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Opinions of Friday, 5 June 2015

Columnist: Asamoah-Siaw, Kofi

Accra floods: government's statement is bogus

Following the Accra floods yesterday that destroyed properties and disrupted normal life in the city, the Minister of Communications issued a statement purported to advise city dwellers on some safety measures and announced ad hoc emergency phone numbers. The government's statement also sought to explain why there was widespread blackout in major parts of the city.

The PPP wishes to put on record that the hurriedly issued press statement by government was a face saving exercise to pretend to care about the situation and blame anything but themselves for the chaos in the city last night. We would not be surprised this morning to see other senior government officials, if not the president, going round the city attempting to commiserate with victims of the floods. They will do this shamelessly as if it is a necessary annual ritual.

The people of Ghana are tired of commiserations in the aftermaths of floods and the pretenses of government in resolving these floods in the city once and for all. Yesterday, some emergency numbers were announced and the police, fire service, NADMO and the military were deployed to offer assistance to flood victims and commuters.

We wish to point out that these actions from government and the state institutions were activated after the rains. The question we pose is what did we do before the rains?

We have lived with this disaster for almost our entire life and leadership has not been able to fix this problem. There are many who would argue that some of the causes of the floods have got to do with irresponsible behaviors on the part of some citizens who throw garbage into the drains. Whilst we admit these things go on, we wish to put the blame squarely at the doorstep of government.

In fact government is responsible for the poor planning of the city, less drainage capacity, congestion in our markets, inability to collect and dispose garbage effectively, congested roads, wastage of our city funds for bill boards, poor supply of utility and poor housing. If government is not responsible for these then who is? We dare say that it is even the responsibility of all governments to instill discipline in the citizenry and ensure an orderly society.

We wish to advise government to wake up to its responsibilities and fix this old age disaster before it becomes unbearable in the near future. This is one of many reasons why governments are elected.

Kofi Asamoah-Siaw
National Secretary