General News of Friday, 16 December 2016
Promises made by president-elect, Nana Akufo-Addo to Zongo communities during his campaign prior to the election, will be captured in his first budget in 2017.
At least this is the assurance from Akufo-Addo’s spokesperson, Mustapha Hamid who made the remark on Eyewitness News on Thursday. According to him, the NPP is bent on ensuring that the promise is fulfilled.
“During the Kufuor era we said we will pay Arabic school teachers and we did it. Beyond that, we have said that we are going to establish a Zongo development fund which will do a broad range of things…and we will see it in the very first budget.
And I’m sure by March or April the budget of the new NPP government will be read and people will see concretely that these are not mere campaign sloganeering and that we mean to put the structures in place so that skepticism could be erased forever.”
Mustapha Hamid made the remark on the back of doubts expressed by a Muslim community leader, Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, who was adamant about Akufo-Addo’s promises to the Zongos.
The NDC in its 2016 manifesto promised promised to boost development in Zongo communities by setting up a Zongo development fund to champion that vision. But Sheikh Aremeyaw Shaibu, who also doubles as the spokesperson for the National Chief Imam, said things might remain the same.
“I have lived my life in this country across different political dispensations. I challenge everyone to tell me exactly what has changed. Not much has changed. The Muslim community, particularly the Zongo remains a disadvantaged community and that is why there is so much poverty, there is so much redundancy and lack of progress and it is reflecting in the attitudes of the people within the Zongo.”
“In fact, we are watching and some of the things we have said against other governments we will say against NPP if they don’t fulfill their promises. The past governments have exploited Hajj and they have given the impression that government sponsors Hajj. Government doesn’t sponsor Hajj; but government has exploited the Hajj,” he noted.
However, Akufo-Addo’s spokesperson said his party won’t let Muslims down. “Nobody is ever going to be able to create heaven on earth, but he will contribute his modest best to ensure a certain descent and comfortable life for our zongo communities within human limit,” Mr. Hamid added.