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Opinions of Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Columnist: Atawura, Philip

Be careful AMA Boss

I should say that though Ghana has not actually faced some torrential rain fall this year, the worst is better than previous years. Most parts of the capital are now freer in movement whenever the rains fall. Gone were the days when my community would get its houses soaked with rain water, but I can now freely walk on the street without minding of any possible floods. All these can be attributed to the good work done by the AMA Boss and his staff. They have helped the Accra metropolis in curbing the long known disasters the city faces.

In all these, something still comes to mind and that is about the kind of work done during the demolition of structures. Though it is right to pull down structures that are in water ways and those that are not in good position considering site plans provided by the surveyors and the lands commission, I pray that partiality within the staff should seize. Recently at Odorkor there was some demolition works done near the Apostolic church. To me, that was a good decision to allow the water to flow into the main drain but something caught my mind during the whole process. A church nearby which was affected by the demolition was totally out of the course. Though the church and other houses were earmarked for the demolition, it was only the “house of God” that was brought down. My point is, when you warn a group to move out of the water ways, you demolish the whole group when such time is due.

There is a road linking the Kwashieman-Odorkor road and the houses that were marked which fortunately find themselves in the middle of the road were left untouched. The tractor left that same day after creating the gutter for the water to pass leaving the now half church in ruins. To me, if it was the gutter that was the target of the demolition team, I would say that bringing down the church was unnecessary since the gutter was created before bringing the church down. I know some other people at other similar demolition sites would have their own grievances. Though I don’t stay close to the said area, as an observer, I felt the church was very unlucky on that occasion.

This also calls to mind about the street hawkers at circle. I always feel bad when I see how our mothers struggle with these AMA task forces before they make something for us to eat at night. It’s very heartbreaking but I also think that if our mothers who still want to be on the streets just in one time obey the law, all these would end. Else, the government must find psychologists to tackle the issue.

Said enough about that, the main topic comes in which I think the Mayor should take into consideration. I use the circle overhead bridge a lot and have on several occasions noticed some form of corruption on the part of some three AMA tax force personnel. Two of them, popularly known as “ayigbe” and “taller” are those I usually meet on my way. One time too, I found this old man in his mid 40s and about 5.2’’ tall also engaging in the act of taking money from some of the street hawkers to allow them to sell on the walkways.

It was shocking to see this act on the part of people who are in the name of law enforcement. If that would be the case, then I think those who are forced to sell in the pedestrians’ mall should move back to the streets. The laws must be obeyed and should bring to justice any group of people who want to tarnish the image of the country. The AMA should also reshuffle the post of its staff to avoid familiarity between the staff and some of the few law breakers. Also, the women who were asked to leave the said Kimbu school park should be asked to move into the market to sell their goods rather than their current position. It is disheartening to know that there are a lot of empty sheds that need to be occupied yet people prefer to sell at some uncomfortable positions.

I think if security is provided and rather punishing the buyer of the street hawker’s goods, it will force the buyer to move into the market the next time. Automatically, if you force the buyer to purchase from the market, the hawker would have no choice than to move into the market. We cannot invest into people for them to throw that investment away just like that. I would say that the AMA boss has really done well in his initiatives but must watch out for recalcitrant’s that are defacing their image. On that note, BEWARE AMA BOSS.

Philip Atawura

Ghana Institute of Journalism