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Ghanaian Pressure Group Demands Action From New Administration

A non-political pressure group in Ghana is demanding the new government immediately address what it described as the unbearable standard of living after the recent fuel price increases. The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) said it would resist any policy that is not in the interest of the ordinary Ghanaian. The group also said there was need for President John Evans Atta-Mills to keep his promise of investigating and punishing the masterminds of the killing of a local chief and at least forty of his elders.

Bernard Morna is a leading member of the CJA. He told VOA the government needs to get its act together in alleviating the suffering of the masses.

"Well, straight to the issues that the CJA has concerns about the way governance is done in this country and that in the past we said this to the NPP (New Patriotic Party) administration, which were not properly addressed," Morma said. "And also to remind the government that the people of Ghana cannot tolerate the current cost of living that confronts us today."

He described as inadequate reasons assigned by the government to the recent increase in fuel prices despite the fact that crude oil prices dropped sharply worldwide.

"The recent fuel price increase cannot be justified by the government's claim that crude oil prices at the world market are what dictate the domestic prices that people pay. We asked the government to explore other alternative sources of revenue rather than rely heavily on fuel price," he said.

Morna said his group is not overly enthused about the recent sale of the country's telecommunication giant to United Kingdom-based Vodaphone.

"We have also asked the Atta-Mills government to take a serious review of the surrender of Ghana telecom to Vodaphone. We believe that it is critical to ensure that the people of Ghana get value for their assets," Morna said.

He said although the new administration is getting its act together to address concerns of the ordinary Ghanaian it was important for members of the administration to be reminded of why they are there.

"It is important to note that the Atta-Mills administration took effect from January 3rd and that if there is any calamity in this country the Mills administration must be held accountable or be held responsible. So, to that extent, it is important to continue to remind them of what might be expected of them so that they can manifest their manifesto of promises of a better Ghana to the people of Ghana," he said.

Morna said he is of the view that the government does not have all the time in the world to begin alleviating the suffering of the masses.

"If we allow time it will become like the NPP administration where four years passed and then they kept on telling us that they have not been in government for long. We want the Mills administration to succeed," Morna said.

He said the new administration has not made its intentions known about when to begin the investigation into the recent killings of a paramount chief and at least 40 of his elders.

"We've not yet received official response from the government. But it is obvious if you have a chief whose palace was attacked continuously for three days there cannot be any government that is responsible will not even know that such acts were going on. That will just mean that the government was not up to the task of protecting the nation and that that can happen in modern Ghana is to tell you that there can be some level of government complicity. And we don't think that anybody should be shielded from this act," he said.

Morna said failure of the new administration to investigate and bring to justice the masterminds of the massacre would set a dangerous precedent.

"If we don't find the perpetrators or the killers of the Ya Na (chief) and the 40 others, I am sure that our society will be indirectly informed that after all any group of persons can mount an assault or attack on a chief's palace and they can kill the chief. And once you succeed, you can go scot-free," Morna said.

Meanwhile, Ya Na Yakubu Andani II who was the paramount chief in the Dagbon State of Ghana was killed in 2002 in deadly clashes between the Abudu and the Andani gates of the traditional area.

The pressure group said the perpetrators of the crime against the Dagbon state are alive and well and living in the society with impunity.