The Minister of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Dr. Mustapha Hamid, has disclosed his decision to enter politics was motivated by a strong desire of reuniting with his father who had gone into exile under the regime of former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings in the 1980s.
He explained that the only way his father, who was an ex-service man and had not been seen by his family for 18 years, could return to the country was through a change of the Rawlings government.
“My father was accused of trying to overthrow the military government so he had to flee the country. So in 1991 when the ban on multiparty politics was lifted, I decided to join politics in order to specifically campaign against the authoritarian NDC government so my father could return home,” he revealed.
The minister made the revelation when he interacted with girls from some basic schools in Accra on Thursday.
The girls were beneficiaries of a mentorship programme dubbed: “Zongo Girls Arise Project” held under the theme: “Self Discovery”.
Dr Hamid urged the girls to nurture bigger aspirations in life irrespective of their social or educational backgrounds, as attaining greater heights in life was more dependent on dedication, discipline and hard work.
The Board Chairman of the National Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Sammi Awuku, for his part, disclosed that he developed interest in politics at a tender age. He would buy newspapers while in primary school and would never miss a chance to see former President Rawlings whenever he visited Koforidua.
“Even though I was born into an opposition family at that time and my grandparents did not want to hear anything about Mr. Rawlings, I had a personal liking for him,” he said.
In spite of studying Agric Science at the senior high school level, Mr. Awuku said that he continued to draw inspiration from political activists like Martin Luther King, among others.
He said the inspirations led him to transition from campaigner to a spokesperson, then to an aspiring Student Representative Council (SRC) president as a tertiary student who would later in life become a National Organiser of the New Patriotic Party.
The Project Coordinator, Humu Gaage, encouraged the girls to be bold enough to face socio-cultural obstacles that may hinder their career aspirations.
She mentioned some of the obstacles as pressure from relatives to pursue certain courses, enticement into early marriage and teenage pregnancy.
“Don’t let anybody force you into doing something you know you cannot do. If you are good at sewing take it seriously,” she said.
Some schools that participated in the programme were Al Waleed Basic School, Al Hijra School, Bethany Preparatory School, among others.