Ghana's celebrities end freedom march against darkness

Ghana's celebrities end freedom march against darkness
Source: Ghana||Nathan Gadugah
Date: 18-05-2015 Time: 08:05:11:am

Thousands of Ghanaians seething with anger and frustration over a three-year power crisis have ended a historic celebrity vigil here at Tetteh Quarshie in Accra, Saturday evening. 

In a scene almost synonymous to the Soweto freedom walk by Nelson Mandela, fighting the shackles of Apartheid in South Africa, Ghanaian actress Yvonne Nelson and a number of actors, musicians led a multitude of depressed Ghanaians strangulated by a paralysed power sector in a less than a kilometre protest walk.

The stars deserted the screens; abandoned the studios, forsook the microphones and  descended on Accra's streets, Saturday, because they, like many Ghanaians, had felt the heat of a power crisis which appears to see no end despite a sweat-dropping effort by government.

But Van Vicker, a famous actor and one of the leaders of the vigil, was in no mood to accept just the efforts by government. He wanted results. He wanted electricity. Many wanted same.


After a long struggle to fend off perceived detractors, who plotted to scuttle the vigil; after a needless boundary dispute between two traditional councils in the Ga state, the celebrities finally hit the roads carrying with them torchlights, candlesticks, lanterns and any form of light, some of which were strapped around their foreheads like galamsey miners and pushed through the dark night on a busy road from Legon bridge to Tetteh Quarshie amidst chants and demands for a quick fix to an age old crisis.

It was one of the biggest crowds recorded in recent times for any form of demonstration. The crowd mostly made up of the youth had a fair representation of middle class business men, acclaimed lawyers, Members of Parliament all in attendance, groaning about the eternal darkness they could no longer bear.

At around 4:30 pm the organisers were set to move; Up from Legon hill they descended towards Tetteh Quarshie, peacefully, chanting in groups and brandishing placards some of which blamed the president for the darkness Ghanaians have been plunged into.

Others carried coffins, fridges on their heads for the entire journey displaying how much of a disaster the dumsor has been to them and their families.

The crowd though large, was for the most part, peaceful until they saw Halidu Haruna and a man who was spotted in a T-shirt with the inscription "Mahama will succeed".

The young man had his shirt ripped apart by some members of the demonstration who did not want to see any party paraphernalia at the venue. They left him bare-chested.

Halidu's nightmare; Oscar's u-turn?

The #dumsormuststop vigil came with a fight, a relentless struggle to uphold a constitutional right in the face of palpable opposition by some government spokespersons, artistes and a traditional council.

Two of the worst critics of the dumsormuststop vigil, Halidu Haruna, a government communicator and David Oscar, a comedian, found their way to the vigil grounds and were treated to mixed reception.

Oscar, like the prodigal son, had to explain himself over and over again why he made a quick u-turn to join a vigil he had so much criticised.

With a bold face, the comedian represented, sharing candlesticks and taking selfies with some of the protestors. 

Halidu Haruna, who had called lead organisers - Lydia Forson and Yvonne Nelson - as prostitutes would not be forgiven by the crowd despite his sincere apologies to the two.

He was hounded and chased out of the vigil grounds and had to be shielded by the police who did a professional work throughout the vigil.

The multitude then converged at the Tetteh Quarshie round about where vigil organisers, Van Vicker, Yvonne Nelson, addressed the crowd.