The Municipal Chief Executive for the Mfantseman Municipal Assembly, Kenneth Essuman has commended Crime Check Foundation (CCF) for empowering the poor and voiceless through its sensitization programmes on local bye-laws.
He said the education on the bye-laws being carried out by CCF will help reduce violations of the law.
Addressing participants at a workshop on the bye-laws of the MMA, Mr. Essuman indicated that many individuals especially vagrants ignorantly flout the bye-laws leading to arrests, fines and imprisonments. He said through constant education, these violations will be curbed and arrests, fines and imprisonments reduced. “Many individuals inappropriately dispose off their refuse because of lack of education and this leads to their arrests. With consistent education on the dangers of littering the environment, people will do it the proper way. So we thank CCF for putting us on our toes and also educating the residents on their rights and responsibilities.” He said.
The programme formed part of the implementation of CCF’s Decriminalizing Vagrancy Laws and Advocacy project which seeks to increase knowledge on the bye-laws of the MMDAs and other relevant penal codes to reduce violations, arrests, fines, and imprisonment of citizens under the laws. It is expected to ensure an enabling environment for ‘vagrants’ (the homeless, street hawkers, head porters, vendors, truck pushers, market women, artisans, and other identifiable and vulnerable groups) to know, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities in Ghana. The project is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
The excited vagrants called for more education. They appealed to the Assembly to send a representative to occasionally attend various Association meetings of vagrants to continue the education on the bye-laws. “This is a well organized programme but it should not end here. The education should continue with Assembly officials attending our meetings so that we are always abreast of the laws.” An association leader appealed.
The vagrants also raised concerns about lack of some basic amenities which is impeding their businesses.
The Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), established in 2000, is a grant-making and advocacy organization focused on equality, justice, democratic governance, human rights, and knowledge generation. It is part of the global network of Open Society Foundations spread across 37 countries around the world. He said the Assemblies outrageously fine these vagrants for committing petty offences.
Citizens’ Complaints: To report harassment and potential imprisonment under a local assembly bye-law, please contact or whatsApp: 0559544199 / 0507353539