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Opinions of Monday, 5 May 2014

Columnist: Ackom, Selasi Koffi

Tema Residents Choke under Sewage Bursts and Heavy Stench!

Danger: Tema Residents Choke under Sewage Bursts and Heavy Stench!

On behalf of residents of Tema municipality, particularly Tema Central, we wish to bring to your attention the deplorable and dilapidated nature of the sewage system in our area which has now become a source of worry and causing many to have sleepless nights.

As a background, the sewage system of the Tema municipality was built in the 1960s during the construction of the Tema Township under the leadership of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party (CPP).

Unfortunately, however, the sewage system has not seen any major repairs in the last 50 years even though some engineers at the Tema Municipal Assembly and Tema Development Corporation (TDC) attest to the fact that the system ought to have undergone routine maintenance starting from the 1980s.

The result of this neglect is that, today, many homes are getting flooded with fecal matter, gushing out from manholes on a daily basis. For some residents, the sewage bursts are running through their compounds, verandahs, kitchens, sitting rooms, and even bedrooms, posing very serious health hazards. The stagnant waters from the sewage have become breeding grounds for mosquitoes, leading to an unprecedented high incidence of malaria in the area. Some residents are also complaining of some forms of respiratory problems as a result of the heavy stench emanating from the broken down sewage.

To add insult to injury, the TMA, instead of rallying the residents in a consultative manner to find a permanent solution, has unilaterally and insensitively chosen to impose hefty fees on households in the name of sewage maintenance. For example, the TMA recently hiked the monthly sewage maintenance charges from GHC 25 to a cutthroat rate of GHC 80. There have also been instances where some residents have been asked to cough up as much as GHC 9,000 because the TMA claims it does not have the financial resources to solve the menace.

Indeed, the irony of the situation is that while the by-laws of the TMA empower them to proceed to court and prosecute defaulting citizens, when it comes to the payment of sewage fees, the same by-laws do not give the levy and tax-paying residents the same opportunity to seek judicial remedies when the TMA fail to honour their obligations, which is the case most of the time. Under the circumstances, households often find themselves at the mercy of private repairers who charge as much as GHC 600.

As concerned citizens, we wish to call upon the TMA, Ministry of Works and Housing and Ministry of Health to, as a matter of urgency, investigate this matter with a view to finding a lasting solution. The plight of Tema residents is now in dire straits and that is why we are making this Macedonian call.

Please find attached to this release some photographs and copies of receipts by way of evidence.

Thank you.

Issued at Tema

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Signed:

Selasi Koffi Ackom

Tema Central Constituency Chairman – Convention People’s Party

Telephone: 023 275 7521