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Idea for ‘kume preko’ demo was celebrated at Akufo-Addo’s birthday – Kwesi Pratt recounts

Idea for ‘kume preko’ demo was celebrated at Akufo-Addo’s birthday – Kwesi Pratt recounts

Some leaders of the demonstration in a group photo

Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr has revealed how the infamous ‘Kume Preko’ demonstration in 1995 was conceptualized.

In a narration on Accra-based Asaase Radio’s Sunday Night show, Pratt said the organizers tapped into a general feeling of social discontent at the then Jerry John Rawlings government.

He said the idea to organize a mass movement happened by chance at the birthday of one of the 11 conveners and current President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

He recounted: “It happened by chance… what actually happened was, I think it was at the birthday of Nana Akufo-Addo and it was organized by Nii Adjiri Blankson, who is now a member of the Council of State.

“And at this birthday, spontaneously it was felt that the time was ripe for some mass manifestation of anger and so on, so that is where it began,” he added.

According to Pratt, he was not at the said party but had been invited to join a day later, “and we all thought that if there is an opportunity to manifest the anger of ordinary people, let’s go for it, so that is what happened,” he stressed.

About the Kume Preko demonstration

Some 27 years ago, the biggest demonstration to have occurred in Ghana’s history took place.

Those at the forefront of this protest were Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr Charles Wreko Brobbey, Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Dr Nayarko Tamakloe, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako, Akoto Ampaw, Victor Newman, Kwaku Opoku, Napoleon Abdulai and was also joined by some 100,000 people.

What was termed as the high cost of living and particularly, the imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on items fuelled the demonstration against the then Rawlings administration.

According to reports, it was a period in which able-bodied and hardworking citizens could not afford one decent meal a day for a family.

In addition, the drop-out rate in educational institutions was said to be rising at a very alarming rate.

However, what started as a peaceful protest turned gory when some unidentified assailants opened fire on the demonstrators.

Many sustained severe injuries and others died from the attacks.

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