My fellow citizens; civic-minded people of our democracy; and colleague activists, whose hearts refused to abandon the promise of justice. As many of you are aware on Friday 11 February 2022, I was unlawfully detained by the security forces of this regime. Tortured and subsequently held without just cause for 35 days most of those 35 days are spent either in solitary confinement or in a jail cell with no ventilation crawling with bed bugs cockroaches and rats and which was designed for four people but ultimately filled with nearly 30 detainees.
Within those 35 days, I was exposed to what I can only describe as man’s inhumanity to man. I was held in the rotten underbelly of our democracy the parts of our society which we hide from public view, persons we treat as if they are not human and do not deserve the protection of law.
But also, within those 35 days, we saw the real strength, integrity, and resilience of our community become vindicated before Ghanaians of all walks of life. We witnessed the power of our ideals and the honesty of our beliefs tested. We showed our humanity, our love for our country and our commitment to our democracy. Even when those who are supposed to uphold the law abused it every day, we showed the people of this country that we will not cede the ground to tyranny and routine authoritarian tendencies.
We made it clear that just like our fathers and mothers before us who rose to oppose the white man’s oppression, we will not accept the oppression of those who call us brothers but treat us like slaves in our own country.
We made it clear that we will not be shaken in our desire to hold this democracy to account. And we have renewed for many people the belief that the moral arc of this universe bends toward justice.
I address you today my fellow activists; those who held the #fixthecountry banner high; my fellow citizens who spoke up to the challenge and to challenge the abuse of the power of the state even when the costs of democratic dissent have become now higher than ever.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the emotional, moral, and material support to me and to allow for us to mobilize in order to hold our democracy into account. I have been overwhelmed by the affirmations of support, the bible quotations, and the qur’anic verses. I have felt supported at every stage by the strong will of the people of this country, which even when things look bleak continues to shine the brightest.
I believe in you as much as you have believed in me. I may not be worthy of the love, respect, and admiration that you have shown me and my colleagues at #fixthecountry. But I promise you it shall not be misplaced.
Our path is lighted by our trust that justice has always prevailed over evil. And believe me we shall win this commitment to build a new Ghana. A new Ghana which is fairer! A new Ghana where leadership serves rather than impoverishes or abuses its citizens. Every fiber in my being assures me that that new Ghana is possible. And that we as a people standing together; trusting together that when tomorrow comes, we will no longer be slaves to the moral decay of those who hold us in the perpetual hostage of poverty. We cannot give up.
Friends the time has come to redefine the face and the values of our Ghanaian democracy. Our democracy! A democracy where young people as much as the old have a place in its improvement. Where our voices for reform and justice are no longer viewed as treasonous by those who are scared of their own shadows.
Where young people are not killed in our streets simply for believing in the promise of this democracy.
That the belief of those who think that the old Ghana must give way is valid. That it is not a democracy when young people are afraid for their lives whenever they criticize their own government, that it is not a democracy when people live in fear that they will be tortured, jailed, or killed without justice. Simply for saying that we must #Fix This Country.
If we are to win against those who have lost the desire and even the credibility to improve our country, its democracy and its economy, we must cling to the moral superiority of our cause.
Even when they mobilize their rented press and the access to power without limitations, controls, or repercussions, just to criminalize our genuine frustrations and democratic advocacy. Let us not forget that it is them who through their corruption and immorality who have made Ghana now a hopeless proposition. It is them who are the real enemies of our democracy. Even though we have allowed them to portray activists for justice and reform as “saboteurs”, we must remind ourselves that we are the Patriotic ones. They cannot claim to love our country and the citizens they impoverish and oppress.
Our love for our democracy is greater.
Now, as we remind our people of this democracy of its inadequacy and of those it has left behind, either through our protests or our use of political satire, we must also remember that they will at the least opportunity seize our own words to create fear. They will invoke our collective painful experiences of the brutality of our military past to deflect attention from the fact that they continue to use the military and our security forces as their private militia.
They have prevented our democracy from retiring violence. They use it to kill us during elections and when we protest for change. These are not people who believe in our democracy. Our democracy is only convenient for them to enrich themselves through gargantuan corruption. May we never forget that in this Republic’s life it is the corrupt and wicked politicians who have ruined Ghana. Not young people. Not democracy activists. Not us in #fixthecountry. We love this country. We love it so much that we believe it can become better and it can become fairer.
This is why we must not allow them to create the impression that we are somehow less committed to our democratic ideals. That we want violence rather than peace. Violence is their tool; not ours.
But we should be vigilant when they use our language to stoke fear and distraction. We must show Ghanaians and the world at large that we have built a movement which over a year and nearly 10 demonstrations across the country have never resorted to violence. Not a single person has been injured at our demonstration. Not a single person was attacked, or property destroyed.
