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General News of Thursday, 27 August 2020


MCE, NPP executives clash over 'hot meal' for students in Suhum

File photo: Many schools in Suhum Municipality were not served the hot meals on Monday File photo: Many schools in Suhum Municipality were not served the hot meals on Monday

The Municipal Chief Executive for Suhum, Margaret Darko Darkwah has clashed with the Suhum Constituency Executives of the ruling New Patriotic Party over the preparation of “hot meals” for private and public final year Junior High School students.

According to the Constituency Executives, there is a directive from National Executives of the NPP that the contract for preparing the meals for the students must be given to the Constituency Executives, however, the MCE, has disregarded with the directive and instead issued contract letters to different caterers without the consent of the executives.

Due to the misunderstanding, many schools in Suhum Municipality were not served the hot meals on Monday when the program started.

A Constituency Executive told Starr News on condition of anonymity that “The MCE said he will use Police to intimidate the Constituency Executives when they bring their food because he has instructed caterers to cook. Yesterday amicably the Constituency Executives spoke to the head teachers and the caterers hired by the MCE that they can continue to cook but subject to new terms and condition with the Constituency Executives because they will pay them so anyone who disregarded them will not be paid because the money will be paid to the account of the Constituency Executives.”

He said some of the schools “will get double food because the MCE has asked some caterers to cook while the constituency Executives are also cooking for the same schools.”

But when contacted the MCE for Suhum Margaret Darko told Starr News, there is no such directive from National Executives of the party that contract for cooking of the hot meals should be given to the Constituency Executives of the party.

“National Executives do not manage school feeding. I’m the MCE representing the President so I am just ensuring smooth implementation of the government policy. I am not the one who selected the caterers. As at Monday when the program started many schools didn’t get their foods because there were no caterers. But according to the Education Minister schools that were already under the school feeding their caterers must cook the hot meal. So those without caterers I organized some women issued them with introductory letters to the headteachers to cook for their schools.”

Government’s intervention to provide final year Junior High School (JHS) students, teachers and staff with one hot meal a day started on Monday August 24,2020.

The initiative, expected to last for the next 20 days, will benefit about 584,000 pupils and 146,000 teachers in about 17,440 private and public JHS schools across the country.

The President announced the initiative in his 15th Update on the country’s COVID-19 Response and said the decision was to ameliorate the plight of the students as they prepare for the final examination.

This is not the first time MCE for Suhum and the Constituency Executives are up in arms over feeding of students. Contract for school feeding program became a tug of war between the two factions, it took the intervention of some national executives to resolve the impasse this year.