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Politics of Monday, 24 August 2020


Akufo-Addo & Bawumia disagree on Cape Coast airport

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Ghanaians, have been left stunned over how President Akufo-Addo and his vice, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, could reject and accept the request to build an airport in the Central Region within a spate of 24 hours.

Last Friday, many woke up to news of the President, rejecting suggestion from people in the Central Region that government looks at constructing an airport in Cape Coast after Kumasi, Tamale, Takoradi, Ho, Sunyani, all attracted a befitting regional airports after Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.

While responding to the call in Cape Coast, President Akufo-Addo, indicated that the need for such an edifice was yet to be established owing to the two existing airports in Accra and Takoradi.

But on Saturday, less 24 hours later and what appears to be the quickest u-turn made in recent past, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia promised, if the New Patriotic Party (NPP) wins the 2020 general elections, residents of Cape Coast, can be assured of having their own airport and harbor, sparking questions as to what had changed after President Akufo-Addo's position.

The clear contradiction, has also led to people concluding that the decision was either a knee jerk one or not well thought through.

Again, questions are being asked whether or not, there had been need analysis or commercial viability for such projects considering the region's proximity to Accra and Takoradi, two of the country's busy cities.

But giving highlights of the NPP 2020 manifesto on Saturday at Cape Coast, the Vice President, explained that the Central regional capital, deserves an airport as a tourist destination centre, aside Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

"For the people of Cape Coast, we have good news for you, we are building a new harbour in Cape Coast and a new airport in Cape Coast," he announced, adding "We are going to build a new harbor and a new airport in Cape Coast. It is very critical…that the Central Region gets its own airport."

Interestingly, the tourist destinations in the Central region, including Forts, Cape Coast Castle, the Elimina Castle, Kakum National Park among others, have not seen any facelift.

Indeed, the roads to Kakum National Park, have been very deplorable for years now with visitors to the park, as well as residents of adjourning towns and villages, lamenting badly.

There are also speculations that the NPP chose to launch it manifesto titled "Leadership of Service" in the region, basically because of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer John Mahama's decision to pick his running mate in the person of former Cape Coast University Vice Chancellor, Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang to scuttle the chances of the opposition party.

Some also see the attempt to at all cost please the people of Central Region, with one of the largest number of voting population, as a political expediency or simply a mind game being played on the people.

Dr. Bawumia, described the need for government to construct an airport there as "very critical" adding, "an airport make a lot of sense in Cape Coast, it is a real tourist hub".

He observed that it is a "major growth pole to put an airport" in Cape Coast to link other economic cities like Accra and Kumasi, in addition to having a railway connecting Cape Coast to these two big cities as they form a "triangle".

The Vice President, also mentioned that Ghana would witness infrastructure growth, if the NPP government is given another four-year term to govern the country.

In March this year, some residents of Cape Coast hit the streets with a "No Airport No Vote" protest pushing for the construction of an international airport which they believe would create more job opportunities for the youth and reduce unemployment in the metropolis and the region at large.

Reacting to this demand in an interview on ATLFM last Friday, President Akufo-Addo, explained the need for such a facility must be established.

"This is a place which is one and a half hours from the capital which has a major international airport and there is also an airport in Takoradi.

The response of the government should come after the matter has been thoroughly examined and the need has been established and the ministry of Aviation has begun the process to be able to decide whether the need for the airport can be justified" he said.

Implying that in his view, the Central Region they did not need an airport, as at the time he was granting the interview.

President Akufo-Addo, also hinted that a similar process has begun in the Eastern Region, where he hails from to also ascertain whether an airport will be needed in that region.

"The Ministry of Aviation is doing the same with Koforidua in the region from which I come which is also another regional location very near to Accra to ascertain whether there is the need for an additional airport after those in Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, and Takoradi".