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General News of Tuesday, 16 June 2015


OccupyGhana not in turmoil - Casely-Hayford

The leaders of pressure group, OccupyGhana have denied that the group is struggling to resolve its internal problems which have ultimately led to some members leaving the group.

“OccupyGhana is not in turmoil and has never been in turmoil…Fight, internal battles, big egos? No!” said Sydney Casely-Hayford on Eyewitness News.

Last week, one of the leading members of OccupyGhana, Kofi Bentil issued a press statement announcing the formation of a new group called CitizenGhana Movement.

The statement indicated that the new group is a rebranding of Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRC); the group which organized OccupyFlagstaffHouse in July 2014.

The statement strictly clarified that the new group “is an entirely different entity from OccupyGhana.”

Since this announcement was made, there have been rumors of serious internal wrangling within OccupyGhana over the structure and direction of the group.

Some also say that the decision by one of its core members, George Andah to contest an election on the ticket of a political party; the New Patriotic Party (NPP) caused the split.

However, Casely-Hayford, who is one of the core members of OccupyGhana, insisted that the rumours are untrue.

He explained that OccupyGhana’s methodology “is to do things through the due process of the law and as much as possible, to ensure that we bring permanent change to whatever we decide to address.”

“The way OccupyGhana wants to do things and the way this group wants to do things diverge at a certain point. OccupyGhana is not a movement that at the drop of a hat, organizes a let’s go and march demonstration movement. That is not what we believe in.”

Who formed OccupyGhana?

Casely-Hayford pointed out that none of the core members who formed OccupyGhana are a part of the new group.

“The core group of OccupyGhana are here today – I am OccupyGhana, Ace Ankomah is OccupyGhana, Franklin Cudjoe is OccupyGhana, George Andah is OccupyGhana; we have not gone anywhere.”

According to him, the core members of OccupyGhana were already in talks to form a group to put government and other state institutions on their toes; however, the group did not have a name.

But after lending their support to the CGRG to organize OccupFlagstaffHouse protest, the leaders of the CGRG decided to join them and OccupyGhana was formed.

“CGRG virtually collapsed and most of their members drifted to OccupyGhana which already existed,” he narrated.

In a sharp rebuttal, one of the leading members of the CGRG, George Anti discounted Sydney’s claims.

He claimed that the “CGRG together with other well-meaning Ghanaians including Sydney Casely-Hayford and others who are in OccupyGhana today came together and formed what has now come to be known as OccupyGhana from scratch.”

“We all sat and drew up the vision for OccupyGhana, the mission for OccupyGhana, the projects that we were going to undertake and we all decided on how we are going to undertake those projects…the first mention you will see of OccupyGhana in any official document is on a CGRG press release where we introduced OcupyGhana as the movement wing of the CGRG.”

Why the new group?

According to George Anti, the CitizenGhana Movement was formed because “the vision with which we formed OccupyGhana was not fully being met…when we formed OccupyGhana, it was intended to be a movement.”

Take us seriously

Casely-Hayford nonetheless said CitizenGhana Movement has the blessing of OccupyGhana because “we always said in OccupyGhana that the more CSOs and the more protest groups and the more movements we have and the more divergent attacks we have on trying to bring in good governance, it’s good for the country.”

He said despite the split, Ghanaians should take OccupyGhana seriously since the group is “one of the most forceful forces in this country today for anti-corruption and for good governance and we have a testimony, we have a track record.”

“Let us many of us peel away as possible and go and form their own groups if they choose to do so. There is nothing wrong with having a plethora of groups.”