“Any person found begging and any person wandering or placing himself in any premises or place for the purpose of begging may be arrested by a police officer without warrant and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding fifty new cedis or to imprisonment not exceeding three months or to both.” This is the NLCD (1969). This law still holds till this date. Anyone who is sensed to be begging shall be subject to the whims and caprices of this law. I do not know if the religious bodies know about this law. The Ghanaian is an emotive being who is overly religious that this law is nothing but nonsense to him. Some religions encourage begging while others encourage alms giving. How do we reconcile both religion and law in order not to bring conflict within the Ghanaian society?
On the Taxi Driver Show hosted by Blakk Rasta on Zylofon FM this afternoon (11th July) on a segment known as Black Pot, showed his disgust towards the hawkers in the city of Accra who beg instead of selling their wares. Now, he suggested that the Accra Mayor should do something drastic because most of the hawkers there were trafficked from the northern part of Ghana to the city for various reasons.
I agree the perfectly with this assertion because the hawkers on the streets of Accra beg for money instead of being creative with selling whatever it is they are selling. Some even snatch unsuspecting persons of their phones, wallets, handbags and what have you.
However, these hawkers are life savers. Imagine closing from work at 5pm from Achimota to your place of abode in Tema or Madina. The traffic flow is so slow that it takes almost 2 hours to get home. Not only do we enjoy snacks and quench our thirst, we also satisfy our hunger even before we get to our various destinations. The only difference between the shopping malls and street hawkers is that you do not get to have receipts. Everything is sold on the streets, including forex.
These hawkers pay tolls of half a cedi a day so it means we are getting some sort of revenue from them. Government benefits economically from these hawkers more than cooperate bodies. Just imagine an average of a thousand street hawkers on our streets pay 50 pesewas each day – that’s a lot of money. The money is used for some social amenities in the country and these hawkers benefit little from them.
Some have argued that we need to rid the hawkers of the streets so as to sanitize the city befitting of a capital. Ghana has over the years gained the accolade, “The Gateway to Africa” so we are visited by a lot of tourists across the length and breadth of the globe. The first thing these tourists see is not the beautiful Boti Falls or the Ʋli Falls or Kakum National Park. People pretending to sell are everywhere begging.
If we are to take both hawkers and beggars off the street, Ghana Police too much be off the streets as well. They pretend to be inspecting only they can tell. Instead of upholding law and order, they use their uniform for national ‘chobo’ collection.
Ghana is I have and in committed to making sure it is rid of almost all ills. “God bless our homeland Ghana and make it great and strong.”