The Project Coordinator of the Crime Check Foundation (CCF) Cosmos Akorli has urged Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to deal with the root cause of vagrancy in their various jurisdiction than taking poor people on because of their status.
Mr. Akorli said it is against the rights of vagrants (poor persons who do not have a fixed abode, a regular source of income, nor practice a trade or profession) to be imprisoned for carrying out their activities because MMDAs rather shirk their responsibility of making life worth living for vagrants.
Speaking on Radio Ghana’s flagship programme, ‘Behind The News’, as part of Media Sensitization under the implementation of the DVLA project, Mr. Akorli attributed the flouting of bye-laws largely to lack of education on the bye-laws among other challenges. He bemoaned that MMDAs are not proactive in that regard.
Though acknowledging that MMDAs are not resourced enough, he entreated them to at least make available their bye-laws to residents to help curb infractions of the laws.
“A lot of these people who are on the streets do not have good knowledge of the law. They do not understand the bye-laws so as we went round the twelve project districts we are operating in, we got a sense of the challenge. The MMDAs do not have the logistics to provide education on their own bye-laws.”
He added, ‘As a result of that, once poor citizens do not have knowledge of the law, they tend to offend the law and they are either fined or imprisoned if they are unable to pay the fine. That is why we have intervened.’
Mr. Akorli encouraged vagrants to make their voices heard when they are abused.
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.
By Rudolph Nandi