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General News of Saturday, 22 May 2021


Sanitation issues in Accra has been politicized by city authorities - Oko Vanderpuije

Alfred Oko Vanderpuije is a former Mayor of Accra Alfred Oko Vanderpuije is a former Mayor of Accra

Member of Parliament for the Ablekuma South constituency and former mayor of Accra Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, has opined that he blames the recurrent sanitation problem in Accra on the city authorities for politicizing the common problem along parochial partisan lines.

He said this in an interview with Johnnie Hughes on the Community Connect on 3FM, Friday, May 21.

Mr Vanderpuije was speaking on the back of the agenda by the Greater Accra Minister to make the city clean again and whether that is a hoax or reality.

Asked about his experiences about sanitation throughout the years from the 1950s to the 1980s and the current canker of sanitation in Accra, he said “those days, other leaders will lead, the chiefs will lead and we will all ensure that our cities are clean and maintained, you know. I remember one of my uncles in James Town, Uncle Paul will be in all white with his walking stick and who were you to litter around. These elders will make sure our cities are clean, when we go to school, our teachers will talk to us about keeping our environment clean, what we learned in school was associated with the community that we lived in, you understand?

“Today, you know who I blame? Today I blame our city authorities. I blame them because they have politicized everything. Use me as an example, Oko Vanderpuije, who served as the mayor of Accra, what demolishing didn’t Oko Vanderpuije do? Because when I assumed office, the streets had been taken over, the filth was so bad and people were complaining so I said look, let’s keep Accra clean and what did we do? We demolished, cleared the structures in water ways, we cleared the refuse, we made sure the traffic was low, we decongested the city so from Circle to the general post office was only a five minutes drive and you know what, the city authorities who had to sustain it, when the elections are over, the transition period our city authorities go to sleep.

“So by the time one political officer leaves office and by the time a new one was appointed, then we lay down our tools. The work department, the town and country planning and the people who must sit up and make sure that we sustain because this era is about sustainability and so we let go of the responsibility of holding on to the good works the chief executive ensures and then we put a political color around it. That period of the transition, from election time to the time a new chief executive is appointed, it’s somewhere around six/seven months, the least is about five/six months.

“So our city authorities will go to sleep, although all the good work that has been done, they will be waiting for a new chief executive to come. By the time a new chief executive comes, the harm has already been done, people have reconstructed, containers are on the streets and then it is politics. Another political party government has come and they have to start it all again, it is a heavy loss of resources”.