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Nana Akufo-Addo and the 1995 Kume Preko Demonstration

By Caleb Qwofi Right Sep21,2023
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Nana Akufo-Addo and the 1995 Kume Preko Demonstration 3

In 1995, Ghana was under the rule of President Jerry John Rawlings, who had come to power in a coup eight years earlier. Rawlings had initially been popular, but by the mid-1990s, the economy was struggling and many Ghanaians were unhappy with his government.

One of the main sources of discontent was the introduction of a Value Added Tax (VAT) in 1994. The VAT was a new tax that was applied to a wide range of goods and services. Many Ghanaians felt that the VAT was unfair and would only make them poorer.

In response to the growing public anger, a group of Ghanaian activists organized a series of demonstrations against the government. The demonstrations were known as the “Kume Preko” protests, which means “Kill me once and for all” in the Twi language.

One of the leaders of the Kume Preko protests was Nana Akufo-Addo, who was then a lawyer and human rights activist. Akufo-Addo was a vocal critic of the Rawlings government and had been arrested and imprisoned several times for his political activities.

On May 11, 1995, the largest Kume Preko protest took place in Accra, the capital of Ghana. An estimated 100,000 people took to the streets to demand that the government repeal the VAT and address the other economic problems facing the country.

The protest was initially peaceful, but it turned violent when unidentified assailants opened fire on the crowd. Several people were killed and many others were injured.

The Kume Preko protests were a turning point in Ghanaian politics. They helped to raise awareness of the economic problems facing the country and they put pressure on the Rawlings government to make reforms.

Although the government did not repeal the VAT, it did announce a number of other economic measures in response to the protests. The Kume Preko protests also helped to pave the way for Ghana’s transition to democracy in 1996.

Nana Akufo-Addo’s participation in the Kume Preko protests helped to establish him as a leading figure in Ghanaian politics. He went on to become the leader of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and was elected President of Ghana in 2016.

Akufo-Addo’s presidency has been marked by both successes and challenges. He has overseen a period of economic growth, but he has also been criticized for his handling of corruption and other issues.

Despite his critics, Akufo-Addo remains a popular figure in Ghana. He is seen by many as a symbol of democracy and hope.

The Kume Preko demonstration was a significant event in Ghanaian history. It was a powerful example of the power of people to stand up to an oppressive government and demand change.

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