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Opinions of Sunday, 24 July 2011

Columnist: Boateng, Chris Gyamfi

Akuffo Addo To Exploit And Engage In Child Labor?

Whereas the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) are working strenuously against child exploitation and child labor in developing countries, the NPP’s 2008 defeated presidential candidate Mr. Akuffo Addo is eagerly pursuing the opposite as a means of realizing his age-long and unbridled political ambition.

For instance, the ILO in 1919 developed the first Minimum Age Convention that regulated the age at which children could work. Then, in 1973, a more comprehensive Minimum Age Convention, Number 138, was adopted, and it remains the fundamental standard till today.

In-spite of efforts by these international organizations to curb and protect the abuse of children from exploitation, Akuffo Addo has kicked against these conventions by going ahead to gather children somewhere in the Eastern Region of Ghana as depicted by one of NPP’s surrogates and mouthpiece the Peacefm.

Akuffo Addo claims to be embarking on a kind of a “listening” tour or something to that effect and in the process gathered a horde of school going children under tree with a promise of offering them jobs! Images from the photo-op indicate that besides his entourage of men with their over-bloated bellies standing behind him, none of his “listeners” are / were old enough to be employed or work. One of the children “listening” to Akuffo Addo is said to have stated that he’s been out of job since the NDC came to power. I employ readers to obectively take a critical look at the attached picture and tell me if the forth (4 th ) child in the picture, counting from the left, is old enough to work? When was he born and what kind of job was he doing before the NDC came to power? Who would allow his /her son at that tender age to engage in any job or Mr. Akuffo Addo is telling us that he is going to create a labor camp for our school going children to be exploited to satisfy his ego?

Mr. Akuffo Addo claims he believes in Ghana and that he is going to offer jobs to jobless and hungry Ghanaians; fine. But let’s consider his place of abode in Accra-Ghana: Nima.

Nima is said to be one of the poorest suburbs of Accra with many school going youth engaged in all kinds of menial jobs with some not being able to afford paying their school fees, buying books or uniform, hence dropping out of school. There are cluster of schools all around Nima and Kanda. The question is, how many deprived children in Mr. Akuffo Addo’s neighborhood has he assisted, either in kind or in cash, with their tuition, uniform, books or food? How many has he assisted to enter any of the universities in Ghana ? Also, since he is going about promising jobs when voted into office, why doesn’t he offer those jobs to the parents of the deprived children in his neighborhood today? After all, little drops of water makes a mighty ocean, so say the adage. After all, Bill Gates didn’t wait to enter the White House before he started assisting people from all shades of lives as well as offering jobs to millions of people. Or, let’s take for instance, how many people in Kyebi did Akuffo Addo offer jobs to when he represented them as their member of parliament? Akuffo Addo has rather deprived people of their jobs by selling his father’s hotel which had employed many Ghanaians – talking of bad management, right? If you can’t manage it, sell it!

Mr. Akuffo Addo is going about giving out promises here and there while offering non-existing jobs. He takes Ghanaians to be so gullible, thinking that they can’t read between the lines. The NPP barely left office two and a half years ago and therefore cannot convince observing Ghanaians that they created jobs during their tenure and that the jobs just whittled away as soon as the NDC assumed power. Akuffo Addo must be remembered that tongues are wagging and enquiring minds are asking as to why he only joins tro-tros and eats with a selected “ordinary” Ghanaians only when it comes to electioneering campaigns. Most Ghanaians I’ve spoken to feel insulted by his posture and cheap politicking and it was hard time he devises a sober and enduring-human centered campaign strategies if he means to win the hear and soul of Ghanaians and stop those infantile gimmicks hanky-panky approach which would not fly.

Moreover, instead of appealing to and promising jobs to school going children as depicted by the picture above, Akuffo Addo and his team must admonish them to stay and work hard in school in order to realize their potentials; what he is doing could at best be described as child exploitation and child labor which the international community frowns upon.

Chris Gyamfi Boateng, MS. Info Philadelphia, USA