CSOs, media must champion fight against inequality — Prof. Karikari

BY: Kofi Atsivor
Prof. Karikari
Prof. Karikari

The Board Chairman of the Graphic Communications Group Limited, Professor Kwame Karikari, has called for a closer collaboration between civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media in the fight against inequality and social injustice in the country.

He said the two key stakeholders had a crucial role to play in closing the widening socio-economic gap between the 'haves and the have nots', which was as a result of unfair distribution the nation's resources.

Prof. Karikari made the call at a two-day capacity-building workshop for CSOs and the media on the fight against inequality in Ghana, in Ho in the Volta Region at the weekend.

It was under the auspices of the Coalition Against Inequality, comprising Oxfam, SEND-Ghana and the Ghana Anti Corruption Coalition (GACC), with funding from the United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF).

According to the former Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), it was unfair for only few people to control a chunk of the resources in the country while the masses wallowed in abject poverty, in spite of the growth in the country's economy over the years.

He, therefore, tasked the CSOs and media to lead a strong advocacy to get policy makers to take remedial action against the situation.

Prof. Karikari also charged the citizenry to hold duty bearers to task and not just elect them into office with the hope that they would serve the public interest.
'The duty bearers who have the mandate to cause social change are only interested in winning political power,' he stated and cautioned Ghanaians not to allow themselves to be taken for granted by such leaders.

The Programmes Manager in charge of Inequality at Oxfam Ghana, Mr Suleman Zakaria, noted that though the world and Ghana in particular had experienced economic booms  over the period, its gains had not been equally distributed across the board for the benefit of the populace.

He cited the lifting of  2.5 million people out of poverty in Southern Ghana two years to the end of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), as against a million more who had fallen into the poverty bracket in northern Ghana.

He, thus, called for deliberate policy interventions by policy makers to address the situation, which he feared could  worsen due to dwindling donor supports.

Social disintegration
A Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF, Mr Charles Dzradosi, said the level of inequality across various sectors had risen to alarming heights, which if not properly tackled could result in social disintegration and conflict.

He lamented the situation where only few of the nation's medical doctors could be found in the rural communities while the larger numbers were stationed in the national and regional capitals.

'No one must be disadvantaged in having access to social services because of which part of the country the person lives,' Mr Dzradosi stated.

He also expressed the fear that Ghana could miss out on the attainment of some of the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs) should inequality persist.