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 availabl
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.
[ads1]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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
What went wrong?
Isaac Kyei Andoh