General News of Wednesday, 2 July 2014
A Presidential Staffer, Dr. Michael Kpesah Whyte, has stated that ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ demonstrators were ignorant of some of the policies introduced by government to address the challenges facing the country, hence the decision to protest.
“Maybe, just maybe, these concerns would not have made the space in the paper if we had engaged the public a lot more,” he said.
He clarified that it is important for Ghanaians to understand that the government is not deliberately imposing hardship on people.
A group of concerned Ghanaians on Tuesday embarked on a demonstration to protest government’s inability to urgently address issues hindering the nation’s development.
They later presented a petition to the President, received by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Valery Sawyer.
The petition contained a list of concerns the group wanted the government to address including the erratic supply of electricity nationwide, unreliable supply of potable water across the country, the ever-depreciating value of the cedi, constant increases in taxes, inefficient revenue collection and very poor road networks.
The group also wanted government to address among other issues, the constant increments in utility tariffs, the frequent increase in prices of petroleum products, government’s inability to make statutory payments timeously to schools, health facilities and other state institutions and government’s inability to address labour-related issues on a timely basis.
Responding to these concerns on the Citi Breakfast Show, Dr. Whyte said: “The concerns actually validate some of the things government is doing already.”
He stated that the President is not oblivious to the hardship the populace is going through, adding that the protestors should not assume that “it is the case that nothing has been done.”
The Presidential Staffer said the demands of the demonstrators mean government officials should engage the public more on government interventions.
He opined that a lot of social and political commentators “lack a lot of information which probably may not entirely be their fault.”
Dr. Whyte served notice that the government’s communication team will aggressively put into the public domain, “information on government programmes and policies and why government is doing things the way it is doing.”
He bemoaned the assertion that government ordered the heavy Police presence during the demonstration adding that, “they [Police] may be exposed to certain facts…and I think based on the content of those particular facts, the decided to provide that kind of security they did.”