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General News of Friday, 5 June 2020


Don’t steal Mahama's Tema Motorway Interchange glory at inauguration - NDC warns Akufo-Addo

A model of the Tema Motorway Interchange A model of the Tema Motorway Interchange

The Greater Accra arm of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has warned President Nana Akufo-Addo against taking credit for the Tema Motorway Interchange as, according to the biggest opposition party, the government plans inaugurating the project on Friday, 5 June 2020.

In a statement read on behalf of the Greater Accra Regional Communication Officer, Jerry Johnson by Deputy Regional Youth Organiser Amos Blessing Amorse at a press conference on Thursday, 4 June 2020, the party said: “We are reliably informed that President Akufo Addo will commission the Tema Motorway Expansion Project tomorrow, June 5”, noting: “This event counts in the series of projects among many other projects initiated by President John Mahama before the December 7, 2016 elections. The project is, thus, one of President John Mahama's popular legacies before leaving office in January 2017”.

“To be exact, this project is amongst the four major interchanges constructed by H.E. John Dramani Mahama before exiting power in January 2017”, the party said.

“To corroborate this claim, it is imperative to explore some historical facts to expose attempts by President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government to take credit for the project, which genesis they knew nothing about, save the briefing they got during the transitional process and the sod-cutting they did for its commencement”, the party said.

Read the rest of the statement below:

Following on the trajectory of events that established the three Interchange projects, i.e. the Pokuase Interchange, the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange and the Tema Motorway Interchanges, there is obviously no gainsaying that these are part of the many lasting legacies of President Mahama. Needless to say, no amount of facts twisting and fruitless obliterating of the legacies of President John Mahama can install President Akufo-Addo and his government as initiators of these projects.

For the records, Ladies and gentlemen, President John Mahama in his last State of the Nation Address to end the sixth Parliament of the fourth Republic on January 5, 2017, highlighted a number of major road projects his government had secured funding for ahead of existing office in January 2017. His Excellency John Mahama said: “...Many other projects are ongoing such as the Tema motorway roundabout decongestion project and a new bridge from flowerpot roundabout on the Spintex Road over the Accra- Tema motorway into East Legon.

There are others ready to commence with financing arranged such as the Obetsebi-Lamptey interchange, the Pokuase interchange, and Motorway expansion project among others.”

For ease of reference, this statement can also be found in the January 5, 2017 Hansard of Parliament. On the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange, suffice to state without any fear of contradiction that, Musah Yahaya Jafaru reported in the August 5, 2016 edition of the Daily Graphic, that the Parliament of Ghana had approved a buyer credit facility and a commercial credit facility agreement totalling $39.2 million for the implementation of the Obetsebi-Lamptey Interchange project and related works. The agreements, the report noted, was between the Mahama government and the HSBC Bank Plc of the United Kingdom (UK).

In the face of these apparent facts, however, President Akufo-Addo, at a short ceremony on Monday, October 22, 2019, to cut sod for the construction of the aforementioned project failed to acknowledge his predecessor, John Mahama for initiating the project and securing funding for it before exiting office. At the ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said, the construction of the interchange was part of a number of actions being undertaken by his government to improve urban mobility within the western parts of Accra. This seeming lack of due acknowledgement of President Mahama was well thought through and an elaborate agenda by President Akufo-Addo not only to deceive Ghanaians but also deny them knowledge of the rightful brain behind the ongoing construction of the Obetsebi-Lamptey interchange.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is also important to mention that the ongoing Pokuase interchange is also an enviable legacy of the visionary President, H.E. John Dramani Mahama. For the records, Mabel Aku Banesseh reported in the November 1, 2016 edition of the Daily Graphic that Parliament approved a $83.6-million loan for the expansion of the Pokuase-ACP Junction road in Accra to ease traffic congestion on that stretch.

The facility was provided by the African Development Bank (AfDB), while the Government of Ghana (GoG) offered a counterpart funding of $11.1 million. Again, in the face of this glaring evidence indicating that President Akufo-Addo inherited the project after funding had been concluded by his predecessor, attempts are being inexorable made to package the ongoing construction of the Pokuase interchange as an achievement of the failed NPP government.

To provide further proof that President Mahama secured funding for these projects before leaving office, the NPP's Daily Guide, owned by its National Chairman, Freddy Blay, in its November 2, 2016 edition reported under the banner headline "Mad Rush for Loans at Parliament", how NPP MPs were against approval of Loans for the construction of the Pokuase Interchange. The story reads in parts "Parliament principally approved a number of loans put before it by the government yesterday, with the minority raising alarm about the numerous loans in the ‘last days’ of the government.

