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Opinions of Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Columnist: Daily Express

Ban these noisemakers!

By Eric Kwame AMESIMEKU Reporter- dailyEXPRESS

If a country founded on the tenets of Freedom and Justice allows the actions of a few lawless individuals to undermine these basic principles of our nationhood, then the much-relished utopia that we all dream of, will continue to elude us. Why must lawlessness and indiscipline be the hallmark of everyone in Accra who wants to embark on any economic venture, be it petty trading or service provision on a large scale?

To the tall list of the problems bedevilling the city of Accra, has been added, the irresponsible behaviour of some marketing firms, noisemaking. Our streets are littered with waste and our uncovered drains choked with plastic waste; pedestrian walkways are main centres of trading; whilst the premises of government offices have become grounds for private businesses; yet we cling to the funny idea that we have a functioning city authority which is tasked to ensure that peace, sanity and discipline prevail in the city for all who live in it. There are those who hold the view that these problems have become established in the society and thus dealing with them effectively would be a herculean task. What about the new form of illegality which is fast becoming established within the capital city while the Accra Metropolitan Assembly looks on helplessly and unconcerned. Soon it will spread to other city centres- the menace of trucks with a sound system with volume turned up very high and noisy generators playing out sounds which exceed the permissible decibel levels approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. This is taking place to the discomfort of every normal thinking city dweller, all in the name of selling musical and video recordings and sometimes every commodity crying to get recognition. In a tropical country like ours where the sun is so generous to smile broadly on our dark faces everyday, one is not even spared the basic luxury of concentrating on one’s thoughts with all the heat because, this omnipresent jamboree of a truck is present to disturb you. These people are engaged in economic ventures which fetch them and the city money (no one even knows if these people are taxed), but must they do that to the discomfort of everybody? These people are doing businesses on the streets which are meant to be done in stores and they must not be tolerated at all. The Public Relations Officer of the A.M.A, Numo Blafo III declined to comment on what the city authorities are doing to prevent this menace from being a normal trading feature which will make it impossible to deal with now and in the near future. His excuse was that, the Chief Executive of the A.M.A, Stanley Adjiri Blankson, will be addressing this and other issues affecting the city at a latter date. Of course, some people think these lawless acts are allowed to go on for reasons of political expediency. But is it not time we looked at this phenomena of tolerating and allowing wrongs to perpetrate, all in the name of politics? If the very people the politician is going to serve are allowed to destroy the very society they live in, then what is the essence of preaching development when in fact retrogression is what one means. If the A.M.A has teeth to bite, then our streets must be cleared of filth; the hawkers on our roads and pedestrian walkways must be told to relocate; and the noisemakers must be stopped. Should the AMA fail in this drive, then the Ga Traditional Council must be allowed to run the affairs of the city which border on hawking, noisemaking and discipline? The Council is very effective when it comes to these issues. Why?

Do we not see the peace and sanity that prevail in the city when the Council places its annual ban on noisemaking at the onset of the Homowo festival? If the Council with its meagre resources and skeletal personnel can enforce this ban in the whole metropolis, then with a little support, it can attain more.