A popular Ghanaian social activist who has led protests against President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government has been arrested after making comments on social media about plotting a coup, the police said on Saturday.
Oliver Barker-Vormawor, leader of the pressure group #FixTheCountry, which has championed protests in the West African country over economic hardships among other issues, was detained on his arrival from the UK at an airport on Friday.
Barker-Vormawor posted on social media that he will stage a coup if Parliament passes a controversial bill, popularly known as E-Levy.
The bill is proposing a 1.75% tax on electronic transactions including mobile money payments.
“If this E-Levy passes… I will do the coup myself. Useless Army!” Barker-Vormawor said in a series of posts on Facebook.
“The post contained a clear statement of intent with a possible will to execute a coup in his declaration of intent to subvert the constitution of the Republic of Ghana,” the police said in a statement.
He is expected to be arraigned in court on Monday.
A police spokesman said the activist was being questioned to decide the formal charges that he will face in court.
Akufo-Addo’s second term has been characterised by a series of protests over economic problems and brawls in the hung Parliament as the government tries to push through tough policies it believes could salvage the ailing economy.
The #FixTheCountry hashtag that became a popular social media protest on Twitter in Ghana later expanded into a pressure group supported by the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to stage protests on the streets.
In January last year, soldiers were forced to enter Ghana’s parliament to break up fights between rival lawmakers at odds over the election results giving Akufo-Addo victory.
Ghana is often praised as a stable democracy in volatile West Africa, although the 2021 elections were marked by opposition accusations of fraud and five people died in violence.