July 15, 2024

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In an unexpected twist, a well-planned and sponsored demonstration by members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) UK branch against Vice President and New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia turned into a convivial meet-and-greet event.

The NDC had organized the demonstration to coincide with Dr. Bawumia’s fundraising event in London, aiming to highlight the economic hardships they claim have been inflicted upon Ghana by Bawumia and President Nana Akufo-Addo. Demonstrations against political figures, both at home and abroad, have become a familiar strategy among Ghanaian political actors.

However, as the demonstration kicked off, the protest took an unexpected turn. What was meant to be a high-profile protest showcasing dissatisfaction with the current administration gradually evolved into a friendly gathering. Demonstrators who had come to express their grievances found themselves in animated conversations with senior aides of the Bawumia for President campaign.

Eyewitnesses reported that leaders of the protest, initially poised for a fierce demonstration, were seen engaging in cordial exchanges with Bawumia’s team. Instead of chants and placards condemning the Vice President, there were smiles, hugs, handshakes, and even a few photo opportunities.

One protest leader, who wished to remain anonymous, was overheard saying, “We wanted to make a statement about the current hardships, but we ended up discussing policies and plans. It was an unexpected yet enlightening experience.”

Mocking them after exchanging pleasantries, Anthony Abayifa Karbo, a prominent figure in the Bawumia campaign, was captured on video saying he would call Ibrahim to inform him that the protesters hadn’t done a good job for the money they took.

Similarly, some protest leaders were overheard telling Sammi Awuku, Managing Director of the NLA, that they are brothers and that it’s all part of the plan.

Dr. Bawumia’s team seemed unfazed by the initial intent of the protest. “We welcome dialogue and are always open to listening to concerns. It’s heartening to see that even those who came to protest can find common ground through conversation,” a senior aide remarked.

As the event wrapped up, the distinction between protest and support became increasingly unclear. Initially intended as a major opposition demonstration, for many participants, it evolved into a chance to directly interact with prominent figures leading the Bawumia 2024 campaign.

The unexpected turn of events has sparked discussions about the effectiveness of using meet-and-greet protests as an alternative to traditional protests, which can sometimes involve police brutality.

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