Singer-songwriter, music executive, philanthropist and businessman Livingstone Etse Satekla, alias Stonebwoy, Saturday night, September 23, 2023, was part of the concluding day for the #OccupyJulorBiHouse protest in the Accra.
Below is the Into the Future hitmaker’s acclaimed extempore speech, revealing his purpose for joining the protest and expressing his firm belief that citizens, present at the protest or not, the security forces, and members of the governing class all have a role to play in urgently finding the desired solutions to the pressing concerns which occasioned the three-day demonstration.
“I was actually thanking them for their service as police because ask yourself what is compelling them to stand there the whole day.
It is for security – the security of the people and for the security of the nation. They are working under power. I can tell you that a lot of them over there support what we are doing because they know the protest is not a lawless protest; it is not illegal. It is within our constitutional rights to express our grievances.
In fact, this is one of the ways government understands the language [of the people]. It is one of the legal ways [through which] government will understand the plight and plea of the people.
It has been going on for three days. The first day was unfortunate, a lot of people were arrested and that was what blew the whole thing out of proportion and it went into the news.
When I came, I was actually admiring their [police] works, and I was actually also telling my people that it is not a soft way to freedom. It is never an easy way to freedom. To speak to power, you have to face it, and I think that is the downside of it. I believe that is the sacrifice we all have to [make]. Even now, if the police raids, and begins to lash out on us, of course we are going to run for our lives first and foremost but that is the sacrifice that we have to [make] knowing that nothing comes on a silver platter when you speak out.
Kwame Nkrumah sacrificed for us, Yaa Asantewaa sacrificed for us, General Attipoe and the rest that we read about in our history books, they sacrificed for us. The least some of us can do is to continue to add our voices, our presence and our resources to the voices that will scream aloud for the people in power to know that we deserve better things to be done for us.
My first call is, look at the healthcare situation. Look at the floods happening – the drainage systems. In as much as the populace has a role to play, the government has the power to force and instill in the people [a behaviour] to obey and align with some developmental plans. So when I see people being evacuated and compensated for roads to be built properly and for them to move out waterways, I support these things. It is up to the citizens to also know that that is for their betterment.
That on the side, to the motorway, given the tolls that have been taken for years – I lost my knee in an accident on the motorway. It is a major [thing] I cannot never forget. I walk with a titanium knee replacement in my leg, how can I forget that it happened to me? And even up till today, people still die on the motorway, tyres are blasting and all of that. Have we not raised enough revenue to be able to fix the motorway that Kwame Nkrumah built from yesteryears?
I am not standing here in the name of NPP or NDC or CPP or KKP. I stand here in the name of Ghanaians. That is my brother, I am one of them, the president is Ghanaian, the police force are Ghanaians, the military are Ghanaians. So guess what? It gives me a lot of joy.
In the beginning, I was a little bit skeptical but I had to stand – because I always do – to make sure that I come in. I do not really care about whoever wants to politicise my indulgence. That is the fear of many of my colleagues out there. They might want to [join] but them it can be politicised easily and they are going to be targeted and a lot [of things] but I am happy that this is not a lawless or chaotic or harmful protest, and that, so long as it is within our constitutional rights, why not? I am here, and I know this is going to go a long way to making some of my colleagues very brave enough now to step on the frontline.
I want to say big respect to the IGP himself. He is one person I have really admired and I have seen as a father. In this tenure, he has done great things, I am not going to lie. Especially, if has not done anything at all, look at how beautifully he has transformed the police headquarters.
Ghana can only be better for all of us when we all get involved.
Of course, listen, it is not all Ghanaians that can be here, but we that are here are representing on behalf of the rest of them.
I do share [in the concerns of the protestors]. Level of unemployment is high, healthcare situation, road infrastructure… If we do not admit and we do not beg, and do things like this, we are going to be in our homes crying and crying. This really is not a political situation.
I know members in power who are also saying that, no, somethings should be done right. We see and we hear, I do not want to mention names, but we hear people in places of political power who actually criticise some of the decisions of government.
One more thing, I do not wish for anybody to edit and misquote, and put my mouth where my mouth did not go. I am here in the name of Ghana. Whether it is Fix the Country, Fix the Jubilee House, or Occupy the Julorbi House, whatever hashtag you use, Ghana comes first, and I think that in any and every capacity, I have the rights to be here and add my voice as an astute musician who has sung about all these things in my music from Run Go, African System, Buffalo Soldier, to Greedy Men, and I have used my resources to actually elevate and support community by virtue of the Livingstone Foundation. I have every single right to continue to add my presence to whatever citizens say.”
Stonebwoy spoke to Accra-based Joy News.