General News of Thursday, 1 November 2012
The New Patriotic Party says President John Mahama’s critique of its policy initiative to house head porters popularly known as kayayei smacks of a president who is "unforgivably ignorant" about housing needs of the poor and vulnerable in the country.
The New Patriotic Party as part of its campaign manifesto is promising to build hostels which will be rented at low cost to the vulnerable in the society, especially the kayayei.
But President John Mahama has rubbished the proposal.
In a mini rally in Tamale, President John Mahama told the gathering the NPP is desperate for power and is making unrealistic promises to buy votes.
He singled out the kayayei hostel campaign promise for criticism, describing it as an insult to the people.
He argued the NDC would not tackle the symptoms of the problem as the NPP was doing and would rather tackle the roots of the problem.
But the NPP is not impressed with the President’s remarks.
At a press conference in Accra on Thursday, the campaign manager of the NPP, Boakye Agyarko said the president was out of touch with reality and does not appear to see or even care about the thousands of the vulnerable who sleep outside, at the mercy of the weather because there is no shelter for them.
“In John Mahama, Ghana has a president who believes social housing is traveling to Korea to sign a bad deal for the construction of expensive 200, 000 houses at an average price of $50,000 which did not even happen.
“There has been nothing social about any housing policy directly promoted by John Mahama under the NDC3 regime, misdirecting his attacks on every visionary, social policy by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
“It is obvious that the president is either not well informed about Nana Addo’s policy on social housing or has deliberately chosen to ignore the details for political expedience and in doing so has only succeeded in exposing his unforgivable ignorance on the subject matter,” he stated.
Providing details on the kayayei housing policy, Boakye Agyarko stated the policy will be replicated in all the ten regions of the country at a cost of 140 million cedis over a four year period.
He said the hostels will be built in partnership with the private sector and the hostels rented out at cheap and affordable rates.
“…Shops will be provided on the ground floor which will be rented out at commercial rates to enable private sector partners to recoup part of their investments in the hostel," he added.
But the NDC still remains resolute in their conviction that the policy is a political gimmick to win votes.
Deputy Local Government Minister Elvis Afriyie Ankrah who spoke to Joy News’ Evans Mensah said merely providing cost to the policy does not make the policy feasible or that the NPP has shown commitment to pursuing it.
In an analogy, the NDC firebrand said knowing the cost of paracetamol does not mean one has cure for headache.
He said the NPP has no track record of delivering on affordable housing and their eight year stay in office was a living testimony to that fact.
Ankra said the NDC is committed to solving the root cause of the problem, rather than its symptoms.
Currently, he said the SADA initiative and other policies are solving the socio-economic challenges which are forcing the porters to come down south to work as head porters.
When he was reminded that the NDC head of Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency Tony Aidoo said that housing kayayei was an original idea put into the NDC 2004 manifesto and which the NPP was copying, Elvis Ankrah stated that is “inconsequential.”
He stated the NDC has the better option to solving the housing problem of poor and vulnerable in the country.