Thousands of anti-government protesters marched through the streets of Ghana’s capital, Accra, under the slogan “#FixTheCountry” the latest rally against President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government.
The social media campaign has gained momentum in recent months amidst calls for action to address the country’s economic and social challenges.
But dressed in red and black as well as chanting patriotic songs, protesters waved placards declaring “corruption breeds poverty” and “fix our education system now” as they marched in the city centre.
Some on the streets criticised the president’s decision to build a $200 million national cathedral – arguing that bigger priorities including education and housing needed to be addressed.
Wednesday’s rally marks the most recent anti-government protest since March when a top court dismissed the main opposition party’s challenge to Akufo-Addo’s re-election late last year.
Akufo-Addo won a second term with only a small majority in parliament. But the Ghanaian leader has since been under pressure as the West African country struggles with economic troubles worsened by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Nana Akufo-Addo, we’re suffering. Do something for us. Nothing is working,” said 28-year-old protester Frederick Koomson. “The government must wake up.”
Ghana is often applauded as one of the stable democracies in a region troubled by political strife and religious violence.
But last year’s tightly contested vote heightened political tensions.
With the economy hit hard by the pandemic, the government has introduced new taxes and high fuel prices have also hiked the cost of some basic goods and services.
Lead by social media activists, the #FixTheCountry protest on Twitter has been highlighting economic problems and government management.
“If the political authorities will not fix this country, we want to tell them that we are capable of destroying their career because we brought them to power,” said Fatima Mensah, a 35-year-old activist.
Some criticised Afuko-Addo’s project to build a new $200 million national cathedral, a pledge he says he made after his 2016 election victory.