EXCLUSIVE: The Economic Fighters looking to reshape Ghana for the many not the few

By Tim McNulty

GHANA’s struggle to decolonise the nation’s resource rich economy has entered a new stage with the arrival of a new generation of revolutionary activists

One of the first African countries to gain independence from the British Empire, Ghana’s founding father Kwame Nkrumah was a leading light of “African socialism” on the continent.

Overthrown in a US facilitated military coup at the height of the Cold War, Nkrumah was unable fully uncouple a fledging Ghanian state from the grip neo-colonialism.

But now a new movement, the Economic Fighters League has set out to take up Nkrumah’s legacy and challenge the lack of development and entrenched poverty in Ghana.

Hardi Yakubu, Fighter-General of Economic Fighters League, told Redaction Politics: [The aim of the movement is] to reexamine the nature of our republic and to interrogate the systems and structures that operate to hold the people in such poverty in the midst of plenty.”

Gold, cocoa and more recently oil have formed the cornerstone of Ghana’s economy and have helped fuel an economic boom in recent years.

However in the eyes of Hardi and his fellow activists, known as the Fighters, the profits gleamed off Ghana’s considerable mineral wealth has failed to benefit the people.

Hardi told Redaction Politics: “If you look at the resource landscape of the country you would find that the country is blessed with soo many natural resources.

“We have gold, we have oil, we have diamond, we have iron ore, we have manganese. We have all the resources that you can think of and must of all we have very good human resources.

“But the wealth from these resources are accumulated and by far onto benefit a few Ghanians and mostly multi-national companies.

“So if you look at the gold, oil and other sectors that are the controlling sectors of the economy you find that they are dominated by multi-national companies rather than the people.”

Ghana’s enjoys an exceptional strong democratic culture having successfully to multi-party elections in 1992.

As well as mobilising support the Fighters are also looking to “open peoples’ eyes” to the failing of the main parties to deliver on promises of delivering economic justice.

Hardi told Redaction Politics: “So our main mandate is to mobilise the people through education, through livelihood development and through activism to try to expose the workings of the system to them.

“We have a four pronged approach, activism by which we engage the political system and the governance system. Exposing corruption, making sure that monies that are not rightly spent we follow in their trails,” he added.

“We also do education so we educate people about how the system works and how they can collaborate with us and other revolutionary organisations to change the system for the better.

“Because for so many people the system has been designed to deceive people that there is freedom, there is democracy, there is opportunities for all, there is everything.”

The Fighters were originally started by a group of young activists involved with the Convention People’s Party (CPP), the political party which Kwame Nkrumah founded in 1949.

Despite quitting the CCP in 2016, Hardi and his colleagues have continued to champion a Nkrumahist policy platform.

A key aspects of the Economic Fighters League strategy is poverty reduction and community development, especially in under served rural communities.

Hardi told Redaction Politics “We also do livelihood development, so one of the ways that the systems deceives people is to say that there is democracy and the only measure of the democracy is by elections and through these elections they get people to vote and how to they get people to vote?

“Because a lot of the people are finding it difficult to avoid three square meals a day especially in the rural places. They are able to give them money to get their votes.

“But if we are able to develop their livelihoods those things will not work anymore and we also do mobilisations on the ground on the issues that matter to the people.”

According with the party’s pan-African ideals the Fighters were active in organising solidarity protests in support of Black Lives Matter.

In June last year, the Economic Fighters League (EFL) organised a vigil in the Ghanian capital Accra to express solidarity with uprisings against police killings of Black people in the United States after the murder of George Floyd.

The vigil resulted in the arrest of the Fighters’ Commander-in-Chief Ernesto Yeboah.

His arrest was subsequently condemned by BLM group across the united states, who came together to issue a statement of support for the Fighthers.

The statement read: “We join our comrades in the Economic Fighters League in demanding that the Ghanaian government immediately drop all charges against Ernesto Yeboah and cease its targeting of the EFL and other freedom fighters.

“We stand with all members of our global Black community in fighting for justice.

“We express our deepest appreciation to our family members in Ghana and around the world, who join us in fighting for freedom for all Black people everywhere.”

Featured Image: Pixabay

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