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Politics of Friday, 22 May 2015

Source: Al-hajj

Suhum Road To Determine JM's Fate

...In 2016, among others

Though the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress government has chalked many feats in areas such as provision of water, access to health care, road infrastructure and the expected permanent solution to the agonizing power rationing, the non completion of the Teacher-Mante-Suhum-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi Highway could cost the administration the 2016 elections.

The terrible shape of that stretch of road, daily used by thousands of Ghanaians and non Ghanaians alike, is causing needless delay and discomfort to passengers and drivers and, as The aL-hAJJ’s findings have revealed, is likely to overshadow all the otherwise impressive achievements by government.

The completion of the Teacher-Mante-Suhum-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi highway, which was dear to the heart of the late president, John Mills, seems to have come to a halt immediately after his unfortunate and untimely demise.

Perhaps, the late President Mills attached so much importance to the completion of the road because it is the main link between the south and the northern part of Ghana and even the country's Sahelian neighbors of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.

Whereas President John Dramani Mahama has on several occasions assured Ghanaians that funds have been released to the contractors to resume work on the road, The aL-hAJJ’s visit to the site revealed little is being done; much to the anger of passengers, particularly the thousands who commute daily from Kumasi and other parts of Northern Ghana to transact business in Accra.

In his last address to parliament, President Mahama, who is immediate past Chairman of ECOWAS, assured that the contractors working on the road have been directed to concentrate and complete one lane of the dual carriageway to allow motorists have a smooth ride, but this seems not to be the case when this paper visited the site last week.

Due to the poor nature of the road, drivers and passengers spent long hours at Apedwa junction through to the Suhum interchange area to Teacher Mante.

The 31.7 kilometer road is the last of the 252-kilometre Accra-Kumasi Highway, which was started by John Agyekum Kufuor government and was expected to be completed by the late John Mills administration in 2012. Only last year, it took no less a person than the Ashanti King, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to express extreme unhappiness at the deplorable nature of the road and challenges it pose to social and economic development, particularly to communities in the area, and the inconvenience it is causing to passengers leading to many drivers resorting to diverting their routes. Commuters on the Suhum-Nsawam road have had cause to complain about its terrible condition with commercial drivers who ply that route bearing the most brunt as their vehicle parts get damaged frequently and also severely affecting economic activities.

The Eastern Regional House of Chiefs led by the Okyehene, Osagyefo Amoatia Oforipanin and his sub-chiefs also recently expressed misgivings over the bad nature of roads in the area, when they went on an inspection tour of deplorable roads in the region.

Although President Mahama’s second term bid is being threatened by the frustrating power outages, shocks in the economy leading to fast depreciation of the cedi and the reported impending rebellion within the NDC, political observers say, failure to complete that stretch of Suhum road could also affect the President’s second term bid.

Since taking over from his mentor and boss, the late President Mills, President Mahama’s government has embarked on numerous and ambitious infrastructural projects across the country

Notable among them include, the world standard interchanges at Circle, Kumasi and Kasoa, the completion of the Atuabo Gas Processing Plant, the upgrading of the Tamale Airport to international standard, the revival of the Komenda Sugar Factory, construction of 200 community day Senior High School among others. However, observers say until the President takes immediate steps to cure some of the major ills of the country, such as the completion of the Teacher-Mante-Suhum-Apedwa stretch of the Accra-Kumasi highway, his dream of retaining power could be a mirage.