The Regional Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Volta, James Gunu is urging assembly members in the region to reject outrightly, President Addo Akufo-Addo’s nominees for the position of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Executives (MMDCEs) until the land borders are opened.
Mr Gunu, who is currently waging a crusade, advocating for the rejection of the MMDCE nominees in the region said, his campaign is not to achieve any political gain.
According to him, all assemblymen from both side of the political divide mustcome together, put politics aside and join forces to pressure the governmentin order to relief traders and the people in the region from economic hardship as a result of the closure of the bordersoccasioned by COVID-19 outbreak in March 2020.
He explained that, the effect as a result of continuous closure of the borders is not affecting only supporters of the NDC alone, but also, followers of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP)are also being affected, particularly the women who arestruggling.
“The closure of the land border is having negative effects on the local economic development of the assemblies, and I’m surprised the regional minister and his MDCEs are not making enough case for the president to open the borders,” the NDC scribe told The Herald in a phone interview.
There has been pressure on the Akufo-Addo-led government to open the land borders in the country, leading to demonstrations at Aflao and subsequently by the people of Jomoro in the Western Region demanding the opening of the Ivory Coast border.
The demonstrators claimed the closure of the borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has brought untold hardships to the people living in border towns in the country.
During the Aflao protest, the residents who turned out in their numbers for the much talked about, “Open Our Borders Now” said they had suffered particularly economic hardship since the closure of the border.
The demonstration,which began at 0800hours and lasted for three hours saw the demonstrators clad in red, march through the principal streets before rounding up at Victoria Park, Aflao.
Among inscriptions on placards the demonstrators carried read, “Closing Ghana-Togo border-locking down Aflao, Border closure collapses our business, Hunger is more deadly, Open our borders to save lives, African leaders and Clearing agents are suffering.”
Some of the demonstrators said they did not mind walking even for the whole day to tell the world of their suffering adding, the President needed to hear their plea.
“Aflao is synonymous with the border. You don’t have to say Aflao, just the border is enough. And to say that over a year and half our land borders have remained shut. We’ve endured so much. I used to buy stock from Togo for my business but since then, I’ve not been able to do anything.
As I speak to you now, I’m dried up. This is not just about me. All of us here who have come out are facing one challenge or the other. We need Mr President to open the land border so Aflao can live again. We’re dying,” Madam Patience Ama Bekoe lamented.
Mr Vincent Yao Adzogah, a border resident later read to the protesters, the petition copied to President Akufo-Addo, Mr Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, ECOWAS President, Mr Faure Gnassingbé, Togolese President and Togbuiga Adzongaga AmenyaFiti V, Paramount Chief of Aflao Traditional Area through Mr Eliot Agbenorwu, Municipal Chief Executive for Ketu South.
The petition cited broken social and economic ties, shattering of the hospitality industry and the transport sector resulting from the continuous border closure to make a case for the borders to be opened.
“It is now very clear that this virus has come to stay, hence, the need for the government to strike a balance between containing the virus and maintaining the day-to-day economic activities that millions of Ghanaians living along the border depend on to survive.
Currently, the pandemic and its resultant border closures, trade restrictions, and confinement measures have affected the entire domestic food system of the border communities, most especially Aflao, therefore, threatening food security. The ripple effect has been a dying local economy, reduced access to health care, and job losses.”