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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

School Feeding Boss Sacked

Michael Nsowah
The Ghana School Feeding Programme (GSFP) has suffered another jolt as the second National Coordinator of the programme, Michael Nsowah, is showed the exit by government.

The development comes at the heels of a series of setbacks hitting the programme across the country as government replaces caterers with new ones in the various beneficiary schools.

Asked for reasons informing government’s decision to fire the man, the Minister of Local Government, Joseph Yileh Chireh, could only manage a “there is no reason”, adding however that “this was mutually agreed on, why should there be a reason.”

Speaking to Joy FM yesterday, the minister said the sacked head of the programme feels good to move on.

Mr. Nsowah declined directives from heads of a number of assemblies to replace caterers and existing contractual agreements notwithstanding.

He did not agree with the position of government spokespersons who sought to justify the action.

The minister has assured that a replacement would be announced very soon, but until then, the Chief Director would hold fort.

The GSFP, an initiative of the previous government of President John Agyekum Kufuor, like other initiatives of that regime, has suffered a number of jolts as the incumbent attempts altering the status quo in the establishments.

Some caterers have sought and obtained court orders to slap injunctions on government’s attempt at sacking them.

In other places, drama appears to have taken over the changes, which have been forced down the throats of the people.

In Tema, the new caterers assigned to Aggrey Road School in Community 2 and Community 11 Complex School appear to be undertaking their tasks with difficulties.

Information reaching DAILY GUIDE indicates that in one of the schools, the caterer alternates the classes which enjoy the facility because it appears she does not have enough funds to undertake the assignment.

Previous caterers pre-financed the projects since government did not pay them upfront.

From Bawaleshie, in East Legon, comes a report about how a certain Mr. Biney told a Mr. Alex Ofei that he has been given the assignment of cooking for the Cluster of Schools in the area on protocol, as he put it.

In Kade in the Eastern Region, the takeover took the form of a contingent of policemen taking positions at a school, scaring and traumatizing pupils who have never witnessed such a spectacle before in their lives.

In another development, Dr. Kwame Amoako Tuffuor, the brain behind the programme and its maiden Coordinator, has expressed dismay at what he describes as the politicization of a project that seeks to feed Ghanaian children at school so they can grow into educated and healthy adults.

“I am amazed about the politicization of the Ghana School Feeding, and the hatred from people in the past entering a new era of attacks and vilifications is totally unacceptable,” he lamented in a press release.

The programme, he noted, is God’s work that needs to be done well, adding, “I believe I was heavily inspired when I founded it in Ghana.”

Enumerating the advantages of the programme, he noted that for instance, besides supporting the kids, it enhances school attendance and helps poor parents.

The programme, he added, is the beginning of the fight against hunger in the society.

He recalled how he was publicly vilified and undermined for different reasons, especially for poor management and financial malfeasance.

“Attacking existing caterers or fighting among ourselves is not the solution. The solution lies in our stand as Ghanaians and in support of this programme being safely expanded to take care of new schools and caterers without hurting the children,” he said.

President Mills, he prayed, should quietly put together a team to help solve problems confronting the programme.

By A.R. Gomda/Daily Guide

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