Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia says the focus of the Akufo-Addo government is to help alleviate poverty as well as ensure development in Zongo communities.

Dr. Bawumia says the NPP government intends to develop Zongo Communities through education, and not building mortuaries in Zongo communities as former President Mahama has promised.

“Our policy is not one zongo, one mortuary as the NDC and John Mahama are promising. They are thinking mortuaries; we are thinking education and development for the people of Zongos,” he said.

We are thinking education and development for Zongos; they are thinking mortuaries - Bawumia

Speaking at the maiden National Conference of Fulani Chiefs in Kintampo over the weekend, the Vice President said the promise of Mr Mahama to build mortuaries in Zongo communities is a sign that he lacks vision.

He further noted that, even before assuming power, the Akuffo-Addo led administration realised that Zongos, and other inner city communities had been marginalised for so long.

He said something needed to be done to ensure their inclusion in national development, hence, the decision to establish the Ministry of Zongo and Inner Cities Development as well as the Zongo Development Fund to bridge the gap of development.

“One of the communities that has really been excluded over time, has been our Zongo and other inner cities communities. If you look at our Zongo communities, they have been in Ghana for hundreds of years and over time, we noticed increasing marginalisation and increasing exclusion,” Dr. Bawumia said.

We are thinking education and development for Zongos; they are thinking mortuaries - Bawumia

“So we said we needed to begin to implement policies that will make people feel included in the society and that is why we had the idea of the Ministry of Zongo and Inner City Development, so a minister was appointed, the first in the history of Ghana to specifically look at the development of Zongo people.”

“We moved from there and said let us establish a Zongo Development Fund which will be responsible for organising resources for Zongo development. It has never happened in Ghana. Since independence up to 2017, there had not been one budget in Ghana where money had been allocated for zongo development.

“But we now have budgetary allocation for zongo development. In sha Allah, that is going to happening because we have all kinds of needs; sometimes it is water, borehole, it may be a toilet, drainage, a school block, or may be community youth needs a park.”

We are thinking education and development for Zongos; they are thinking mortuaries - Bawumia

Dr. Bawumia said the establishment of the Ministry of Zongo and Inner Cities Development has been beneficial as there is evidence of significant development projects in many zongos in the country.

“In many Zongos in less than 4 years, we have built drainage systems, access roads, school blocks, water systems, astro turfs and provided funds for business people.”

Focus on education

Dr. Bawumia added that one of the developmental focus of the Akufo-Addo government in the Zongos is the focus on education, because it is important and the catalyst for the transformation of Zongos.

“President Akufo-Addo said, part of exclusion, where people feel excluded, is lack of education.”

“So under the Zongo Development Fund, we have also focused on education and providing infrastructure and the needed support. We have built 37 ICT centres in Zongos, built, renovated and furnished classrooms and we have also 40 students from Zongo communities to Cuba on scholarship to study medicine.”

“We have a clear plan to what we are doing and we want to bring everyone in. But if you don’t have education, you can’t do many things and you are excluded from the society but so many of our children have the brains.

“And Nana Akufo-Addo said if by the grace of God he becomes president, he wants us to make education free, whether you are from the north, west, all of us our children should go free and many of us in the Zongos are benefiting from this,”

“So now if you are in the Zongo, regardless of your tribe, please you have no excuse for any of your children not to go to school. We will take them to school from kindergarten up to senior high school and they will not pay anything so that they can get the knowledge that will help us develop as a society.”

We are thinking education and development for Zongos; they are thinking mortuaries - Bawumia

Dr. Bawumia stressed that seeking education, as Prophet Muhammad urged, is very important, adding that President Akuffo-Addo has made it easier.

“The Prophet urged us to go as far as China to seek knowledge. That was a powerful statement because it wasn’t easy to travel to China on foot or on the back of a camel those days.”

“But now, you don’t have to go to China, Nana Akufo-Addo has brought you the education for free in Ghana. TVET is free and SHS is free and we are very proud of it.”

“We want to also strengthen our focus on education in the Zongos with sixteen model senior high schools, one to be built in a zongo in each region,” he added.