Not All Demonstrations are Created Equal: Occupy Flagstaff House

When feelings of resentment against Ghana’s ruling government reach a certain threshold, the Ghanaian’s first course of action is to stage a protest.
The goal of every protest is to ensure that previously ignored grievances receive the attention they deserve. Some protests like the June 2014 “Ya y3 den” demonstration in Kumasi have had tremendous turnouts, while others bring out a relatively small turnout.
On the 1st of July 2014, a group of concerned Ghanaians converged at the Ghana Flagstaff House to present their list of complaints to the presidency.
The group’s decision to stage their protest on July 1st was symbolic as the date historically represents the day that all Ghanaians gained their constitutional rights. Although the group had a fairly strong social media campaign to drive up interest about its decision to stage a peaceful protest, the turnout was fairly discouraging.
Accounts from the various media houses indicate that assemblage was in the low hundreds. This poor turnout was very discouraging as its roots were non-partisan and relevant to Ghana’s present socio-economic state. Videos circulating on the web showed protesters carrying placards and marching purposefully towards the Ghanaian seat of presidency to present their petition to the Office of the President.
Despite the turnout, the protesters resisted all attempts to make their cause political. They were seen booing a senior member of the country’s leading opposing party who attempted to join the march.
The low turnout prompted a series of tweets from official twitter account of Hon Hannah Tetteh, Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, which appear to make a little jest of the turnout.
Although the tweets came from the account of the honorable minister, she might not have personally sent out the tweets as most twitter accounts of politicians are managed by their support staff. However, she could have come out publicly to chastise the staff member who sent out the tweet in order to absolve her from the charge of being insensitive to the plight of the Ghanaian population.
A similar demonstration to air out grievances about the state of the country was organized in Kumasi by the country’s main opposition party the New Patriotic Party (NPP). That politically motivated demonstration had a great turnout so much so that the party was accused by the ruling government of busing people from all over the country in order to have a mammoth turnout. This was a charge the NPP denied.
Could the organizers of the Occupy Flagstaff House have received a better turnout if it had encouraged other members of the country’s opposition party to join them in their demonstration?
Although the turnout was not as high as expected, the organizers of Occupy Flagstaff house have to be commended for standing up for a cause they believed in.