General News Sun, 12 Jun 2005

Accra Major Visits Chicago

Ethnicity and Tribalism has no place in present Day Ghana-declares visiting Accra Mayor in Chicago????..
He is waging war on hawkers and filth in Accra!

June 12 2005, Chicago-The visiting Mayor of Accra, Honorable Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, informed members of the Church of the Ghanaian community of Chicago, at 5500 S. Woodlawn, that tribalism and ethnicity has no room in John A. Kufour?s government.

Mr. Blankson?s visit to Chicago is part of Chicago?s international sister cities program, where mayors with sister city affiliation are invited to visit Chicago.

Mayor Blankson, the de-facto Mayor of Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for 14 months and recently, reconfirmed by his fellow Assemblymen with 98 % of votes, was very articulate, save the frequent stuttering in his speech.

Mayor Blankson proudly said that his first action as mayor was to clean the capital city of Ghana from hawkers who trade their wares on streets and side walks in the nerve center of the city. Prior to the 2005 parliamentary and presidential elections, Saturdays were dedicated to cleaning up of the city of Accra, all shops in the city were closed on those days and taxis do not operate in the city.

The Mayor again said that the AMA has declared the year 2005 as action year to decongest the city of Accra from hawkers and filth. The capital city of Ghana, Accra, is populated by 4 million people and five hundred thousand daily visitors, tourists , businessmen and women, he informed his attentive audience. He noted that the city produces 16000 metric tones of garbage a day. Trucks hired to cart the garbage to landfills are in such a terrible shape they breakdown after every third trip or less to the landfills where the city?s waste is deposited.

In February this year, the Mayor mobilized 250 strong police force, 200 AMA Task Force, 100 City Guards and 50 police horses and reclaimed the roads around Makola number 2 through Tudu from hawkers. He informed the Ghanaian community that those streets are now open to traffic and free from hawkers. Periodic offenders are penalized by payment of a fine imposed by a special court devoted to handle cases of illegal hawking in Accra. The city of Accra is however constructing a new market between circle and the Odor River for the displaced hawkers.

The Mayor invited all Ghanaians abroad to request donor agencies to be partners in development with third world countries.

Mr. Ernest Oware, an elder of the Church of the Ghanaian community of Chicago informed the Mayor that the blessings of God will always be with him and the leadership in Ghana. He opined that the government should tackle cases of corruption to create better environment for investment by Ghanaians abroad. ?Persistent news about corruption without any effort to weed the bad nuts out does not encourage us to help? he stated. Mr. Oware affirmed the Church?s mission by informing the visiting Mayor that the Ghanaian community Church will do what ever it can to assist in the development of our beloved country, Ghana. He noted with sorrow that Ghanaians on a visit to Ghana and want to take advantage of their visit to enquire about business opportunities from government officials are prevented by personal secretaries from meeting with officials.

Earlier Mr. Reuben Hadzide, president of the Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago and Financial Secretary of the Church, welcomed the Mayor and introduced him and his entourage to the congregation.

Mr. Amponsah Yeboah, a DJ at WHPK 88.5 FM in Chicago and elder of the Church led the service; Brother Gabriel Amoaten-Boahen preached the sermon.

Source: Reuben Hadzide.