The 2012 presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, paid surprise visits to Ghanaian-owned businesses in the UK on Saturday June 18, to interact with both proprietors and customers.
His visits which took him to Brixton Market and Peckham Market, both in South London, took a form similar to the nationwide ‘Listening Campaign’ he is programmed to begin in Ghana, with the Ashanti Region, in the first week of July.
Though meant to be a low key event to give him firsthand knowledge of the challenges and opportunities facing those who export and retail Ghanaian products to the United Kingdom, the famous Electric Avenue in Brixton and the Peckham High Road turned festive by the visit of opposition leader from Ghana.
Visibly overwhelmed and excited by the unexpected presence of the NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo, Ghanaian shoppers and others turned the shopping streets into a carnival, to the pleasant approval of onlookers.
Nana Addo’s first point of call was the famous Kumasi Market in Peckham, which deals in a wide range of African-Caribbean foodstuffs and beauty products.
As soon as Nana Addo made his way into the shop, one female shopper woman described the day as one she will never forget in her life because a Ghanaian politician had taken time to visit them.
Swathes of shoppers mobbed the NPP flagbearer, all wanting to catch a glimpse of him, shake his hands, as well as take photographs with him.
Ghanaians, in their interaction with Nana Addo, expressed concern about the state of affairs in the country which to them did not auger well for the development of the nation.
According to them, feedback they get from home on a regular basis indicates that the cost of living in Ghana was getting higher and higher by the day resulting in a worsening standard of living for their relatives, who are having to depend more and more on them, even though some of the Ghanaian immigrants in the UK have been hard hit by the economic crisis.
The owner of Kumasi Market, in particular, complained about the crippling cost of exporting stuff from Ghana, with duties and charges having gone up. This in her opinion was gradually driving her out of business and implored with the NPP flagbearer to “do something about it when you become President in 2013”.
In Brixton, David Tetteh, the man in charge of the Nyame Bekyere Mini Market, also lamented about the cost of freight from Ghana, which is making small entrepreneurs like him less competitive.
He also told the NPP flagbearer that the British authorities must also be spoken to since they have placed a ban on the import of several items from Ghana like Milo, Cerelac, and dried fish and bushmeat.
“We are begging you the politicians to let the authorities here understand that this is our food. This is what we were brought up on and we sell it to our people and they should allow us to do so. It hasn’t killed our people at home and would surely not kill us here.”
The small retailers also complained about the importation of Ghanaian stuff, like yam, taken over by large Asian firms.
“Nowadays, we have to buy from the Asians here to sell it to the Ghanaians here,” one female retailer said.
At Peckham, one of the major Ghanaian communities in the UK, Nana Addo visited “Agoro Be Sor”, a Ghanaian restaurant.
A stunned waitress nearly dropped the food ordered by a customer.News of Nana Addo’s visit to the restaurant soon spread, as elated Ghanaians stormed the building, forcing security men into action.
At the restaurant, Nana Addo was treated to a bowl of Banku and Tilapia, to which he did absolute justice.
At the Brixton Village, Jamaican shoppers and retailers who had learnt of the identity of the man Ghanaians were happy to see waved their red, gold and green flags in solidarity with their Ghanaian brothers.
Nana Addo then moved from Brixton village to the African Shop Centre, where Ghanaian shoppers urged him to be strong in the 2012 elections and chants of “All-die-be-die” could be heard, to the apparent bemusement of some non-Ghanaians.
Work at the busy Tina’s Salon was briefly interrupted as dozens of women, both hairdressers and customers took their turn to take pictures with the 2012 Presidential candidate of the NPP.
He urged all of them to continue being Ghana’s positive ambassadors in the UK and to see themselves as Ghanaian citizens without borders.
Earlier in Germany, the NPP flagbearer defended his campaign strategy of meeting with Ghanaians in the Diaspora and solicit their support because of the tremendous contributions they make to all facets of the Ghanaian economy.
“Some people criticize this decision, arguing that the campaign is restricted to the geographical territory called Ghana. I disagree. I still disagree. I consider their contribution to the development of Ghana as equally important. The taxes that they pay at the ports when they ship things home form a big part of government revenue”, Nana Addo had explained in Hamburg.
He went on further to reveal that Ghanaians remit annually over $1.5billion (1.04 billion Euros), adding that in the first quarter of this year alone, the Bank of Ghana puts the value of private remittances at $674.8million (470million Euros).
He continued, “This is why accountability by government should extend to them as well, not just to the people living within the geographical territory”.
BY: NPP Communications Directorate