Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre( MASLOC) Alberta Afia Akoto has hit back at #FixTheCountry campaigners who are asking for the housing deficit in the country to be addressed, saying that campaigners ought to get serious with their advocacy since, for her, even in America there are homeless people.
Madam Afia Akoto was reacting specifically to a picture of some persons sleeping at the Independence Square, which the campaigners sought to use to draw attention to homelessness in the country. The campaigners message accompanying the picture asked: ” How far with the affordable housing?? #Nationbuilding.”
In reaction, Madam Afia Akoto first cast doubt on the authenticity of the picture by suggesting that the persons in the picture may he actors rather than random people. She reminded the activists that homeless people are found in America and that they ought to get more serous with their activism.
“Ah but one can easily get people to pose like they are sleeping on these walls just to have this picture anaa???
Well please tell her even in America there are homeless people and they should get serious with their issues . Yes! We have a country to fix. But can we get more serious here . When you talk they will then tell you , you are “narrow minded” how intelligent…” she said.
Her reaction was swiftly endorsed by another New Patriotic Party(NPP) member and Public Relations Officer(PRO) of the State Housing Company Limited, Gordon Asare-Bediako who said that the campaigners got it wrong because people choose to relax at the Independence Square because of the aeration and not necessarily out of homelessness.
Homelessness in Ghana
According to experts, there is a huge housing deficit in the country that needs urgent resolution. Many are unable to afford rent, especially in urban areas forcing many to sleep rough. Squatting is very common in major cities across the country.
Successive Governments have made attempts to address it through affordable housing projects. But their interventions have barely scratched at the surface of the problem.
Governments have also failed to address exorbitant charges by landlords who demand advance payments that breach rent laws.