Lepers Go Wild...

There was drama at the Volta Regional Coordinating Council (VRCC) yesterday, when cured lepers staged a demonstration in demand for a 33-seater bus donated to them by the Local Government Ministry, which was later taken away by the management of the Ho Polyclinic. The cured lepers, who were singing and dancing in front of the VRCC, attracted the attention of the staff, especially as they simultaneously shouted, “We need our bus” and defied a heavy rain fall while waiting for the Volta Regional Minister to address them. The demonstration was necessitated by the fact that the cured lepers had to attend the funeral and burial of a colleague, but because their bus had been hijacked by the authorities of the Polyclinic, their leaders had to hire a bus from the Ho lorry station, which they were refused upon learning that they were cured lepers, as the driver declined to convey them to the funeral. This scenario compelled them to immediately demand the return of their bus, and refused to eat and accept their usual medical checks on Thursday, 11 July, until the bus is returned to them, and referred to the development as inhuman and cruel. They carried placards some of which read: “President John Mahama, we want our bus back” and “Give what belong to Caesar to Caesar”. The action of the cured lepers almost brought activities at the VRCC to a halt for almost one hour, while the workers looked on and sympathised with them. Moved by the plight of the cured lepers, the Volta Regional Minister and his Deputy, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo and Mr. Francis Ganyaglo respectively, had to leave their offices and walk in the rain to plead with the cured lepers to get on board the bus they were demanding for, which was being kept on the premises of the VRCC. Nii Affotey Agbo, for the first time, demonstrated his leadership qualities, as he personally drove the cured lepers to their village and handed the keys of the bus back to them, assuring them that the NDC government should be seen as a listening one, and was prepared to listen to people like them that it served. Nii Afotey Agbo’s action brought back smiles on the faces of the cured lepers, as they clapped their hands, describing the Minister as a good father, but the Minister surprised them the more when he donated 10 bags of rice and also paid their outstanding electricity bill of GH¢70. The leader of the Cured Lepers, Mr. Jacob Ezor, thanked the Minister for the gesture, and promised to make good use of the bus and the food items, saying that the absence of the bus had made their movements very difficult over the past months.