The NPP government’s intention to continue with the exercise of making the capital city Accra together with other regional capital across the country clean and neat was hailed by well meaning Ghanaians as a laudable move. Successive governments have on various stages pledge their commitments to make Accra the model city in terms of cleanliness and for that matter a ministry like Tourism and Modernization of the Capital City headed by the late Jake Obetsebi Lamptey during 2002 was set to lead the way to ensure a successful outcome.

Although little was achieved under that ministry during the reign of the Kufour administration the commitment exhibited by successive NDC led governments under late President Prof John Evan Atta Mills and President John Dramani Mahama led to the strict implementation and enforcement of certain regulations and byelaws on sanitation by some key stakeholders including Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

As part of stringent measures to get the city ride of filth and unauthorized structures in certain key strategic locations in the metropolis, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly under the leadership of Alfred Okoe Vanderpuye now Member of Parliament for Ablekuma South initiated several intervention such as the 60-point directive to residents in the city aimed at decongesting Accra to make it easier to fight fire and the introduction of stiffer punishment for hawkers and traders who sell animals such as goat, sheep, birds in market that are not designated by the AMA.

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This among many of other directives from the Accra Metropolitan Assembly over the past eight years has brought not only some appreciable level of sanity into the Accra metropolis but also help conscientize urban dwellers to be mindful of their environments.
With the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah, one would have expected that he will continue from where his predecessors left off and blaze the trail to make Accra one of the best cities West Africa if not the whole of Africa.

But unfortunately nine months down the line the new AMA boss seem not to be taking the cleanliness of the capital city serious considering his lackadaisical attitude towards his approach to certain undesirable developments within the AMA jurisdiction notably his own backyard Abeka Lapaz, a suburb of Accra where Mr. Adjei Sowah pride himself on being a resident of the area.

It therefore comes as no surprise when the AMA was charged by the Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Prince Billy Anaglatey during the month of May, this year to intensify its decongestion efforts in some parts of Accra to increase the effectiveness of firefighting efforts in the event of an emergency.

Abeka Lapaz which is noted to be one of the most densely populated areas in the Accra Metropolis and home to the new AMA boss has always been in the news for bad reasons due to the disregards for law and order by its residents. A careful walk or a drive through the main street within the community from the Abeka Junction starting from the main traffic light on the N1 Highway through to the Total Filling Station in Tesano, would expose one to the high level of indiscipline on the road with of commercial vehicle (Trotro and Taxis) stopping and parking indiscriminately to pick or alit passenger without recourse to the road safety regulations.

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Some of these commercial drivers operating between Lapaz, Circle and Accra flout these traffic regulations with impunity at the full glare of AMA Road Taskforce officials.

Most pedestrians instead of using the entire pedestrian side walkway are forced to walk on the main street because the walkways have been hijacked by hawkers and shop owners plying their trade along the street.

Activities at Abrantie Spot area along the main George Walker Busy Highway has gotten out of hand as shop owners and hawkers alike have taken to do serious business on the sidewalks or pavement made strictly for pedestrians. Even an alternative road right behind the Ecobank and SuperBet building which connect to the main highway has been turned a Trotro Station for Darkuman and Kaneshie Commercial vehicles.

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These few unpalatable examples which exposes the lives of many of innocent Ghanaians to danger in the backyard of Accra’s new mayor has raise certain legitimate concern about his competence and commitment to the fight against indiscipline, decongestion and filth in the capital city.

Speaking to this paper one resident who failed to give his name was surprised to hear that the mayor of Accra lives in his community which he describe ‘a very dirty place in Ghana’ and urge the mayor to be proactive to address the many challenging sanitation issues bedeviling the Lapaz community. A pedestrian who identified herself to this paper as Lois and visibly angry during the interview think the new AMA boss has no real plans for the city and believes that the earlier he changed from his position as a mayor of Accra the better.

During an interview on one of the radio stations in Accra Neat Fm, Mr Mohammed Adjei Sowah talked about plans to decongest the Metro Mass Transport Terminal area at the Kaneshie Market and bitterly lamented how that area is regularly becoming a massive market centre but failed to address real challenging issues confronting his own neighborhood with regards to pavement hawking, unauthorized structures, etc.

The AMA’s decongestion efforts normally involve the eviction of hawkers and the removal or destruction of unauthorised structures within their domain.

By: Nana Appiah Acquaye

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