The Minister for Information and Member of Parliament for Ofoase-Ayirebi constituency, Hon Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has savagely reply critics claiming that President Akufo-Addo purposely reopened schools to win the ruling New Patriotic Party votes of final year SHS students in the forthcoming 2020 general elections scheduled for December 7, 2020.
His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo in one of his nation’s addresses named the final year Senior High School students as “Akufo-Addo graduates”, as they are the first batch of beneficiaries of the Free SHS policy to be graduated since the implementation of the programme in September 2017.
The Information Minister speaking on Joynews’ Beyond the Lockdown on Sunday night July 12 said “what makes nonsense of that argument is that the people who are, for instance, going to basic school (JHS final year students) are they going to vote? he basic schools, are they also going to vote during the elections?” Oppong Nkrumah questioned rhetorically.
According to the government spokesperson, the final year SHS students who have been singled out by the critics, which he said are mainly members of the opposition National Democratic Congress, forms only a portion of the students who have resumed schooling and, consequently, it makes no sense for such an argument to be put forth.
“I am saying that what makes nonsense of that argument is the fact that if you look at basic schools, they are not going to register to vote. The argument has been that we want these final year students to go and complete their examination and go out”.
The Member of Parliament continued that “those at Senior High Schools again complete and go out, form two gold tracks who haven’t finished for them to complete. Tertiary, those who are going are those who are going to complete their exams and indeed tertiary institutions that have completed their exams have said clearly that they will not even open up because they have completed their exams.
“If you put all of this together, that argument of reopening for registration and voting is thrown out of the window,” Oppong Nkrumah argued as quoted by GhanaWeb.
President Akufo-Addo in a televised nation’s address monitored by Georgeweb.org announced for schools to be reopened to only final year students in the country for them to continue academic activities, complete the 2019/2020 academic year and prepare to sit for their final examination.
However, some concerned groups, stakeholders, and citizenry following the partial reopening of school for the final year students criticized the government for such decision and at some point suggesting for schools to be closed down amid the outbreak of the locally transmitted coronavirus cases.
Some were also of the view that the Akufo-Addo government purposively reopened schools, particularly to final year SHS students who are the first batch of beneficiaries of the Akufo-Addo Free SHS policy to register and vote for the government in the December 7 general elections this year.
Others say the decision by the Electoral Commission to deploy officials into Senior High Schools across the country only puts the students at risk of contracting COVID-19.
The spokesperson in response to the latter argument said “in any case, what the Electoral Commission is doing which we are all watching and I have had the opportunity to speak about even last week, is supposed to be done under an environment that doesn’t put anybody at risk”.