The vexatious subject matter of child beggary has once again become topical within the media space after the-state owned Daily Graphic brought it to the fore yesterday; sadly, we at The New Publisher, are not optimistic the revived talks would lead to any positive pragmatic change.
Child beggary has become a popular and lucrative business. It is not the first time the subject has gained front page headlines but in all the past instances, the country talks about it and goes sleep without the appropriate agencies and appointed authorities taking any meaningful action to stop the illegality.
This time, we may need to mention specific names and lay the blame on their door steps.
Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection comes to mind. She heads the ministry in charge of Children and Social Protection. She is the President’s representative, eyes and ears as far as issues concerning Children and Social Protection is concerned.
Adwoa Safo, truth be told, did not create the mess. It was already a sorry state before her appointment.
But that is why she is paid every month by the ordinary Ghanaian. She is not paid to polish her face, she is paid to fix the mess. She should not for once, think she was appointed there to get paid for four years and then go home as yet another failed Minister in that ministry.
Each day these children remain on the streets as professional full time beggars, their presence exposes the reality of a failed leadership. Fact!!!
In the first place, if child beggary is criminal in Ghana, then how come there is a boom in that business and it is done publicly even along the ceremonial roads. They beg from everyone including police officers, Parliamentarians, journalists and diplomats.
No one gets arrested, no one gets punished. Leadership has silently encouraged child beggary by watching it happen, grow and boom across the country. The children involved have parents. Their homes can be traced. But there is no will power or interest on the part of government to tackle that menace.
In several instances, the able-bodied parents of such children can be seen celebrating laziness under tree shades nearby while giving directions to their bare-footed children in the scorching sun, how to beg for alms from motorists and then account to them the proceeds from the illegal beggary business.
Perhaps, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, with her polished face, is too pretty to get the child beggars off the streets and get their parents face the law. Perhaps she expects the Presient to leave his Nima residence and add that job to his tall list of duties, while she gets paid every month.
We refuse to buy the argument that some of these parents who supervise their children to beg are refugees and therefore there is a challenge tacking them.
What a lazy and lame excuse. Who said refugees in Ghana are allowed to exploit their children, expose them to danger and use them as child labouers in the begging business? If there are laws that frown on child beggary, these laws should work irrespective of whose child is involved.
The laws are not working because of a failed social welfare system. The social welfare system is not working because of failed leadership. And it is only a failed leadership that would continue to condone, tolerate and watch without taking action where there is a clear illegality that involves children; and an illegality that is being done openly and with impunity.