27 July 2012

Ghana: Probe the Kwabre Unwholesome Food Drama

While the nation grieves over the sudden departure of Prof. John Evans Atta Mills into the next world, there are still quite a number of issues which ought to attract the attention of the mass of the people.

Yesterday, The Chronicle published in the inside pages a report on the negative activities of caterers in the Ashanti Region, who are feeding school kids in the Kwabre East District with expired food items, as well as unwholesome foodstuffs.

According to the news item, a newly-employed cook for one of the service providers for the School Feeding Programme discovered that her employers were using expired food items and unwholesome foodstuffs to prepare food for pupils of the Dumanaafo Roman Catholic School in the Kwabre East District of the Ashanti Region.

The patriotic cook reported the matter to the Headmaster of the school, who called in newsmen. The Chronicle is appalled by this development. The idea of the School Feeding Programme is to ensure that school kids from poor homes, who are denied balanced meals for the reason of their background, could benefit from a meal a day, which would aid their normal development as human beings, as well as their learning process.

Unfortunately, officials in the Local Government Administration and District Chief Executives throughout the country have found the School Feeding Programme an ideal ground for rewarding party officials, who cut corners in the food preparation to make savings on their small investments in the programme.

The idea, which gave birth to the programme, as a means of providing a balanced diet, for, at least, once a day for school kids, has rather become a political football game, in which only the party faithful is favoured.

There have been several complaints that some of the caterers were cutting corners, and that school kids were not getting value for the huge investment by the state in the programme. Most of these protests are whispered in private, without the complainants providing concrete evidence of wrongdoing on the part of caterers.

That is why The Chronicle is happy with the revelation in the Kwabre East of the Ashanti Region. We are told that apart from alerting the Headmaster of the Dumanaafo R/C Primary School, the whistleblower granted an interview to an FM station in Kumasi.

She told her audience that when she discovered that her employers were using expired, and in many cases unwholesome food items, to prepare meals for our kids, she was alarmed, and asked to be told why.

"When I enquired from them as to why they were using goods that have expired to prepare the meals, they warned me to keep quiet, because I am a village girl who doesn't know anything," she told the radio station.

The Chronicle salutes the courage of our whistleblower, and invites the authorities to investigate the matter thoroughly. We are inviting chiefs and opinion leaders to constitute themselves into a pressure group to ensure that this matter is fully investigated.

School children are our future leaders. It is our duty to ensure that no harm is visited on them in their formative years. That is why the truth in the unwholesome food drama ought to be fully uncovered, for the right punishment to meted out to those who conceived and implemented the idea of serving unwholesome food to our kids, and smile all the way to the bank.

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