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Opinions of Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Columnist: Akuley, Anane Ebenezer

Ghana, A Country Living In Dirt

Ghana has become perpetually a country living in dirt. There seems to be no solution to the problem and we are looking on helpless. However, I want to ask if we have taken the trouble to search for the causes of this menace and prescribe antidote to it? No, but surprisingly, we all know the causes, but, we are playing the ostrich.

When U.S Prez. Obama came to Ghana, he proffered solutions to most of our problems, but we ignored him. He told us that Ghana does not need strong men but strong institutions. How seriously have we taken that golden advice? No, we did not bothered.

The fact remains that the causes of this problem are (1) Lack of strong institutions to deal with the menace, (2) over politicization of national issues, and (3) bribery and corruption.

To start with, gone were the days when we have the sanitary inspectors backed by laws who checked seriously on environmental cleanliness. They were legally backed by the necessary laws and were empowered to deliver on their mandate, We all do not know what have happened when this vital state institution necessary for our course was killed and buried.I think it was for a purpose that the Accra, Ho and Tamale schools of Hygiene were set up. What has happened to these schools? They are pale shadow of their past. Even students who attend these schools do not get posted early. At times they stay in the house for more than two years before they are posted. The Ho school of Hygiene is an apology of itself. It lacks everything necessary to make it function and deliver on its core mandate.

In addition to this, we have over politicized everything in this country,including dirt. We compare to see which political parties generated most dirt while in government. Thus,intentional environmental pollutions has become a political weapon a political party can use to undo the other. So political party supporters deliberately dump refuse at where they are not supposed to be dumped and use it against their opponents. What a shame?

Finally, I do not know what happened for Zoomlion to take control of sanitation in this country even to the extent that a mandatory seven thousand cedis levy is collected from the share of every assembly's common fund and paid to her. Whether they worked or not the money is secured and would hit their account. What Zoomlion does is to gather some youths and give them broom to sweep. These people are paid a token of hundred cedis a month. The surprising aspect of it is that these people were at times employed on the letterheads of MMDCEs. , MPs and party chairmen. Zoomlion is a major financier of the major political parties in this country. So all the political parties have it as a gold mine for their campaign, thus they do not care what it does.

Not until a holistic action is taken to solve the issue, we will be at the mercy of communicable diseases and when they come, we shall use our scarce resources to buy drugs to treat the affected, which will affect other sectors of the economy. Prevention they say is better than cure and cleanliness the Bible says is next to Godliness. This is the time, let us collectively act now.

Anane Ebenezer Akuley