N/R: Gov’t delegation faces stiff resistance over school feeding impasse

A team of mediators carefully handpicked and dispatched by the presidency to resolve the controversies strangling progress of the Ghana National School Feeding Programme in the Northern region is facing stiff resistance, Ultimate News has learnt.

Chances of a peace agreement between dozen youth and women groups fighting in favour of the Regional coordinator, Madam Felicia Tetteh, and the Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister, looked slim on Monday despite an extension of negotiations due to inflexibility of the youth and women wing of the ruling party.

Members of the team included, NPA boss, Hassan Tampuli, Deputy Energy Minister, Mohammed Amin Anta, Presidential Staffer, Napaga Tia Sulemana and Hajia Abiba who are facing tougher resistance since their arrival in Tamale last week Friday.

The president sent down these powerful Northern voices in his government to investigate wide ranging allegations against the Minister, Madam Otiko Djaba and mediate the chaos that has beset the School feeding programme in the region.

The delegations were to investigate claims of tribal appointments, neglect of party women majority, double appointments and frosty relationship between the regional coordinator and Madam Otiko Djaba.

The groups demand that the minister concentrate on her supervisory responsibilities and stop meddling in the regional affairs of the programme, which have constantly appeared extremely challenging to Madam Otiko Djaba.

The team arrived same day the National Coordinator of the programme, Dr. Kwame Adu Nsiah and his team also left the region after a weeklong attempt to end the noisy confusion that has bedeviled the programme, caused by administrative miscalculations.

The National coordinator, his deputy and two communications officers of the programme angered the agitating youth and women groups when they announced during a news briefing on Friday that the impasse had been resolved and unity fostered.

Dr. Kwame at the news conference had attempted to belittle the situation, pushed back all allegations against Madam Otiko Djaba before shockingly stating that the misunderstanding had been resolved.

According to sources, the comments by the National Coordinator, obviously an orchestration to outsmart stakeholders including the delegations, have caused the groups to ignore the negotiations being led by Mr. Amin Anta, just to rather show how bad the situation had escalated.

The presidential delegations have been struggling to settle the impasse following the uncompromising position taken by the majority youth and women groups opposing the minister.

Though the team have engaged many parties in the ongoing mediation process, majority who are still left to appear before the team have decided to speak out their concerns publicly and to the media.

At a news conference on Monday, “Concerned Women Group and Polling Station Organizers of NPP” described the tour of the National Coordinator and his team as “divisive agenda” driven by “untruth” and “lies”.

The group descended tremendously on Dr. Kwame Adu harshly slamming him for attempts to cover up and present inconclusive and false reports of the entire situation.

“Ladies and gentlemen, why did the National Coordinator lie to cover genuine concerns? He should be reminded that in politics we fix problems that seek to undermine the progress of a party in future elections, but not to resort to obvious untruths because of inundated ambitions”

“Ladies and gentlemen, we thought as a national coordinator of proper managerial skills would have called on the regional executives and council of elders to address our concerns but he has neglected this reasonable solutions and resort to divisive tactics and lies”, spokesperson for the group, Fatimata Abubakri read the statement at Mafara Hotel.

The group said it will stage a mammoth street protest that will shock the NPP government if its concerns go unheeded.

It is not clear the progress of the delegations’ efforts but Ultimate News has learnt, the team is growing increasingly discouraged and weary and may dump the negotiations.

The team has refused comment on the matter.

The programme remained stagnant for nearly a month now following continued violent protests against Madam Otiko by a league of youth and women groups affiliated to the ruling party.

One of the groups, The Burma Camp, displaying its frustrations besieged and shut down the regional secretariat last month after accusing the Gender Minister of appointing her tribal cronies into the programme and sidelining the party women majority.

Just a week after the attack, the group stopped the zonal coordinators from carrying out their monitoring role demanding for fresh appointment.

By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9FM/Eliasu Tanko