Hostels for â€˜Kayayeiâ€™?
2005-11-17 14:09:48This article has been read 873 times.
In our editorial of September 26 2005 under the headline â€˜MINISTERSâ€™ STATEMENTS: GOVâ€™T POLICY OR PERSONAL?â€™, we sought to know which of the many promises and sweet talks by our ministers represented their private thoughts, and which represented governmentâ€™s.
That piece, was occasioned by a statement made by the Minister for Private Sector Development and Presidentâ€™s Special Initiatives, Mr. Kwamena Bartels, when he took his turn at the â€˜Meet the Pressâ€™ series, to the effect that land banks that had been acquired would be allocated to ministers and parliamentarians for farming purposes.
The minister subsequently retracted that statement, but not until government had disowned that policy objective amidst a furore.
We had drawn attention to the fact that in our part of the world, statements, more often than not, run politics, and not deeds, and for which reason politicians, knowing what sound bites attracted the best round of applause, would always repeat them at the least opportunity, when most of these statements are mere rhetorics, and not backed by any policy directions.
Our reference points then were promises of a â€˜golden age of businessâ€™ and â€˜zero-tolerance for corruption,â€™ that had no policy backing and seemed to have fizzled out as quickly as they had been pronounced.
Last Tuesday, November 15 2005, Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing, at his turn of the â€˜Meet the Pressâ€™ series, informed Ghanaians that his Ministry was â€œconsidering the establishment of well-maintained hostels for the homeless and disadvantaged such as the â€˜Kaya yeiâ€™ (porters).â€
He informed the gathering that already the programme would be replicated in â€œall Regional capitals, and all District capitals.â€ He continued, â€œIn this respect, the ministry has written to all Regional Ministers to source and acquire land for the commencement of these housing projects.â€
Certainly, a promise such as this would send the hearts of many, leaping with joy, as it is the desire of all to live in dignity, which includes having a decent shelter.
However, considering the fact that these proposed hostels are not going to be for free, and also that â€œthe Governmentâ€™s affordable housing shall be owner-occupierâ€ as announced by the minister on the same platform, The Chronicle finds it hard to appreciate how the ministerâ€™s promise to the Kaya yei could be achieved, except to take it as one of those sound bites earlier referred to.
But more puzzling is the fact that already, government is in the process of selling all government Low Cost Houses built under the 1972 Low cost Housing Programme to the sitting tenants.
The two programmes are incongruent and do not suggest that there is a clear policy on housing.
Very often politicians get away with various promises, simply because the electorate does not hold their (the politicianâ€™s) feet to the fire of accountability.
The Chronicle does not expect that this promise, made on what we want to believe is an important national platform, was meant to go with the wind like political platform promises.
Ghanaians therefore would definitely be holding the minister to it.