Coronavirus: We can’t survive lockdown – Dagomba line ‘kayayes’

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Leaders of the Kayaye fraternity in the Dagomba line area say their people might barely survive a week of lockdown without any help from the state.

The head porters numbering over a thousand with some 700 children live in heavily overcrowded wooden shacks clustered along the decommissioned rails of the Asokore Mampong Municipality.

Their mainstay of carrying loads for a fee in the markets and the commercial business centers of Kumasi has been cut short by government’s partial lockdown of the Greater Kumasi Area.

The directive which is to control the further spread of the COVID 19 Coronavirus has effectively barred this vulnerable bracket of persons from moving out to render services.

Speaking to Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador, an opinion leader who is central to the wellbeing of the Kayayes Ibrahim Abdul Wahab pointed to clear hardships that his people have begun experiencing with just two days of the lockdown.

Abdul Wahab who spoke in Twi, recounted how the women who could not get a vehicle to their hometowns in northern Ghana for safety, lamented as they poured back from their transport stations holding their luggage.

He explained that most of the Kayayes migrated from their villages with the aim of working to purchase personal effects and thus didn’t really have savings in cash except for the things they had bought in anticipation of their return.

He painted a rather worrisome picture about how the women have now resorted to grouping in numbers to feed on communally cooked food usually either provided by their own or the benevolence of others.

Beyond Dagomba Line, however, there are other clusters in Sewaba, Adukrom Nima and Aboabo in the Asokore Mampong Municipality where the municipal assembly puts the figures of the mothers alone at some four thousand (4000) head porters.

Until the lockdown, it was a regular sight to see the head porters swarm in large groups with their head pans from the municipality towards the Suame, Bantama, central, kejetia and Race Course Markets every morning with the same spectacle repeating itself at sundown.

A cursory observation of the setting of these head porters makes of no effect any call for social distancing, pegging this group among one of the flashpoints for rapid spread of any viral or bacterial infection.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection says it has budgeted to send food and other relief items for some fifteen thousand Kayayes in the Greater Accra, Team and Greater Kumasi where the lockdown is in force.

To Ibrahim Abdul Wahab and his team of Kayayes, they would only hope that such help comes in urgently before matters get dire and probably out of hand.

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