Former President John Mahama has “insulted” the people of the zongos with his recent comments that residents in the mostly-Muslim-populated inner-cities need significant things to impact their lives positively than the football pitches that the Zongo Development Fund is being used for.
According to Mr Mahama, the ZDF set up by the Akufo-Addo government under the Ministry of Zongo and Inner-city Development has now become a vehicle for constructing football pitches and teaching women how to cook waakye, things he considers “insignificant”.
The flag bearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Tuesday accused the government of misappropriating the fund when he met the executives of the Federation of Muslim Council.
“We don’t want to come and put up a ‘romantic’ Zongo Development Fund for show and use it to make football pitches for people to play, teach our women how to cook waakye among others,” he criticised.
“We think”, he noted: “That the issues facing the Muslim community are bigger than that”, explaining: “Access to education, how we put the children in school and keep them in school so that they don’t drop out.”
“What is the access to healthcare in the communities?” Mr Mahama enquired, emphasising the need for the government to prioritise those needs of the people in the zongos.
Responding to Mr Mahama’s critique, the sector Minister Dr Mustapha Abdul-Hamid told Accra-based Citi FM in an interview on Wednesday that: “It is not true that the Zongo Development Fund is used for unnecessary things as he [Mr Mahama] claims”.
“When you say the Zongo communities do not need recreational facilities, with the greatest of respect, that is an insult to the people in Zongo communities. Recreational facilities for Zongo communities are a must”, Dr Abdul-Hamid insisted, enumerating: “We are doing one project across Zongo communities, we are renovating classroom blocks, we are building ICT centres”.
“As we speak”, he revealed, “In the next month or two, 40 zongo youth will be going to Cuba to train as medical doctors.”