the economy and abuse the public purse with reckless abandon. They have no trust for leaders who continue to lie to them and have shown no genuine desire to address their worsening living conditions. This is the hard truth that the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government must come to the terms with.
“Any attempt to belittle the spontaneous angry protest of such a vastly heterogeneous crowd is to turn a deaf ear on the felt needs of the Ghanaian people. The mess that this NPP-Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has brought upon Ghanaians will not be solved by farcical blaming of political opponents. It is about time government woke up to smell the coffee.”
Gyampo Wades In
Professor Ransford Gyampo, of the Political Science Department of the University of Ghana, has meanwhile condemned the heckling incident through a piece he authored for his Facebook page.
“I speak for Ghana and I don’t care swimming against the tide, particularly when I know that, human beings are generally creatures of emotions and not creatures of logic. I insist we cannot throw our culture of courtesy, respect and civility to the dogs. The OFFICE and POSITION of the PRESIDENCY that transcends the individual occupying it, MUST be respected by ALL, regardless of its occupant and irrespective of how we feel against the occupant of the OFFICE,” Prof. Gyampo noted.
He noted further: “Yes, we are hungry but we cannot eat with both hands when we find food. A few party appointees are enjoying, even in times of hardships, and are asking the rest of us to keep tightening our belt. The President’s speech writers who are obviously out of touch with the economic miserization of the people, keep writing flowery and utopian speeches for the President, in a manner that plays on the emotional keyboards of Ghanaians. But I end by insisting that we are still Ghanaians, a well cultured people and must go back to our values that found a decent way of expressing dissent. We know the lines between disagreements, criticisms and disrespect and we must keep the boundaries. We also know the lines between the PRESIDENCY and the President as well as the OFFICE and the PERSON who occupies it. Let us keep these boundaries for the sake of national cohesion and development. This is my position both as a Normative Political Scientist and a Logical Positivist.”