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Opinions of Saturday, 17 April 2021

Columnist: Kofi Pratt

I am disappointed in the new Greater Accra Regional Minister and the hypocrisy of his fake decongestion exercise

Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey

Folks, there appears to be a new dynamic Greater Accra Regional Minister on the blocks making waves and capturing the media attention for being a “show boy” with praises flowing left and right with his new song of decongesting Accra.

Is he for real? Is he sincere? Is he acting in good faith? Is he doing the right thing? Or he is just captivating himself in another populist nonsense, tickling himself and laughing?

The raining season is around the corner and people have blocked the water ways with new unapproved buildings and structures that will make it difficult for the rain water flow freely through the drainage system into the sea to avoid the usual perennial flooding in Accra killing people and destroying property.

So I agree hundred percent with him and his order to stop all such illegal structures and using the courts to have them demolished. I also feel that demolishing such properties are not enough. Usually such structures are not put up by the ordinary people in the streets but powerful people who have found new expressions in politics and illicit wealth, most of them have the backing of politicians and powerful people in societies like the same very regional minister.

So I want him to go further. In addition to pulling down such structures, they should apply serious sanctions like surcharge the culprits with the cost of demolishing and heavy fines for flouting the rules. This must be done across board with no fear or favour and being blind to political colours.

My real beef is the decongestion exercise. Why do I say that? My brothers and sisters ( to quote our dearly beloved departed president, Prof Atta Mills) under the regime of General Igantius Kutu Acheampong, ( He was then a colonel in the Ghana Army and Chairman of the National Redemption Council, NRC, who was later demoted to the civilian rank of “Mr” because the SMC II led by General FWK Akuffo had no respect for the Ghanaian civilians and thought that it was ok to punish a Ghanaian by reducing him from a General to Mr.) what has Mr done wrong? Yes under Kutu, Dodowa, a few miles to the east of Accra, was designated the capital of the Greater Accra region.

Land was identified, demarcated and earmarked for the regional structures. Plans and design for the construction of the regional administration, regional ministries and other structures to house the regional institutions begun in earnest. Soon, it was abandoned after the palace coup led by Gen.
Akuffo and Gen Hamidu.

Since then, no government has revisited that laudable and noble forward thinking move by the much loved General, Kutu Acheampong. And we have had many regional ministers from SMC II, through AFRC under dictator Rawlings,PNP under nice but empty Hilla Limann, PNDC under fake revolutionary dictator Rawlings, NDC under pseudo Democrat Rawlings, NPP under lip service democrat Kuffour, NDC chapter two under Asomdwee hene Mills, without balls, NDC under the indicisive “wind blowing” Mahama, to the now fanfare loving short sighted NPP 2 presidency under “Dr do little” Nana Akufo-Addo.

Does the regional minister realise how much decongestion he can do in Accra within one week, if he becomes bold enough to take the bull by the horns and announce the movement of the regional capital to its appropriate designated place in Dodowa? Can he not see that by that singular action, he could decongest Accra by nearly 50%? Can he just close his eyes and imagine how transferring himself, his office, regional administration staff, offices, structures, his residency and that of his staff and all Greater Accra-based ministries, state regional offices, institutions and staff to Dodowa?

I accept that it won’t take a day but it’s a start. First of all, we would have a new and emerging dynamic buzzling economy not too far from Accra and life would be richer both in Dodowa with its economy and that of all the towns and villages between Accra and Dodowa along with it improving and that of Accra with the decongestion, less traffic, less crowd bringing with it fresh air and a fresh opportunity to redesign the capital for the nation.

In Ghana, we have the unfortunate situation of having our political, administrative and commercial capital all being in one small congested city called Accra. Let's all come together, politicians, business community, citizenry and traditional rulers come together and let this happen. While at it, let’s have a national consensus building dialogue to identify a new political and administrative capital for Ghana, leaving Accra as the commercial capital worth its salt.

Let Henry Quartey put his “decongestion mouth” where his pocket is and show leadership by moving his office and staff to Dodowa and starting a campaign with all on board through parliament and the other corridors of power to revive and resurrect the idea of moving the Greater Accra Regional capital to its designated place in Dodowa and see if Accra would not feel, look and realise proper decongestion in days.

At least a few V8s will stop flashing blue and red lights through the streets of Accra every morning and evening and vehicle pollution could go down by 50%

Populism and media attention grabbing headlines won’t work and won’t succeed in fooling all the people all the time.

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