The African Center for Women in Politics (ACWP) has condemned an act by some members of the governing party who have taken to the sharing of food meant for the vulnerable based on political affiliations.

ACWP in a statement said the act was unacceptable and defeats the intended purpose of the food distribution.

“Most countries that have embarked on partial to complete lockdown as a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 have implemented economic stimulus packages to ease the burden on citizens as a result of the lockdown.

“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?,” the statement further said.

According to them, their attention has been drawn to the fact that food sharing is done by some MPs [who distribute food based on party lines], with non-members of the ruling party being denied food.

They also have received reports that raw food is sneaked to party faithfuls [of the ruling party] at night.

They, however, are calling on the Ministry in charge to restructure the mode of distribution and channel it through the MMDAs who will be able to “reach out to the vulnerable because they are at the local levels and can identify people who actually need government intended interventions.”

Read the full statement below

For Immediate Release

AFRICAN CENTER FOR WOMEN IN POLITICS (ACWP)

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 this food items the most stand the chance of being exempted if the exercise continue 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

Shiela Adams

National Coordinator