The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) has denied claims by some members of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) that the distribution of meals to residents in some deprived communities in Accra is being done on partisan lines.
Describing the claims are “blatant lies,” the Communications Director of NADMO, George Ayisi told Citi News’ Umaru Sanda Amadu that the speedy nature of their work cannot even afford them the opportunity to make inquiries about people’s party affiliation before the food is distributed.
Minority MPs from areas such as Klottey Korle, Odododiodoo, Ayawaso North, Ablekuma South, Ashaiman, Obom Domeabra, and Asawase have said that there is an elaborate scheme to ensure that members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) within the beneficiary communities are excluded from the package.
Dr. Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings who first made the claim earlier this week emphasized the need for persons discriminately distributing the items to be dealt with.
“People are using partisanship to distribute food. This is unacceptable. This is very sad. The lockdown is for the whole place and not just a few people. What is going on is wrong. We need greater accountability and transparency in the distribution of food,” Dr. Zanetor said when she distributed food to some Kayayei recently.
But George Ayisi in an interview on Eyewitness News on Friday said although he recalls an instance where a New Patriotic Party (NPP) parliamentary candidate volunteered to assist in the distribution of food, there were strict instructions to him not to make political statements or conduct himself in any way to politicize the exercise.
“When we went to the Ayawaso North, which is the Nima, Maamobi enclave, we had a group of volunteers, one of them I identified as the parliamentary candidate for the NPP at the Ayawaso North constituency. They said they are trying to support us and I said no problem, but I asked them not to make any political comment…We saw an NPP car there but we told them we don’t want that car in our convoy and they agreed,” he said.
George Ayisi further indicated that the NADMO team which is spearheading the distribution had encountered people who declined to take the food because they thought it was being distributed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
“It is absolutely a blatant lie [that we are being partisan with the distribution]. We get to some places and even when you want to give them the food, some are hesitant because they say it is the party that is bringing the food, but we tell them no, it is from NADMO…”
“We are sometimes in a hurry because we don’t want a violation of the social distancing rule so what time will we have to check party cards?… A lot of the people that come for the food are below 18 years, they are kids, so which party card are they going to show?” he quizzed.
“When it comes to the national one [distribution], NADMO, there is no partisan consideration,” he added.
MPs, parliamentary candidates banned for volunteering
Mr. Ayisi further indicated that based on a directive from its mother ministry, the Ministry for Gender and Social Protection, no Member of Parliament or parliamentary candidate will be allowed to volunteer or support the team in any way in distributing the food.
He, however, said Members of Parliament for Parliamentary candidates who wish to support their constituents by distributing meals can do so in the personal capacities with their private resources after seeking consent from the ministry.
“As far as this is concerned, no MP is to be part of the distribution… If an MP is doing it from his or her own resources, we don’t have any issue with that. The only thing you need to do is to clear with the gender ministry before you go ahead because they have to know the quality of food you are sharing,” George Ayisis said.