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Opinions of Monday, 13 July 2015

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

Has Mayor Vanderpuije A Conscience?

By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.
Garden City, New York

I have staunchly and, I hope, objectively defended him against those who would have him resign his job or be fired by President John Dramani Mahama. Personally, I don't think that Mayor Alfred Oko Vanderpuije ought to be held personally responsible for the June 3-4 fiery flash-flood that cost some 200 lives and damage to property worth hundreds of thousands of cedis. I haven't found the former American public school principal personally responsible, because any studious observers of Ghanaian politics know that the problem of seasonal flooding of the Accra metropolis far precede even the birth of Mr. Vanderpuije.

Having observed the foregoing, still what I find to be utterly offensive about his recent pronouncement that while he strongly feels the need to offer the victims of the fiery flash-flood his sympathy and support, nevertheless, he does not feel that he owes either the dead or the injured and their relatives any apology, is the great insensitivity that such a view represents (See "I Owe Flood Victims Support, Not Apology - Vanderpuije" / 7/7/15). I also find such view and mindset deeply offensive because Mayor Vanderpuije does not seem to appreciate the fact that when he decided to accept his fat-salaried job, and the perks that came with the same, it was with the unreserved understanding that he would bear full responsibility for whatever the job entailed.

Now, what Mayor Vanderpuije is telling Ghanaians is that since it was a woeful lack of adequate logistical supplies that caused his inability to bring the perennial flooding of our nation's capital under control, it is the President of Ghana, or the man who hired him, who ought to bear full respnsibility for the Accra mayor's shortcomings. Well, if he had a conscience and was not in just for the fat check and the perks accompanying the post of being the chief administrator of our nation's most significant city, Mr.Vanderpuije would since long have honorably resigned his job and either accepted a more professionally satisfying job elsewhere, or simply quit and let somebody better qualified and more competent take over from him.

What he is actually implying without necessarily putting the same in loud and clear words, is that the man who appointed him to his job is grossly incompetent to such a criminally capital extent that he clearly does not care whether Mayor Vanderpuije performs up to par or not. Indeed, in seeking to parry off any criticism against his palpably lackluster performace on the job, Mr. Vanderpije also exonerates the Accra Metropolitan Assembly from any blame. Well, that leaves the Greater-Accra Regional Minister and Mr. Mahama. The mayor, as we all know, has already faulted Minister of Finance Seth Terkper for having immensely contributed to the inability of the AMA to see to the timely construction of storm drains. He has, however, not informed the Ghanaian public just whose fault it is that the demolition of housing structures illegally erected in the city's waterways took so long to execute.

Personally, I think the jig is up. I think it is about time Mayor Vanderpuije tendered his resignation to President Mahama, a man for whom he clearly seems to have little respect, and for whom he definitely has absolutely no affection.