NPP POUNCES ON MAHAMA …over ‘kayayei’ comment
The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has taken the debate for pragmatic policies for bettering the living conditions of all Ghanaians, especially the most vulnerable group of young hawkers and head porters to President Mahama, just days after the leaders of both the NPP and National Democratic Congress (NDC) clashed at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) presidential debate.
President John Mahama, addressing a party rally at Savelugu in the Northern Region on Wednesday 31st October, 2012, described Nana Akufo-Addo’s promise of putting up hostel facilities for Kayayei (head porters) and other vulnerable young workers, like street hawkers, “as the most insulting of all his promises.”
The President had described Nana Addo’s proposed initiative to solving the worrying accommodation situation of the thousands of these categories of people, who live at the mercy of the weather, as an indication that he (Nana Addo) was very desperate to win power.
But, the NPP has challenged the President to put up with the solution to the problem of this large and vulnerable group of Ghanaians, or forever keep his peace. “What is the President’s solution to the accommodation problem of this large and vulnerable group?” the NPP queried.
NPP campaign manager Mr. Boakye Agyarko, addressing a press conference at the NPP campaign office on November 1, 2012, said John Mahama’s statement was yet another piece of evidence that the President had completely lost touch with the concerns and aspirations of the suffering masses of Ghana.
At his IEA evening encounter, President Mahama stated unequivocally that the “quality of life” that Ghanaians are enjoying today was “unprecedented.” But the NPP waonders “which Ghana he lives in.”
According to the NPP, what was of essence to most Ghanaians was access to basic necessities of life, such as potable water, good health, good education, and not a national airline, which most believe is the “long-cherished dream of Ghanaians.”
According to Mr. Agyarko, for the President to say providing decent shelter for the growing numbers of kayayei and street hawkers was insulting, is in itself insulting to the long suffering vulnerable young citizens of Ghana, who are constantly abused, and have to endure the hazards of sleeping unprotected on urban streets and pavements, with their babies.
“In John Mahama, Ghanaians have a President who believes social housing is travelling to Korea to sign a bad deal for the construction of expensive 200,000 houses at an average price of $50,000, which did not even happen. There has been nothing social about any housing policy directly promoted by John Mahama under this NDC III regime.
“It is obvious that the President is either not well-informed about Nana Akufo-Addo’s policy on social housing, or has deliberately chosen to ignore the details for political expediency, and in doing so, has only succeeded in exposing his unforgivable ignorance of the subject matter,” Mr. Agyarko noted.
Nana Akufo-Addo, in his speech to the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) on 22nd October, 2012, presented a detailed policy on housing, outlining specific interventions he intended to make in social and public housing in the next four years, when elected.
Among others, the NPP presidential candidate said: “We shall promote and institute the building of hostels for the most vulnerable, like the Kayayie, who currently sleep on the streets.
“These hostels will be run in conjunction with the skills training organisations, so that residents will be obliged to undergo skills training, and by the time they leave a hostel, they would be qualified to be independent. No one will stay in a hostel longer than a maximum of four years.”
According to the NPP, it was in its programme is to build 100 social housing hostels in all regions of Ghana, providing 24,000 hostel beds, at a cost of about GH¢140 million, over a four year period (2013-2016).
“These will be built in partnership with the private sector, and the hostels, which will be rented out at cheap and affordable rates, will be run in conjunction with vocational, skills training organisations and other NGOs,” Mr. Agyarko reiterated.
He explained that the hostels were not going to be permanent abode for the tenants, as they would only serve as an interim system to offer them both accommodation and training opportunities, after which they get a certificate, and will be assisted to get a decent job with a decent pay.
“At the end of the period (not longer than 4 years), the Kayayei would have acquired the necessary skills to live an independent life, and would be required to move out of the hostel,” Mr. Agyarko explained.
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