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Opinions of Monday, 29 October 2012

Columnist: Al-Hajj

Rawlings Is Right

-Prez Mahama Must Reverse the ‘37’ land sale

The Al-Hajj wishes to add its voice to a call by former president Jerry John Rawlings to President John Mahama, to use his executive powers to stop the sale and acquisition of the vast tract of land opposite the 37’Military Hospital, in the interest of the Ghanaian people.
Former President Rawlings, delivering a lecture on corruption in Accra on Wednesday, 24th October, 2012 appealed to President Mahama to intervene and halt the takeover of the land for the development of what he described as “their fanciful flats”.
Mr. Rawlings recommended the use of the land to expand the 37’ Military Hospital, to accommodate the ever-increasing patient population.

“The ‘37’ Military hospital needs an extension to be able to take care of the numerous medical cases and I don’t think any of the place would be better than reaching across that street and taking over a government plot and redeveloping it to serve that purpose” ex-president Rawlings told his enthusiastic listeners.
The Al-Hajj recalls that the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), in August 2011, expressed disappointment “that the government has given approval for all the government lands opposite the 37 Military Hospital up to the Lands Commission, which were originally sold to SSNIT, to be used for the construction of luxury flats to be sold to individual members of the elite in our society,” revealing that “part of the land would be used for a shopping mall and a private school for the elite.”

Calling for a reversal of that decision, the CJA had decried the lack of assessment of the environmental impact of the proposed construction on traffic in an area which was already congested.

We are also passionately appealing to all patriotic Ghanaians to add their voices to this clarion call to reverse the sale of the land.
This is because the 37’ military hospital, apart from being a key medical facility, which under normal circumstances complements Ridge and Korle bu Teaching hospitals, it also serves as a national emergency center, including industrial actions by civilian hospitals in the country.
It is therefore imperative government takes another look at this sale and rather source for funding to expand the health facility into a world class medical facility.
Like the CJA, ‘We believe that government still needs lands for the expansion of public business and the provision of social infrastructure,’ and the privatisation of the land in question is not a particularly sensible option.
It is the fervent hope of The Al-Hajj that Mr. John Mahama, who has so far demonstrated that he is a listening president, will give heed to this call to ensure that the land in question is used to serve the interest of all, and not a few.