Photo by Vlad Tchompalov

We named our protest #occupybogdemo to draw attention to the economic hardship affecting many people, causing poverty and hopelessness. Every sector of society joined us - young and old, women and men, disabled and able-bodied - to express their anger at the current state of affairs. Our movement was spearheaded by the minority in parliament and other prominent members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). We demanded the immediate dismissal of the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta. We also called for a significant overhaul of the government's economic management team, hoping to change the country's economic fortunes for the better.

During the protest, several leaders were present, including Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, the minority leader in parliament, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah, the national chairman of the NDC, Sam George, the NDC member of parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sammy Gyamfi, the national communication officer of the NDC, and Godwin Kudzo Tameklo, the director of legal affairs of the NDC. Some of the placards carried messages such as "Debt is killing us," "Bawumia, Ken, Addison, the day of reckoning is coming," "Addison must go," "Students are suffering," and "Misgovernor Addison." The protesters, resembling scenes from the fight for independence, sat on the ground and sang patriotic songs when they reached the construction site of the new $250 million BOG headquarters at Ridge.

One of the leaders of the protest expressed their concern about the exorbitant cost of building a new headquarters, while people on dialysis struggle to afford necessary treatment, some even losing their lives. The crowd chanted loudly in support of the protest. Hajia Halima, a protester, mentioned that she joined the demonstration because of the tax imposed on sanitary pads. Another protester named Adjei explained that he had lost his job during the banking sector clean-up and participated in the protest to draw attention to the government's disregard for their suffering and that of others. The minority in parliament accused Dr. Addison and his deputies of mismanaging the central bank, engaging in illegal activities, and enabling the government's reckless spending by printing over GH¢22 billion without parliamentary approval, surpassing the bank's prescribed limits. The Bank of Ghana, however, denies these allegations and clarifies that the amount in question represents the government's net claims rather than new currency printed to support the government's budget.

During the presentation of the annual report and financial statement by the Central Bank, showing a significant loss of GH¢60.8 billion (equivalent to $6 billion) and a negative equity of over GH¢55.1 billion, the minority in Parliament accused Dr. Addison and called for his resignation. This led to the #occupybogdemo protest and the presentation of a petition to the governor. However, the governor was unavailable to receive the petition, and it was received by the director of safety and security instead, which did not sit well with the protesters. The minority leader deemed it disrespectful that the governor did not receive the petition himself and vowed to continue with the protest until their demands were met. The protesters emphasized their determination to continue with the protest until the governor personally received their petition.

We, the protesters, wanted to end our protest at the bog headquarters, but the police insisted that it was a security zone and not open for protests. They even took legal action to stop us from demonstrating. During yesterday's protest, the police approved a route for us, but instead of ending the protest at the agreed-upon location, we decided to go to the bog headquarters, leading to a standoff with the police. They had already cordoned off the road, and we had to negotiate with them to be allowed to present our petition to the bog. We did not want any confrontation with the police. Eventually, we were allowed to cross the barricade under police escort, led by Dr Ato Forson.