Regional News of Monday, 25 August 2014
Assembly members of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) have noted with grave concern the outburst by a Leadership consultant, Rt. Rev. Samuel N. Mensah, over the outbreak of cholera in the metropolis.
Rt. Rev. Mensah, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic, called for the dismissal of the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, on the basis of incompetence.
He also said the AMA Chief Executive was to be blamed for the deaths that had occurred in the past weeks as a result of the cholera outbreak.
But at a press conference in Accra last Thursday, the assembly said it was unfair for Rt. Rev. Mensah to wholly blame the AMA Chief Executive for the current sanitation crisis the country was facing.
“The issue of sanitation as he rightly said in paragraph 7 of the Daily Graphic’s publication of 19th August, 2014 on page 26 is truly ‘a shared responsibility’. So we are wondering why he chose to put the blame wholly on the doorstep of the Metro Chief Executive,” they said.
Rt. Rev. Mensah, who is also the President of the Full Gospel Church International (FGCI), was reported to have said that it was unacceptable for the MCE, whose duty it is to ensure that citizens comply with sanitation laws, to have looked on as the situation got out of hand.
“It is unacceptable that in this day and age, cholera should plague the nation and have people die from it,” he said.
However, the spokesperson for the assembly members, Mr Isaac Bright Ansah, said for some time now, the assembly and its sub-metros had constantly and consistently battled with the issue of uncollected refuse at various points in the city due to the lack of dumping sites.
“Yes, for over a year now, a final disposal site for refuse from the metropolis had become a challenge and the assembly had been exploring all avenues for one but to no avail,” he said.
He said subsequently whenever a piece of land was identified to be used for a landfill site, individuals and sometimes groups of people incited nearby residents against the idea and disrupted efforts of the assembly at resolving the sanitation problems.
“It is only just recently that the chiefs and elders of a community (name withheld) in the Ga South Municipality did agree to cede a portion of their lands for the purpose of a landfill site, and even that did not come easily,” he said.
On the issue of waste management, Mr Ansah challenged Rt Rev Mensah to boldly and truthfully come out and state when he had used his pulpit to preach to his congregation about the need for them to keep their environment clean and to properly manage and dispose of the refuse they generate.
He further challenged him to show how his congregants managed the refuse generated on the church premises whenever they attended church for worship and other programmes and where the rubbish generated was finally disposed of.
He said when Rt Rev Mensah was able to answer the questions raised, that would give him the moral right to brand another person as incompetent.
Mr Ansah suggested to Rev. Mensah to consider critically the biblical admonition in Matthew 7:5 in which the Lord Jesus is reported to have said, “you hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eyes”.
Mr Ansah said the ‘incompetent leader’ as claimed by Rt Rev. Mensah had over the years, and in an effort to curb the poor sanitation situation in Accra, collaborated with Zoomlion Ghana Limited to place over 200 waste bins at vantage points.
He said, unfortunately, the litter bins had been stolen. Meanwhile, he said, over 3,000 property owners had been prosecuted for flouting the directive by the assembly asking landlords to put up toilet facilities in their homes.
In addition, many drains had also been constructed so that flooding in some communities would become a thing of the past.
According to him, through effective mobilisation, the assembly’s revenue situation has improved leading to its current ability to provide amenities for the city.
He said under the Accra Sewerage Sanitation and Storm Water Drainage Alleviation Project, to be undertaken by the Conti Group, a construction firm from the USA, a scientifically engineered landfill site would be constructed.
He said a total of thirty 18- wheel trucks would also be procured to lift refuse from transfer stations to the final disposal site, all in the business of making Accra a clean city.