Accra, October 4, 2023
A Former Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Mr. Abu Kasangbata has suggested the need for ECOWAS and international organizations involvement in Ghana’s economic challenges.
He said organizations such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other diplomatic communities as well as external development partners should take an interest in the country’s growing “economic meltdown”.
Mr. Kasangbata was speaking in an interview with thefourlens.com in Accra on Tuesday on the sidelines of NDC organized demo, dubbed “occupy BoG”, a protest over the alleged mismanagement of state funds and government’s inability to address challenges facing the Ghana economy.
Mr. Kasangbata explained ECOWAS and other Diplomatic Communities involvement “is seen as a crucial step in safeguarding the image of Ghana’s multi-party democracy and participatory government”.
According to him, various stakeholders including political parties, people in the creative arts industries, market women, fishermen, fishmongers, civil society organizations, taxi drivers’ associations came together with shared concerns during the occupy BoG demonstration.
Others are the Ghana Hotel Association, the Ghana Private Road Transport Union and Road Contractors Association, Mr. Kasangbata mentioned.
The former Dept. Regional Minister with the Ex- President Mahama administration emphasized that the government should not only respect these concerns, but also as matter of urgency address them with effective policies and programs.
Mr. Kasangbata stated the measures and policies to address these economic concerns are vital in mitigating the growing suffering experienced by Ghanaians and their businesses.
But, he alleged there is “apparent disrespect and disregard for public opinion by the ruling government under the leadership of President Nana Akufo-Addo”.
Mr. Kasangbata said the shift in behavior by leadership of current government has led to growing frustration and disappointment among the populace.
This leadership approach which appears to disregard public opinion and accountability is deemed unacceptable, he stressed.
He cited Civil Society Organizations which were championing the course of the people are also seem to be facing a diminishing level of respect and acknowledgment.
Touching on the situation of utility tariffs, the former Dept. Minister expressed much worry about the consistent increment of utility bills.
He said the situation has brought economic hardship, greatly affecting the living conditions of Ghanaians.
Mr. Kasangbata attributed the utility increments practice to what he termed as one of the “hard-core IMF conditionalities with detrimental impact on productivity and the overall welfare of the Ghanaian population”.
On Democracy, the former Dept. Regional Minister stated being a symbol of democracy in Africa does not grant a free pass to cross the red light of democratic principles.
He alleged there is a troubling erosion of democracy within the Ghanaian political landscape.
Saying, Ghana has long been hailed as a beacon of democracy in Africa, but recent events have raised questions about the direction in which the nation is heading.
In some countries, Mr. Kasangbata said “erosion of democratic values and the emergence of leadership paralysis have led to dire consequences”.
This is a “stark reminder that no nation, regardless of its democratic heritage, is immune to such challenges”, he added.
Mr. Kasangbata said the preservation of democratic values and principles transcends partisan lines and should unite citizens in their commitment to a thriving democracy.
He was uncomfortable with what he called “growing frustration” from the side of law enforcement agencies and their handling of public demonstrations.
Despite the challenges and disappointments, he underscores the unwavering socioeconomic and democratic will of the Ghanaian citizenry.
Mr. Kasangbata observed the collective resolve remains solid and consolidated, symbolizing a determination to push for positive change in the nation.
He said the demonstrations are wake-up call and an opportunity for the government to address the economic challenges that have plagued the nation.
Mr. Kasangbata urged the government to have a listening ear, because the actions also emphasize the resilience and determination of the people to see positive change in their nation for the betterment of the citizenry.