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Opinions of Saturday, 27 September 2014

Columnist: Akosomo, Nyantakyi Kwadwo

Kumasi defiled

During the reign of Nana Osei Tutu Agyemang Prempeh ll, Elizabeth ll as a young lady and newly crowned queen visited Ghana in 1961, mesmerized by the many beautiful species of flowers and plants of Kumasi billed the city “the garden city of Africa”. However, with my recent visit to Kumasi, I was totally embarrassed and my American friend greatly disappointed for all the noise I have made about the beauty of Kumasi, only to find Kumasi very hot, dirty, overcrowded, noisy and worse of all to see animals (Cows) rooming freely on the Ahenboboano/Airport Road to Buokrom. Kumasi is definitely defiled.

Ecology: We found Kumasi chaotic and this chaos is having detrimental ecological and social effects on the people. All the trees that shielded the city from the direct sun have vanished. Trees that cooled the city by up to 10°F, by shading the homes and streets and releasing water vapor into the air through their leaves have been mowed down. As a result of poor ecological system, Kumasi is now a scorching city with sweltering nights, and with days of extreme heat. Air quality in Kumasi is very poor as people pollute the air by burning garbage at various places. The neglect in Kumasi depicts the proverbial term “absentee landlord” as it does not seem anybody is in charge and people continue to do whatever they want.

Tourist Attraction: Kejetia The Kejetia roundabout which had been the center and beauty of the city of Kumasi is now an eyesore. The whole place is noisy, overcrowded and unwalkable, and the noise truly makes it unpleasant place to be. I’m used to crowds but that of Kejetia is unstructured chaos. Our leaders, great politicians and many World dignitaries have been driven around this circle. Kejetia is now sprawling, tremendously overcrowded, dirty uninteresting environment to be. The chaos starts from these historical buildings: Dr. Mensah’s clinic; Nana Nyanin’s House, Ampomah’s gas station; Tafohemaa’s house; Morocco Shoe store; SAT, Tailors Academy; Inside the Kejetia round about; The Watch sellers area in front of Railways Station, all these places are jammed packed and “a grain thrown in the air would not find itself down for long time”.

Influx of migrants: There are many rich resources in Ashanti Region and Kumasi is zoned into commercial, industrial, and residential areas but unemployed in the country due to political corruption has compounded the woes of Kumasi in many ways. Young boys and girls are running from the Northern Region and other parts of the country to their families in Kumasi. Therefore despite greater opportunities and advantages that often come with village and urban living, like free food, sleeping space and proximity to education, many Northerners and other people from the country have simply traded poverty in the villages for poverty in Kumasi.

Expansion Of Zongo: Kumasi Zongo comprising parts of Asawase, Aboabo and Alabar is overcrowded and now creeping steadily to places like Ashanti New Town, Asarfo, Nfante New Town etc. People from the Northern Region and other parts of the country come to Kumasi because they can no longer live in their villages mostly due to poverty and hunger but they are poorly prepared, they have no career training or education therefore the path then leads directly into the Zongo slums and consequently find themselves at Kejetia as porters, dirty shoe sellers or the worst pick pockets.

Royal City Kumasi holds an important place in the history of the Ashanti people. As history claims, it was in Kumasi where Okomfo Anokye received the Golden Stool, the embodiment of the soul of the Ashanti nation. Innocent reader, don’t think I’m being insensitive, tribalistic or ethnocentric, you must know that Ashantes have a long history of rich culture and tradition. All Ghanaians, especially those in the diaspora regardless of their tribe, have the right to heighten their joy and pride with such history, but, there must be a beautiful city called Kumasi to support this heritage. It is my fervent plea that the traditional leaders who are the natural and permanent custodians of this city will rise up and rectify this emergency situation to resurrect the beauty of Kumasi.

Kwadwo Nyantakyi Akosomo