Hundreds of people yesterday marched through the principal streets of Kumasi to protest against what they described as ‘defiance Electoral Commission (EC)’, for refusing to conduct a validation exercise on the voter register.
Dubbed ‘Baamuyadda’ Hausa Word, meaning to wit, ‘We Shall Not Agree’, the demonstration was led by political pressure groups, Let My Vote Count (LMVC) and Movement for Change and political parties, namely The New Patriotic Party (NPP), and the Conventions Peoples’ Party (CPP).
Clad in red and black apparels and singing dirges and war songs, the protesters demanded that the EC, particularly, its Commissioner, Mrs Charlotte Osei, abide by the recommendation of the EC’s Committee, led by Professor V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe, to validate the voters roll before the November 7 general elections.
Some head porters (kayeyes) held in their hands their head pans while most of the protestors carried placards, some of which read: ‘No STL in 2016’, ‘8 Years Is Enough’, ‘Who Controls STL’, ‘Charlotte Working For Mahama’, ‘No More Rigging’, ‘EC Must Sit Up’ and others, as they made their way from Suame through to Adum and, later converged at the Abbey’s Park at Ashanti New Town.
Not only did the demonstration attract a huge following, the protestors received massive support and endorsement from most passerbys and bystanders along the routes where they walked.
Ashanti Regional Chairman of the NPP, Antwi Bosiako, popularly known as Chairman ‘Wontumi’, said ‘right thinking Ghanaians must kick against the usage of the current voters register for the upcoming elections’.
He said though the V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe committee, set up by the EC to look into the concerns over the credibility of the voters’ register, has recommended the voters roll needed to be validated, the EC was defiant because that brightens the chances of the sitting President John Dramani Mahama’s zeal of retaining power in the polls.
“The EC says that soon there would be a limited registration. And we want to ask, what is the EC doing about validation? He queried. The current register is not credible unless it is validated but the EC wants to force it on us because that brightens the chances of the President in the November elections.”
Mr Bosiako said though the EC is supposed to serve Ghanaians, “it is obvious that they want to serve the interest of one political party and their candidate.
The EC wants to force an unreliable voters’ register on us but, we would never agree. The EC after setting up the V.C.R.A.C. Crabbe committee now wants to run away from its recommendations, and that we would not agree”.
One of the kayayes, Fuseina Andani Talewere, told The Ghanaian Times, that Kayayes joined the protest based on their conviction that the current government was not working to their best interest.
According to her, the government’s slow pace at solving the power crisis which plagued the country since 2013, had led to the collapse of several businesses and reduced the amount of loads they carry in a day.
“I came to Kumasi in 2007 and then business was very booming,” said the
31-year old woman from Zebilla in the Upper East Region. “I came here with two other friends and two others joined us in 2010. But, all of them have left for Zebilla within the last three years because business had been extremely bad,” she said.
“The Dumsor has collapsed people’s businesses and that is affecting us. People no longer buy goods in large quantities as they used to do. And a chunk of those who do also carry their goods themselves rather than engaging us because they want to save that little money they would pay for our services,” she added.
From Kingsley E. Hope, Kumasi