A question by a journalist to the Minister for Employment and Labour Relations, Ignatius Baffuor Awuah, had him infuriated to the extent of cutting short a media interaction.
The Minister after a Parliamentary Select Committee on Employment, Social Welfare and State Enterprise Seminar on Child Labour where he addressed participants on the existence of child labour in communities and its repercussions on the victims and international trade – particularly cocoa commodity – decided to interact with the media on the sideline but rescinded his decision immediately he was hit with his first question.
Having been handed the opportunity to ask the first question, GhanaWeb’s McAnthony Dagyenga asked the minister whether the challenge persists as a result of a lack of political will.
“Honourable, we are in 2021 and child labour still seems to be a big challenge in Ghana. Is it that the political will to curb this challenge has been low?” Dagyenga questioned the minister.
Unimpressed by the question, a livid Baffuor Awuah refused to continue with the interview except to blast the journalist for what he said was his urge to push the discussion into politics.
“I will not answer this question. If this is how you are starting your interview, I will not answer. Any small opportunity you people get you to want to push somebody into politics. I won’t answer. Have you people been seeing me featuring on your programmes?” he stated before walking away from the interview.
Journalists who were present as the event expressed utmost shock over the minister’s action.
Data from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) indicates that about 21 percent of Ghanaian children between the ages of 5 and 17 are involved in child labour while 14 percent are engaged in hazardous forms of labour. The situation, according to the UNICEF data, is twice as common in rural areas.
The worst forms of child labour experienced in Ghana include the sale of children, child prostitution and trafficking.
With such available data and the level of attention given to fight to protect the welfare of children in the country over the years, the journalists who were present during the Koforidua seminar could not help but feel surprised by the minister’s interpretation of the question.