Oye Lithur Battles Deputies Over LEAP

There is low morale at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection over what staff have described as the overbearing influence of the Minister, Nana Oye Lithur.

Information gathered by DAILY GUIDE indicates that tension is brewing at the ministry following attempts by Mrs Oye Lithur to deny her two deputies the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) package for their constituencies.

The government in 2008 introduced LEAP, as a social intervention cash transfer programme for the poorest households in Ghana, aimed at empowering the extremely poor, disadvantaged, disabled and vulnerable population.

But the paper’s credible source at the Ministry was emphatic that Mrs Oye Lithur had, on two occasions, cancelled the list of beneficiaries of Gomoa Central and Ledzokuku constituencies, where Rachael Florence Opoku-Apoh and Benita Sena Okitty Duah are MPs respectively.

According to the source, the development could spell ‘political doom’ for the two deputies, particularly when nobody in their constancies had benefited from the cash transfer programme.

“This is sad; the monies are shared in their ministry, so how come these deputies who are MPs of constituencies with poor people there watch the monies disbursed to other beneficiaries instead of fighting for their constituents?

“Are there not poor people in their constituencies? don’t they deserve it too?” the source quizzed.

Apoh’s Defence

Probably not wanting to wash the dirty linen of the ministry in public, Mrs. Apoh-Opoku in a recent interview on Adom FM cleverly defended the ministry.

Insisting the initiative was making giant strides, she said 75,000 households have been covered so far, adding that payment to an additional 25,000 households was yet to commence.

Asked whether her constituency was benefiting from the programme, Mrs. Apoh-Opoku said, “We do not want it to look as though because we are deputy ministers we have taken the LEAP to our constituencies though under the normal circumstance as deputy ministers we must get it.”

No Role

Meanwhile, information further gathered by the paper indicated the two deputy ministers were practically left out in the programme to mark the recently held International Women’s Day celebrations at the Banquet Hall in Accra.

It said the duo were not involved or assigned any responsibility on the programme and that not even the introduction of chairperson or the vote of thanks was given them.

Despite the two being treated as outcasts, it said even the cloth for the celebration was sold to the deputy ministers. with Mrs. Apoh-Opoku receiving hers barely two days to the programme.

When contacted, Mrs. Apoh-Opoku declined comments on the matter.

The Denials

Nana Oye in an interview with DAILY GUIDE said, “As the minister, I don’t have any powers on that. The register for LEAP is even like a voters’ register and periodically we put the list of beneficiaries on. The last time we put beneficiaries on, I was not even at the ministry. In fact, since I came here beneficiaries haven’t been placed on LEAP.”

She continued: “What has happened is that in accordance with our budget allocation and directives from Finance and the three-year strategic plan, we have to add on 50,000 beneficiaries. So (this) was done last year…I haven’t even seen any names, as for the beneficiaries, I don’t even know who they are. I can’t even do that.”

Nana Oye further noted that there is an administrative manual which regulates LEAP, adding that the manual tells how beneficiaries are enrolled and how the monies are disbursed.

According to the Gender, Children and Social Minister, every work that has so far been done was done by the technical team.

“What was done was to identify 31 districts using poverty rates; baseline from the Statistical Service and the NHIS registration…the technocrats did it; that is a role of the technical people. I do not do any selection, it’s a technical thing done by the Statistical Service, Social Welfare” and other institutions.