#Fixthecountry abides by the law! Every day and it will forever abide by the tenets of our democracy. #FixTheCountry believes in Justice; and that is why we ask for a new constitution that better serves our generation. Not one imposed on us through the fruits of a coup d’état which they are collaborators of.
This is the time we show Ghanaians that will not be made to choose between peace and poverty! We can have prosperity not just for a few individuals; and we can live in harmony with our neighbours. We can have all these things! They cannot impoverish us and threaten us that if we demand anything different it means that we want the end of our democracy. That is the language of an illegitimate leadership that has lost the plot. We are better than them.
And so, we will show Ghanaians not only our urgency but also our patience. The patience of our activism. Our people are not dim. They are not dumb; they are not foolish, and they are not their own enemies. All those labels are demeaning and condescending. They are deliberately chosen by those who oppress us.
Our people may have lost their hope but not their memory of who their real oppressors are. They may have lost their belief but not their will to fight. Now they have a new reason to believe, a new reason to fight. A renewed hope that the new Ghana is possible. #Fixthecountry did this.
To those who were made to doubt through misinformation; those whose faith wavered because they were a little rush in their judgment, I offer you the reassurance of my commitment to work with you, to always find the right ways to better express our project and more accurately describe our commitment and our mission to make Ghana fairer.
I offer you more control over our language, in the knowledge that you first trusted with your aspirations for a democratic tomorrow. I have not come today to convince you to accept that even the use of democratic language cannot be misunderstood. I am a communicator who understands the gap sometimes between intent and impact. I’ve not come to give you the 25 different meanings of a French word none of which lend themselves to the campaign of fear-mongering that we have seen our government spent the best of our resources cultivating.
The truth is when you betray the people’s trust; mismanage the economy; steal this country’s riches; and make a mockery of our cry for justice; it is your fear of your own shadow and not any coup mongering, that would expose you.
So, no I will not offer you the fanaticism, of those who defended “all die be die” to high heavens; or convinced us that all we need is better grammar to decode their battle drums and their promise to make this country ungovernable through violence.
Instead, I offer you something else. I offer you the opportunity to grow together. If our words rejoice half of the people but cause concern to the other half; then together we must roll up our sleeves and choose new ways which bring us together unify us, which do not depreciate our democratic ideals or compromise our values.
Colleagues, I have emerged from jail twice certain that we’re on the right path. But we must not lose sight of the attempts to militarize our youth and our voices; and of the fact that those who are committed to breaking our front through violence and character assassination will not stop. They will not disassemble their machines of hate. They will spend our money to slow us down or misdirect the majority of our people. They are masters in deception but useless in their governance. So even when we restate our commitment not to give up and to improve our democracy; we must carefully watch how they retail our message through their rented press and their machines of disinformation. We must call them out at every opportunity.
Trust me. They will not win. Not in the long run. We are on the precipice of victory against a bleak and defeated leadership. Never again will Ghana stoop so low. I promise you this. We are drawing a line in the sand to push our democracy towards greater ideals. The new Ghana is within reach. We can do it.
So let us forge ahead with a renewed vision. A vision that gives a better meaning to our democratic aspirations and rekindles belief in all of us. I believe that a new Ghana can be wrestled from the hands of those who cannot and do not want to fix this country. We the young people of this country, women, children, civic-minded people, and principled older folk will fix this country. To assure you freedom will and must come now.
I know that for some people, my arrest and subsequent unlawful detention have either broken your spirits or made you withdraw your enthusiasm. Because you have seen how vengeful and lawless the leadership of this country is up close and personal, some of you have now become more afraid. You have started to wonder if we can win against people who are not shy to use violence and to murder. I have come out to find some of you now more afraid than when we started.
I urge you to not lose that fear but to embrace it. Because courage is not the absence of fear but the embrace of it. We are not brave because we are unafraid, we are brave because we choose to forge ahead despite the fears we have.
But we must also understand that not everyone will immediately accept or understand what our course is about. For those people, we must work with patience, not anger. Some of our harshest critics are going to be members of our own family. We must not lose our temper with them.
Perseverance and the cause of justice I assure you seduce even the most stubborn members of our community. Eventually! So do not lose faith.
And above all let us not abandon the virtue of new learning; of being the first to say sorry when we are even the ones wronged. Let us open our hearts to the better impulses of our nature. Let us appeal to the better angels in us and others and let us make the practice of forgiveness and patience our guiding compass, for a new culture is formed in love not in anger or violence.
Belief is formed in conversation not by turning our backs to those who disagree with us.
We win by reaffirming the bonds of friendship not by weaponizing disagreements.
This is how we win! This is the path to the new Ghana!
Thank you for your time and for trusting my voice. God bless you and God bless our Homeland Ghana
[Link to Video https://fb.watch/ckSQotij2S/]