BECE candidates’ food branded in NPP colours won’t happen again-School Feeding Coodinator
The School Feeding Programme says it is taking a tough stance against the branding of meals meant for Junior High School pupils with the campaign stickers of some New Patriotic Party (NPP) aspirants and the President.
“It came to our notice and we are on it seriously. It is not going to happen again,” The National Coordinator of the programme, Dr Gertrude Quarshigah, said.
As social media boils over images of foods meant for final-year junior high school students being branded in party colours, she had an excuse.
“You can’t be everywhere. We are handling 16 regions and 254 districts,” she said.
The branding of the food packs she said was because some of the caterers handling the food were too passionate –an act she said even the President would not condone.
She was reacting to social media videos and pictures showing some NPP aspiring members of Parliament turning the government’s one hot meal a day for final-year junior high school pupils into a campaign tool.
Two days into the sharing of free food to the students, some parliamentary aspirants are branding it with their images and NPP party colours as they seek political advantage ahead of the December 7 elections.
President Nana Akufo-Addo on August 16 announced the government will feed Junior High School students one meal a day as they prepare to write their Basic Education Certificate Examinations.
With junior high schools not in full session, canteens have been closed down, causing the pupils to go hungry.
With that in mind, President Akufo-Addo, in his 15th address to the nation on August 16, said he received reports that JHS 3 students who would finish their examination by September 18 “were going hungry while complying with COVID-19 protocols.”
He, therefore, instructed the Minister of Children, Gender and Social Protection to give the pupils one hot meal a day from August 24 to September 18.
But a week after the announcement, theghanareport.com has spotted at least three takeaway packs branded with the images of the President and the aspiring MPs for Tamale Central, Tolon and Kpando constituencies.
In the Northern Region, food distributed to the schoolchildren on Tuesday had the poster on the takeaway pack—the smiling face of the President and the NPP aspiring member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Dr Ibrahim Anyars.
Similarly, in the Tolon Constituency, there were pictures of branded food package with the images of the President and the aspiring MP on the ticket of the NPP, Alhaji Habib Iddrisu.
It also has the NPP’s 2020 campaign slogan ‘4MoreforNana’.
The situation is not different from that of the Kpando Constituency, where the food meant for the JHS students had the images of the President and Ernest Theophilus Quist, the NPP parliamentary aspirant of the Kpando Constituency.
Although the sharing of food branded in party colours is nothing new, it is, however, limited to party political party events, including conferences and primaries where aspirants try to court delegates.
Apart from the pictures, there are also videos of schoolchildren on social media chanting ‘4MoreforNana’ in exchange for food.
There are also concerns over the poor quality of the food being given to the school children.
Social media is awash with poorly packaged food that many say is not worth the GHc 15 the state is forking out per day for each student.
But Dr Quarshigah said the School Feeding Programme had engaged the caterers to improve the quality of the food.
These include adding soya to the corn dough for banku.
She said regional and district directors had been asked to assess the quality of food being served to the students and teachers as concerns over the quality of food swell.