March 17, 2017

Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa has blamed both the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the uproar that has hit the Ghana School Feeding Program.

In his view, the politics of convenience being played by the two leading political parties in the country is undermining the smooth operations of the Program that provides meals to pupils during school hours.

The former Deputy Minister for Education in charge of Tertiary, made this observation on the floor of Parliament, Wednesday, when contributing to a statement on the suspension of the School Feeding Program in the Ejura-Sekyedumase constituency.

MP for Ejura-Sekyedumase constituency had raised alarm about suspension of the Program due to an impasse between some youth in the area and caterers under the Program and called on the Speaker to intervene since the issue has affected 14,728 pupils.

The North Tongu lawmaker contributing further attributed the situation to partisanship that has taken over the management of the Program.

He said it was about time the politics of convenience by the NPP and NDC comes to a halt, stressing that if such attitude is allowed to continue, it will go a long way to affect major social intervention programs put in place to address the plight of the poor.

“The School Feeding Program should be taken out of partisanship because of the benefit to the nation; benefit to quality education; benefit to high enrollment; benefit to IQ and the linkages to agriculture. The whole package is a good one that helps the economy, that helps agriculture and we need to take away partisanship,” he stressed.

He recalled the situation where all contracts under the Program were awarded by the NPP when they were in power between 2005 to January 2009 with the NDC also doing same upon assumption in office from 2009 to January 2017.

“Mr. Speaker, we all have to be sincere in matters like this. This is one of those matters that I know the Rt. Hon. Speaker as a Reverend Minister will agree with me when I say that for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When the program started in 2005, we all know the caterers and where they were aligned to. Then in 2009, when there was a change of government, we all know which caterers took over and that is why I am saying that all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. These are the consequences of our simple act.

I think that such national program should be taken away from partisan politics. The underlying factor should be whether you are a good caterer or cook or whether you can serve the children. It shouldn’t be whether you are a women’s organizer of party A or B or C. That is the elephant in this room which we need to confront and be very frank and sincere about this. So, having tried this under the previous NPP and NDC, I think that we can now come to some agreements that enough is enough – let us now move on and find a more sustainable program that will help us.”