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Lockdown: Group condemns politicization of food distribution

Sat, 11 Apr 2020 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The African Centre for Women in Politics has raised concerns over what it believes to be the politicization of distribution of food to the vulnerable.

The group in a statement highlighted some major challenges with the food sharing exercise which is being undertaken by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

Describing the exercise as ‘poorly done’, ACWP recommended some measures to salvage the situation.

It called for a different approach to the distribution of foods with District, Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies taking over from the Ministry.

Below is the statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AFRICAN CENTER FOR WOMEN IN POLITICS (ACWP)

To All Media Houses

April 10, 2020 POLITICIZATION OF FOOD SHARING IN LOCKDOWN AREAS UNACCEPTABLE Our attention has been drawn to a worrying phenomenon in some lockdown areas which points to open politicization of food meant for sharing among citizens who require it. We have noted reports of the refusal to give food to some of our compatriots as a result of their alleged political affiliations. We see these actions as condemnable as these times are not normal times for partisan political approach in alleviating the plight of our fellow citizens.

Most countries that have embarked on partial to complete lockdown as a measure to curb the rate of spread of Covid-19 have implemented economic stimulus packages to ease the burden on citizens as a result of the lockdown. Some economic stimulus packages include the absorption of water bills, light bills, groceries, medical bills, money among others.

In our case in Ghana, stimulus packages that have been introduced by the Government so far includes free water for all, even though accessibility still remains a challenge, free food for the vulnerable, and free electricity for baseline users and 50% cut for other domestic and industrial users. This intervention by the President His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo is commendable.

Among all these stimulus packages, the one that remains a major challenge is the food delivery to the vulnerable. The question is how can it be evenly distributed to the vulnerable who actually need it? According to the minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, the vulnerable include kayaye (head porters), homeless people, petty traders whose livelihood depends on daily sales among others.

ACWP, has noticed with surprise how the food sharing has been poorly done so far and wish to admonish better and more efficient ways of handling this entire exercise as it has the potentials to erode the intended benefits. How will food meant for the vulnerable get to them without a clear road map on how the distribution should be done.

For example how many people within the lockdown areas are classified as vulnerable and who is in charge of doing the distribution. It has been reported by people within Nungua, Ayawaso and Kasoa that NPP MPs have taken charge of the food distribution which benefits only party members. Residents of Ayawaso have also reported that raw food are sneaked into the homes of party faithfuls at the night. Residents of Kasoa and some areas in Kumasi have all reported same.

A woman has further lamented her ordeal of being denied food at Shiashie because she was not a card bearing member of the ruling NPP, as was reported by Ghanaweb. This action if not curtailed with immediate effect will led to satisfying party supporters rather than the targeted vulnerable women and children.

We are therefore calling on the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to restructure the sharing of food and food items to the vulnerable, as women and children who need these food items the most stand the chance of being exempted if the exercise continues in its current form.

We are further calling on the sector minister to allocate the food sharing exercise through the District/Municipal/ Metropolitan Assemblies in order to the reach the vulnerable because they are at the local levels and can identify people who actually need government intended interventions.

Signed

Alimatu Issahak

Executive Director ACWP

024 422 2675     Shiela Adams

National Coordinator

020 969 2623

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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