Some angry caterers of the School Feeding Programme in the Wa Municipality of the Upper West Region are up in arms against the Municipal Chief Executive of the area, Isahaku Moomin Tahiru, for allegedly abrogating their contracts without recourse to the managers of the programme.
At a press conference in Wa on Wednesday, the group accused the MCE of allegedly replacing them with his cronies.
The about 150 caterers, who are mostly supporters of the New Patriotic Party, massed up at the Wa Central Constituency office of the party, with the letters terminating their contracts to demand an immediate reversal of the decision by the Assembly.
Addressing the media, a former NPP Deputy Constituency Women’s Organizer, Ibrahim Hanatu, who is the Vice-Chairperson for the Wa Municipal School Feeding Caterers Association, explained that majority of their members were awarded the contracts because of their roles in the fortunes of the NPP in the Wa Municipality, and that any attempt to disengage them will spell doom for the party in the next general election.
Madam Hanatu called on the leadership of the NPP and the Ghana School Feeding Programme to intervene.
“When they gave us our appointment letters, they never indicated that it was a two-year contract. There is no date in any of the appointment letters. There is nothing like two years contract in our letters. Recently they called us to the assembly. We thought they were to talk about something different but when we got there, they issued us some letters. It was in these letters that they mentioned that they gave us a two-year contract and that we should stop working. Meaning that, if schools resume and we go to prepare food for the kids, we will not be paid. That came to us as a disappointment. That is why we want to tell the leadership of the party and the School Feeding Secretariat that we are in an election year and that this is likely to affect our fortunes in the upcoming elections.”
“We want to plead. We have been promised that they have jobs for us but we want to state that the school feeding has helped us and our families. We are able to educate our children. Don't let us be discouraged because that can lead to our defeat. Give back our contracts so we can feel appreciated. We are so sad about this development. Let it be communicated to the leadership from regional to national that if the feeding programme is taken from us, it will cost them a possible defeat,” Madam Hanatu warned.
Citi News sighted a copy of the letter issued on the 27th of July, and signed by the acting Wa Municipal Coordinator, Amadu Zure, for the MCE, notifying the caterers that their contracts have been terminated.
The Wa Municipal Chief Executive, Isahaku Mumeen Tahiru, confirmed the letter’s authenticity but said it was to avoid procurement breaches between the assembly and the caterers.
“We haven't terminated contracts. As an assembly, we don't have the mandate to award feeding contracts. That is the prerogative of the Ghana School Feeding Programme and the Ministry of Gender. However, we only wrote to notify the caterers of the expiration of the two-year contracts they had with the programme so that at least they will be aware that when they go to prepare food, that will be under a new contract. If any cost comes out of that, the assembly won't be liable”.
Meanwhile, a letter issued on the 6th of August and signed by the National Coordinator of the Ghana School Feeding Programme, Gertrude Quashigah, has directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies not to appoint new caterers or terminate the contracts of existing ones.
It says “the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection together with the School Feeding Programme secretariat will collaborate with MMDAs to re-engage and appoint caterers for the 2019/2020 academic year”.