Convener of FixTheCountry, Oliver Barker-Vormawor

Dear Osagyefo Oliver Barker-Vormawor,

What have you done?

Not too long ago, you burst onto the Ghanaian sociopolitical scene with some novel ideas about fixing the country and won the hearts of many young people.

For once, there seemed to be an organic movement mobilising a critical mass of Ghanaian youth for change.

But before your movement could garner enough social steam to deliver the much needed change, you surprised nearly everyone with your “coup” posts on Facebook. I will not talk extensively about this because the matter is in court.

Yet I can confidently say that even your most avowed admirers and loyalists didn’t see those posts coming; nor were they able to quantify, before hand, the near-fatal blow it dealt to your hitherto vibrant movement.

Once again, you’re in the news for another bizarre reason.

To be fair to you, I don’t think you were, in good conscience, hoping the Police will grant your rather strange request. So clearly, some other objective must have been in mind.

From what I can glean from your letter, you were probably trying, by the aid of satire and sarcasm, to communicate your deep-seated distrust of the Police. As it turned out, you got the technique completely wrong and produced a monstrous gaffe.

The level of ridiculousness contained in your letter definitely raises concerns about your true intent. And to think that you seemed to be telling Captain Smart (in a WhatsApp message screenshot) that you wanted to deliberately have this effect!

Honestly, apart from my earlier guess, I can’t find a single good reason, even from an activist’s perspective, to support this level of recklessness!

Who will join future demonstrations you organise when you’ve once stated your desire to arm people?

You see, there are some things we know to be true, so true, we admit them in private discussions. But we cannot, in line with prudence, state them in public. It is not fear, but discretion, that informs this position.

For instance, everyone knows the ruling class in Ghana loots a lot of money while in office. Indeed, their families continue to get fat on the loot long after they’ve left office while the so-called ‘ordinary’ Ghanaian is seized with hardship and suffering.

Everyone with a sizeable brain knows this to be true.

But you cannot go on any official medium and state this, along with names, as a matter of fact. It’ll be tactless.

So the Police is inefficient, we all know (we have been on their case for years). But to write to them in such a colour, in a supposed attempt to draw attention to the fact that they’re inefficient, is just … ridiculous!

Of course, write all the articles you can, go on radio and ‘attack’ them, in fact, organise a demonstration against the Police itself. Do two million other things!

But don’t threaten to import arms into our streets from wherever, go to GBC with such arms, and whilst in possession of those arms, demand to speak on live TV.

That’s a coup d’etat !!!

Now you may say you don’t mean to actually go ahead with this gory plan. You may say your objective is to cause a scare, as you have. But here’s the problem, the fact that you publicly stated such plans itself makes you look reckless and careless and hurts the fortunes of the movement you lead.

You can’t do certain things just to draw attention, you cannot! This kind of endeavour you’re about requires tact and stealth to make any meaningful progress.

You can’t strip naked, then when people say you’re mad, you claim you were just trying to draw attention to your health issues. People will rightly be entitled to raise issues with your sanity.

It is in poor taste to threaten further the fragile peace of the country with such chaos.

Now here’s the final bit of the danger.

This latest stunt comes to add to a growing list of reckless interventions on your part;

  1. You said you’ll stage a coup.
  2. You called the entire Army useless, with all the Generals and Colonels and so on; you called them useless simply because they won’t do a coup on your asking them to.
  3. Now you say you want to arm young people in the streets of Accra and march to GBC to seize the airway to address the nation because we are suffering or that the Police are killing unarmed civilians.

How do these acts lessen any of our problems?

In case you don’t know, you’re fast blowing all your credibility candles, one by one.

Is it that you have a knack for dreaming up frightening things, not to solve anything per se but for the sake of dreaming them?

Do you get off on being able to create fear and panic?

Statecraft requires sober minds and stoic temperaments.

So far, you’ve succeeded in inducing a thick cloud of fear, panic, instability, confusion and violence, if not indeed at least in creed, in the minds and hearts of the Police and the public.

What possible positive thing could come out from antagonising the Police this much?

In your mind, how do you want SHS and University students to feel knowing a demonstration is going to rock Accra where protestors will have guns and maybe cutlasses and all manner of weapons?

How should women feel?

How should way side sellers feel?

You have, using the mist of your unguarded bravado and predilection for confrontational activism, even when it’s needless, put out the fire of popular protest that was fueling #FixTheCountry.

Not just that.

If I and some young people start a movement tomorrow, we’re in danger of being greeted with double scorn, distrust, and possibly even abuse.

The harm you have done is quite hard to calculate!

Even the trend of young people in leadership, has been affected.

This is a whole country not a secondary school. You can’t jeopardise social stability so casually.

If there have been security infractions and the Police is at fault, why not institute legal action? Thankfully you’re a lawyer!

Why not sue the Police?

Are we to really believe that by arming young people all over the place, the Police will change overnight and become as you want them to be?

It is sad and disheartening that things are the way they are, but it is counter-productive to fight a noble cause with crude and obselete means.

As one whose heart beats for change as much as yours, I beseech you to amend your methods and save the movement. No one can #fixthecountry with defective tools.

Yours in patriotic service,

A. A. Elkington.