Pensioner bondholders who picketed at the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, February 15, 2023, may have heaved a sigh of relief when the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta stepped out to engage them for the second time since they started picketing.
However, the interaction between the minister and the pensioners, who are demanding complete exemption from the government’s just-ended Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP), ended abruptly due to an exchange between Mr Ofori-Atta and an activist.
A convener of #FIxTheCountryMovement, Oliver Mawuse Barker-Vormawor on the day had showed up to solidarize with the pensioners who had been picketing at the ministry since February 6.
The minister sought to explain to the picketers that they may as well be engaging in a futile enterprise as the exchange programme has already ended. He added that while government remained committed to honour all bonds even though they had opted to self-exempt from the DDEP, which was voluntary.
Midway through his engagement with the pensioners, Barker-Vormawor who was displeased with the minister’s explanation interjected saying that the people of Ghana had lost trust in the minister.
Ken Ofori-Atta in reaction to the interjection questioned the activist about the basis of his statement and reason for joining the picketing.
The minister who was incensed by the actions of the activist subsequently abandoned his interaction with the pensioners and returned to his office.
The #FixTheCountry convener however justified his actions to the media saying “It is important because our conversation has been about building a protest culture. A culture where persons affected by public policy decisions by political officers do not sit aside but raise their voice and match that voice with the determination to show up when it matters.
“When these things are happening, it is also important that persons are inspired by this in the spirit of resilience. So with what these pensioners have shown, it is important that we the young ones also show up for them by mobilizing people to carry forward the message of resistance expressed even with their age”, Barker-Vormawor emphasized the basis for his action.
Meanwhile, the Pensioner Bondholders Forum has condemned the actions of the #FixTheCountry group.
Speaking to the media after the exchange between the minister and the activist, a representative of the pensioners expressed disappointment in Barker-Vormawor.
“I told them that if you want to come and support my course you come and do what I am doing. When you come and I am weeping you don’t come and dance,” he said.