The approved loans were a $112 million loan facility for the construction of a new bridge over the Volta River in the lower basin of the Volta at Volivo in the Shai-Osudoku District of the Greater Accra region; a $83.4 million facility for the construction of a 3-tier signalised interchange at Pokuase Junction on the Ofankor-Nsawam highway as part of the Accra Urban Transport Project"

The latest of the many infrastructural projects of the Mahama government that President Akufo-Addo is fighting tooth and nail to lay claims to is the Tema Motorway interchange.

Unfortunately for President Akufo-Addo, existing documents and facts on the project do not support his devious plot. As far back as 2013, President John Evans Atta Mills/John Dramani Mahama/Amissah Arthur-led National Democratic Congress Governments thought of expanding the motorway to ease traffic. As a result of traffic congestions coupled with the need for the country to expand its frontiers in terms of trans-border trade, there was the need to improve access routes to the Tema Ports. On Monday, October 28, 2013, President John Mahama announced at a sod-cutting ceremony for the construction of the Nkrumah Circle Interchange, that his government would expand the Accra Tema motorway into six lanes with an Interchange at the Tema roundabout to ease traffic.

Flowing from this, in 2014, the NDC government, through the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority, signed an agreement with Meridian Ports Services Limited for the expansion of the Tema Pors at a cost of $1.5 billion dollars, and on November 11, 2016, President John Mahama cut sod for the expansion work to start. As part of this project, the Mahama government negotiated with MPS to as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility, expand the Tema motorway at a cost of approximately $7 million dollars. This formed the first phase of the project which included the extension of 2.1km three-lane dual carriage with 730m underpass on the national route-N1 beginning from the tollbooth on the Accra Motorway and ending around the Allied Filling Station on the Aflao road, improvement of approximately 1.9km two-lane dual carriage on the national route-N2 from Ashaiman roundabout onto the Harbour road, a pedestrian bridge among others.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is important to note that the motorway expansion project was also planned to have a flyover. This constituted phase two of the project at a cost of approximately $60 million funded by the Japanese government through Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). This facility was also negotiated by the Mahama government. Before construction works on the first phase of the project could start, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama and the National Democratic Congress lost the 2016 election. The project was thus, bequeathed to His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo's government.

The Akufo-Addo government, having been briefed on the importance of the project and all the financial arrangements, cut sod for construction works to start. These processes gave birth to the motorway flyover that the Akufo-Addo government intends commissioning. Even at the sod-cutting ceremony, there was no mention of President John Mahama as the brain behind the project. We, in the NDC, are not unaware of schemes to credit the Akufo-Addo government as the initiator of the project. But as has been stated, facts are sacred and no amount of facts twisting can change it.

It would be recalled that when late Prof John Evans Atta Mills inherited the George Walker Bush highway from former President John Agyekum Kufuor, he credited his predecessor for initiating the project and also showed statesmanship by inviting him to its commissioning. The NDC, and, indeed, Ghanaians, expect nothing short of this from President Akufo-Addo if he really believes honesty is a virtue of a public officer. To be exact, we expect President Akufo Addo to invite President John Dramani Mahama not only to the commissioning of the Motorway interchange but any other commissioning of projects he inherited from President John Mahama.

For the avoidance of doubt and for purposes of emphasis, the number of Interchanges constructed in Accra and its adjoining areas stand at 7 under the NDC government with John Mahama administration alone taking credit for 4 Interchanges out of the number namely, Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, Obetsebi Lamptey Circle Interchange, Pokuase Interchange and the Kasoa Interchange.

Again, it is on record, as reported by myjoyonline news portal that President John Mahama negotiated and secured the grant from the Japanese Government for the construction of the Interchange way back in June 2016. It is also a fact that President John Mahama, on the 2nd of November, 2016 cut sod for the start of the project as reported by Ghanaweb on 3rd November 2016.

In view of these facts, it is evidently clear that the said project was an initiative of President John Mahama at a time Akufo-Addo and his NPP members were questioning the relevance of such a project to the people of Ghana.

With the foregoing evidence establishing a clear inheritance of such a project from a visionary leader, John Mahama, we expect Akufo-Addo to espouse these virtues in these last days of his presidency as he prepares to commission the facility.

As expressed in Article 35(7) of the 1992 Constitution, President Akufo-Addo must take steps to continue all projects started by John Mahama and publicly acknowledge his predecessor who birthed the idea and placed priority on the project motivated by its economic and social benefits to the society.

Unlike the previous disposition where the University of Ghana Medical Centre and other projects were commissioned by Akufo Addo with trepidation, it is relatively laudable this time to accept to commission a project initiated by John Mahama in the case of the Tema Motorway Interchange. However, in the further interest of image restoration, the nation expects an honest presentation which must consist of an acknowledgement of the visionary leader, John Dramani Mahama.

Thank you.

(c) Greater Accra Communications Bureau

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