The Outspoken New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP), for Assin-Central, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, yesterday collapsed the Trades Union Congress (TUC), by asking workers across the country to hoot at the Secretary-General, Kofi Asamoah for calling for a nationwide demonstration against the government.
Speaking ahead of the demonstration, Ken Agyapong said, the TUC boss has no moral right to lead a nationwide demonstration against the Mahama government.
Turnout was low across the country with the Police outnumbering the demonstrators in most of the regional capitals.
In Accra, the demonstration was dwarfed by the second anniversary celebration of the demise of the President, John Evans Atta Mills.
In spite of attempt to cajole people to join the demonstration and bring the country to a standstill, this did not happen as many people went about their daily event in a normal way. TUC-owned buses, refused to pick people to their work places, but other transport owners did.
State-owned Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB) branch in Kwame Nkrumah Circle – Accra was closed to customers, but other banks operated with people seen depositing and withdrawing money.
In Accra, the demonstration turned out to be one of the swiftest demonstrations, lasting for only one and half hours, as compared to Kume Preko and Wahala demonstrations, held in the city.
Yesterday’s nationwide demonstration declared by the TUC was in protest against what it described as general economic hardship, characterized by the current hikes in petroleum prices, the fall of the Ghana cedi against major trading currencies and high cost of living.
But Ken Agyapong on Adom FM/Asempa FM’s Burning Issues with Afia Pokua, said Kofi Asamoah is a corrupt person and does not have proper standing and integrity to lead a demonstration.
He said the TUC Boss was a member of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Board, which signed the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz, and he must rather apologize to Ghanaians.
“Kofi Asamoah is part of the problems in the country and must be beaten by workers when he appears at the demonstration grounds,” he said.
He described Kofi Asamoah as a disgrace to Ghanaian workers, saying “he has been at the forefront of most corrupt practices in the country.”
Ken Agyapong is therefore calling on workers to boycott the demonstration in protest against Kofi Asamoah.
“Workers should not take Kofi Asamoah serious. He is selfish, corrupt and has not got the welfare of workers in the country at heart. He is in bed with the government and thinks he can fool Ghanaians,” Agyapong alleged.
He described Kofi Asamoah as a “hypocrite” and an “intellectually dishonest person” who has sold his conscience.
But Kofi Asamoah said Ken Agyapong has no basis for making those allegations, so he is not ready to debate him.
He said Ken Agyapong’s allegations are mischievous because “I am not the only SSNIT Board member and the sale of Merchant Bank to Fortiz has been explained by the board so I don’t know why Ken Agyapong wants to put it on me.”
The TUC Boss accused Ken Agyapong of trying to divide the front of the TUC with his baseless accusations, saying “TUC is bigger than me and I advise members of the union to ignore him.”
In Cape Coast, in the Central Region, the number was low with about five hundred (500) protesters on the streets to demand government action on the worsening economic situation.
Joy News’ correspondent, Richard Kwadwo Nyarko reports that the demonstrators want the President to take decisive action to curb corruption in his administration, as well as bring looters of the state coffers to book.
They also criticise the executive of lacking creative ideas to govern the country.
Placards held by the protesters read among others: “Stop looting, increase our salaries, is our government suffering from Acquired Intelligence Deficiency Syndrome?” among others.
In Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, Sampson Nyamekye described the protest as a peaceful one.
According to him, workers clad in red and black attire, gathered as early as 6 am ready to partake in the demonstration.
Even though most of the regions recorded a high turnout for the demonstration, Volta Region had a low turnout according to our reporter.
The low turnout did not discourage the rest of the workers who were determined to send their message across to government.
In Ho, the demonstrators asked President Mahama to step down following the inability of his administration to tackle present economic challenges.
The workers are demonstrating against economic challenges workers and Ghanaians as a whole are facing currently.
Organised Labour has said Thursday’s demonstration is inspired by the current hikes in petroleum prices, the fall of the Ghana’s cedi against major trading currencies and high cost of living.
Joy News’ Volta regional correspondent, Ivy Setordzie, reported that the demonstrators, drawn from various labour unions, converged at the Civic Centre in Ho around 6am.
She reported that the Ghana Police Service mobilized about 200 men and women to provide security for the protesters.
Some of the placards the demonstrators held urged the president to resign while others also urged him to “use oil revenue to provide more infrastructure”.
Ivy Setordzie also reported that demonstrators will meet the Volta regional Minister, Helen Ntoso to present their petition.
The leadership of the Organised Labour and TUC decided to end the demonstration at the Black Star Square (Independence Square) instead of the Hearts of Oak park, as initially planned.
According to him, the leaders in collaboration with the Ghana Police Service made this decision, because of the large crowd that joined the demonstration.
Some of the demonstrators were holding placards with inscriptions which read; “Mahama we are tired,” “Rise up workers of Ghana,” “Don’t sell GNPC,” “Our economy is now on life support…’’
Speaking to the highly charged crowd, the TUC boss, Kofi Asamoah, bemoaned the difficulties and hardship being faced by Ghanaians in the country and called on President John Dramani Mahama to as a matter of urgency put the economy back on track.
He complained of the high cost of living, high utility tariffs, daily increment of prices on the market, the continuous fall of the cedi amongst others.
Mr Asamoah on behalf of Organised Labour then presented a petition to the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu.
The Minister on his part, assured the demonstrators that things would soon stabilise in the economy.
According to him, government is doing everything possible to ensure that conditions change for the better. He also promised to forward their petition to the President.