Include us in development plans – Vagrants demand
Development in the Suame Municipal Assembly has been described by vagrants in the municipality as static as they accused the assembly of neglecting them.
According to them, the disregard for their needs in the assembly’s development plans has further worsened their economic status.
“We plead with the assembly to consider our needs when drawing up developmental projects because it looks like we have been neglected and denied access to essential social amenities,” a vagrant said.
“Lands meant for refuse sites, playgrounds, pavements, and parks have all been sold by landowners, and the Assembly cannot exonerate itself from blame. This is because this affluent individual secure permits for any development from the Assembly, and they don’t care about us.”
They made these requests at a sensitization workshop themed: ‘Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project’ held in Kumasi on July 15, 2021.
A vagrant is a person without a settled home or work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging or hawking on the streets.
Participants of the programme were drawn from the traditional authorities, market women, head porter’s association, truck pushers, sanitation workers, the local chapter of Federation of Disability Organizations, representatives from the Prisons Service, Suame Municipal Assembly officials, elected members of the Assembly and other identifiable groups.
“If there is no place for us to dump refuse and park our cars, we are bound to do it anyhow, and that will be lawlessness. There is no sense in arresting us if we do not have a lorry park,” a representative from the GPRTU bemoaned.
They also appealed for a clampdown on noisemakers in the various electoral areas.
The first sensitization programme for the project was held at the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, the others were held in the Ashiaman Municipal Assembly, La Nkwantanang Madina Municipal Assembly, the Weija-Gbawe Municipal Assembly, and the Awutu Senya Municipal Assembly.
The project is being implemented by the crime prevention organization, Crime Check Foundation (CCF), in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The one-year project from May 2021 to May 2022 will be rolled out in 12 metropolitan assemblies in three regions; Greater Accra, Ashanti, and Central.
“We have begun with the mapping, and we are engaging with the various district assemblies in the selected regions and the leadership of vagrants,” The Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, told theghanareport.com.
The project will sensitize 1200 vagrants about their rights and responsibilities to prevent any misunderstandings with the assemblies.
“In order not to seem as we are inciting vagrants against the district assemblies and the central government, we will also educate them about their duties as patriotic citizens,” he added.
Monitoring and Evaluation
To monitor the progress and effectiveness of the project, a contact center will be created after the sensitization to address the concerns of vagrants at the partnering organization, Crime Check Foundation.
According to Mr. Kwarteng, the police will also be engaged to monitor the progress of the project.
Citizens’ Complaints: To report harassment and potential imprisonment under a local assembly bye-law, don’t hesitate to get in touch with Whatsapp number: 0559544199 / 0507353539