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Domelo vs the A1 ‘Bread Seller’: a different view

Anytime I see street hawkers working very hard to live, I get the feeling that as a nation, we have

done very little to make opportunities available to many people in this country.

I am tempted to believe that it is natural for anyone who sees people hawking on the street for their

daily bread to have an inclination to be sorry for them because even though it is a legal means of

putting food on the table, it is not a decent way to live.

A lot must be done to create opportunities for people who risk their lives on daily basis for peanuts

to earn their bread in a more comfortable way without their lives being on the line on minute basis

We need to use every medium to draw the attention of state actors to look at such people and find a

way to get them off the street and get them better and safer means of livelihood. Our celebrities

should be part of the campaign because they have the voice to make impact. John Domelo being a

Ghanaians has the right to be sorry for this social injustice

The assumption is that hawking on the street or selling in traffic is the preserve of people who didn’t

get the opportunity of formal education or vocational training.

Majority of Ghanaians don’t expect a University Graduate to end up on the street doing a business

that should in all fairness not be a means of livelihood for any human being but for the unequal and

imbalanced society we find ourselves in.

We believe that education is the key to the windows of opportunities that don’t exist in this country

and therefore a massive problem if a degree or diploma holder ends up in the traffic lights.

Anyone who sees a graduate hawking will ask questions, berate the system, curse our leaders and

feel sorry for the graduate wasting on the street though it will equally come with respect for his

display of positive attitude to life in the face of adversity

This is the reality the entire nation has opted not to face because the issue involves a John Domelo

who was caught with state cars he didn’t work for: a John Domelo who made enemies for himself

meddling in politics.

Clearly, the public outrage has been informed by the character of John Domelo instead of the

content of his post. Every honest person after a careful consideration will arrive at the conclusion

that John didn’t do that to shame the guy but to point to a greater picture of graduate

unemployment

He just asked the question we all ask when we see a hawker speaking good English. Unfortunately,

John Domelo is no longer the loving actor who won Ghanaians over but a politician and if this is to

satisfy his critics, a thief.

This is what has informed the public outrage. On a very rare occasion, I sided with the position of the

court of public opinion even wrote an article that I was about publishing until I decided to

imaginarily put myself in his shoes, sit in his car, drive through the traffic where he saw the young

man and asked myself: how’d I have reacted to seeing a KNUST Graduate selling bread in the traffic?

The answer was exactly what I said when I met a Legon Graduate serving at Las Pamas Chop Bar:

what is wrong with this country?

This is all that John Domelo said: what went wrong? Maybe, he should have expanded the post to

equally praise the guy for defying the odds. The question though was very legitimate

One of the major defences of the critics of Domelo is that the guy is the CEO of the company that

bakes the bread. Are they not indirectly admitting that if he was a mere hawker then something

might have gone wrong? John didn’t have the benefit of hindsight.

The problem with this country is exactly how my mentor Kwame Sefa Kayi puts it: hypocrisy and

dishonesty.

Where I fault John Domelo was the fact that he took the guy’s picture, shared with his millions of

followers on social media without taking into consideration the privacy of the guy, the odds he

defied to make a living on the street as a Graduate and how the exposure could discourage him and

others.

At a time when we are advocating for responsible use of social media, secretly taking the picture of

another person, sharing for the whole to see without his consent even with the best intentions is

unethical and the people I expect to lead the campaign should be celebrities because they are the

biggest victims of this 21 st century stupidity

We find ourselves at a stage where sleeping in a car and opening your mouth like most humans do

can subject you to nationwide ridicule because there are people whose first reaction to anything

they deem funny, dramatic or even life threatening is to take their phones, take picture and videos

and share.

When people are fighting, instead of a reasonable human to separate them, the 21 st century man

takes his phone, film it and upload them for all to see. People have died as a result because instead

of saving people in distress, we deem it more expedient to film it. This is why I was angry at John

Domelo

I however have no doubt whatsoever that it wasn’t done to embarrass the young man or attack the

current government because no reasonable human will blame the current government for graduate

unemployment just five months in office.

Clearly, all is not well with our system. Graduate unemployment is a dangerous security threat

stirring us in the face and we must all add our voices.

Maybe John’s post should been given a more nationalistic view than through the narrow scope of

politics

If he wasn’t the John who was allegedly caught spraying state cars to make it his, if he wasn’t the

John Domelo who stopped acting to campaign for one political party, this post would have received

at worse a mixed reaction and not the nationwide condemnation it clearly doesn’t deserve.

If you have never asked what went wrong with regards to graduate unemployment, if you have

never felt sorry for street hawkers, you definitely are one of what is wrong with Ghana

Admittedly, it is better to hawk for a living than to join Unemployed Graduate Association and sit at

home in wait for the dream job. Graduate who defy the odds to make a living legally should be

celebrated as national heroes and be used as example for others.

It is however the result of a failed system that will make a University Graduate end-up hawking in

the traffic.

It is one thing if a University Graduate decide not join the queue of job seekers and start a business.

It is one thing when a university graduate sells in the traffic. How many people have made decent

leaving selling in traffic.

In am able to say this because there are over 100 street hawkers squatting in my area. The few who

can manage the wooded structured accommodation that can best be described as a brothel some of

them have to do all sort of things in addition to hawking.

I see their pain and their struggles.

Selling in the traffic is something successive governments have tried and failed to eradicate because

it is not the best way to put food on the table

You wouldn’t want a brother to do it so why do we fault someone for throwing light on it even if in

the wrong way and he the ‘wrong person.

I am 100% certain that if the issue was raised by a different person who is less controversial, it would

have been treated differently.’

This is how we deal with issues that should be of national interest in this country. We play the

political card, focus on where the apostle got it wrong and miss out on the issue proper. So far, no

one has talked about the issue of graduate unemployment: everyone is busy condemning John

Domelo.

What went wrong?

Isaac Kyei Andoh

isaackyeiandoh@yahoo.com

About Efo Korsi Senyo

Efo Korsi Senyo has over 4 years experience working as investigative journalist with Awake Africa. He is the Head of Awake Investigates. Connect with him via senyo@awakeafrica.com or WhatsApp: +233249155003

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