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Opinions of Saturday, 5 January 2019

Columnist: JOT Agyeman

Why Kokomlemle should not be neglected; A cautionary note to decision makers

I have lived in Kokomlemle most of my life and watched it transform from a purely residential area to a hot commercial enclave within the last twenty years.

Kokomlemle sits in the heart of Ayawaso Central until recently part of the Accra Metropolitan Authority and soon to have its own Municipal Authority. There is no doubt that Kokomlemle is the hub of the bustling new Municipal Authority.

In the past it was home to Ministers of State, Entrepreneurs and Business
Leaders. The area first took on a new lease on life in the late 1940s and early 1950s when a number of Ghanaian leaders built their homes there.

The likes of Ayeh Darko, Inkumsah, Gbedemah, Dadson, Mireku, Anim Addo and others found the area well planned, flood free and crime free and lived there for many years.

Kokomlemle boarders Nima, Accra New Town and Alajo and the famed Ring Road Central divide the area from Asylum Down.

In the last decade or so, Kokomlemle has taken on a new lease of life.

It is home to several Banks such as the ultra-modern Headquarters of SG-SSB and the now defunct Head office of Unibank. VAT House is a strategically placed on the Kokomlemle side of the Ring Road Central.

The area is home to many top Media Houses such as the Multimedia Group, Atinka Media Village, Top Media, the head office of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and others.

Ring Road Central houses all the major banks and telecommunications offices.
Several Academic Institutions also call Kokomlemle home.

These include Blue Crest College, Academic University College and Accra Technical Training Centre. The Head offices of Challenge Enterprises can also be found here.

What makes Kokomlemle special?

Some have said that people who live in Kokomlemle don’t travel far to get what they want. Kwame Nkrumah Circle on the outer boarder of Kokomlemle is a five minutes’ walk from most directions. Nima Police Station is also a stone throw away.

Mallam Atta market, one of the largest in Accra straddles across Kokomlemle on its east side and New Town on it west side. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation in Kanda is less than a ten minutes’ walk. Truth is one can get to most of the important centres within a few minutes from
their destination in Kokomlemle.

Recently, I have noticed a stirring divide from people who live in Kokomlemle. Ayawaso

Central has over the years since 1996 voted for the New Patriotic Party with Kokomlemle leading the way. Kokomlemle has always gone the way of the NPP, but it looks like the sharp divisions stem from the fact that many in the area are disillusioned by the fact that Alajo a much less endowed area wears the political cap in Ayawaso Central and therefore keeps the spoils of victory.

The growing descent is due to the fact that the NPP allegedly seems to always neglect Kokomlemle in favour of Alajo. The current Member of Parliament Henry Quartey is from the camp of the famed former Member of Parliament Sheik IC Quaye.

For the past 22 years Alajo has provided an MP for the constituency. This conspiracy to keep Alajo at the forefront of Ayawaso Central Politics is slowly eroding the gains of the NPP in the constituency.

Recently, the word on the streets is that the new Municipal Chief Executive will
also come from the same camp with the Authority Building likely to go to Kotobabi.

Perceptions are a dangerous thing if they are negative, and when people in a community begin to voice out their distaste for a certain process it is only prudent for their concerns to be addressed.

The Alajo connection recently declared that the sitting Member of Parliament will not be contested in the next election allowing him to go unopposed. That will certainly spell doom for the party especially when many have expressed their desire to contest him on party lines or as independent candidates.

Truth is without Kokomlemle, the NPP will lose Ayawaso Central.

No one is against Alajo providing candidates for whatever position, but a few men cannot hijack the constituency and expect everyone to tow their line. Those days are over. Equity in governance ensures that there is a level playing field for all to challenge and be challenged.

The significance of Kokomlemle in the constituency is not in doubt. It is the richest area in the constituency with most of the prime properties and businesses. Anyone who intends to marginalize the people will be digging a huge pit for himself.

The pent up feelings, the simmering anger and the tantrums of dissent are real and the earlier something is done to ensure equity and accountability, the better for the party.

There are many in Kokomlemle who have contributed and still do to making sure that the fortunes of the NPP remain. They do not ask for much. All they ask for is the same opportunities given to others.

A classic example of failed promises can be seen at the Panama cluster of schools, the only government school serving the community.

A few years ago, a toilet facility was started for the school, but several attempts to get it completed have been met with disappointment. In the meantime, school projects in Alajo have been completed.

Let me not play on sentiments but all the same, let us question and query our leaders for their stewardship.

They must account for their time in office and showcase examples of good, fair leadership. They must allow for others to throw their hats into the ring and create enabling environments for dialogue and open sessions.

The clock is certainly ticking. Kokomlemle awaits!.