Unemployed graduates more vulnerable than Kayayei, feed them too – Odike to Nana Addo
Founder and leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), Akwasi Addai Odike has faulted government over its classification of some individuals as “vulnerable” in the wake of the COVID-19 without recourse to a thorough judgement to the individual plight of citizens in such a time.
He says not all head porters (kayayei), street hawkers and shoeshine boys who prior to the lockdown earned a living through non-formal activities can be classified as vulnerable because some of them used to make “unbelievable savings” on a daily basis.
According to him, unemployed graduates who had no means of earning a living prior to the lockdown could be the most vulnerable in the present circumstances and so must also be brought into the bracket by government.
He was commenting on the decision by government to serve some 400,000 individuals in the Greater Accra and the Greater Kumasi Metropolitan areas with daily hot meals and dry food packages throughout the period of the partial lockdown in those areas, when he made these remarks in an interview in Kumasi-based Angel FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com on Tuesday.
“They are getting things wrong; I have sold on the streets before and I have been a shoeshine boy before and we used to be well to do. You can’t tell me that a shoeshine boy is vulnerable, no! some kayayei make over GHC100 a day; so what is your definition of vulnerable? when you see someone selling on the streets, you call them vulnerable, it’s not like that,” he explained.
“Kayayei are not vulnerable, shoeshine boys are not vulnerable, I’m telling you today; go to the commercial bank, Kejetia in the evenings and see how much they go to save everyday; if you want to look at it closely, the most vulnerable people now are the unemployed graduates; go to the communities and check; if I should tell you how much I have sent via mobile money to such people in these times, you won’t believe it,” he said.
Government has however began the distribution of the food items in the affected as announced by the president in his last Sunday night national address.
The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection which is spearheading the distribution says it wants to avoid political considerations in who benefits from the initiative and so cannot entrust the exercise in the hands of assembly members but to churches whose leaders would do so dispassionately.
But Odike insists that the best people to be able to identify who really are the vulnerable in the localities are the assembly members; “not pastors or even chiefs; assembly members practically know everyone’s situation in the localities but same cannot be said of the church leaders because they may know only their church members”.