Give AMA more control to ensure proper sanitation – Accra Mayor
The Chief Executive Officer of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mohammed Nii Adjei Sowah has blamed the failure to ensure the provision of social services including adequate sanitation in the metropolis on the Assembly’s lack of total control over these services.
According to him, despite being responsible for the development of the capital, the Assembly has to contend with other agencies which have the primary responsibility for certain key social services.
He added in the more developed nations, the local assemblies have greater control over the development of their jurisdictions, enabling them to easily implement any development agendas in the interests of the citizens.
“You travel around the world and are proud to go to certain megacities and see things over there. But what is the governance structure in those cities? I sit here as the Mayor of Accra but I don’t control the Ghana Police Service or the Ghana Health Service so I don’t control all the clinics in Accra. These are all complementary factors that could factor in your planning of the city,” he said at the launch of The Ghana Action Series, a campaign by One Ghana Movement and Citi FM.
Likening Accra to Pizza, he lamented that different agencies of state each control ‘slices’, leaving the AMA with the difficult task of coordinating all these bodies to ensure the development of the capital.
He insisted that unless the AMA and its officials are given more control in the management of Accra, issues with sanitation might never be fully addressed.
“You are left to handle one side of the city; the city is like Pizza, the AMA has one side and a Ministry has another portion. If we don’t address the issue holistically, we’ll come back to the table, that’s where my concern is. If we don’t address the governance issue critically, we’ll be talking to the Ministry of Sanitation, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly differently. In many cities that have been ranked as the cleanest city, the governance issue is very clear. The city is directly in charge of all operations and then you can call the shots,” he added.
The Accra Mayor also lamented the lack of infrastructure to ensure that waste that is generated in the capital daily is properly disposed of.
He stated that the only landfill site in the city does not operate throughout the day, leaving residents with no choice but to dump their waste at inappropriate locations.
“It’s about infrastructure. The truth is that we don’t have it at all. Currently, in the whole of the Accra Region, we have only one landfill site, which is not engineered, at Kpone. Technically in about one and a half years, the Kpone landfill site will get full and we’ll be in trouble. In Accra, the Kpone landfill site doesn’t operate 24 hours. Have you ever seen a city that is running waste management that does not operate 24/7? But the Mayor does not control the Kpone landfill site. So by 5 pm, the Kpone landfill site is closed,” he said.
The Right Way
The Ghana Action Series, which includes The Right Way initiative, was launched today [Tuesday] is geared towards improving sanitary conditions in the country.
The Director of News Programming at Citi FM, Benard Avle, told Citi News, “the rains have started and we want to know what the AMA has done to make sure that we don’t have repeated flooding, and we also want to understand from the point of the view of the Sanitation Minister, what he has been doing since he took office and what specific things he is set to do in the next few weeks to ensure that dream of making Accra the cleanest city… It is one of the things we are doing to carrying the conversation from mere intention to action”
Ghana’s problem with filth is well documented and can be accurately described, as plastic waste is noted as a major sanitation problem nationwide.
The capital, Accra is inundated with waste and uncollected garbage despite promises by various assemblies to improve the situation.
The sight of refuse dumped on the streets or on pavements is not uncommon, with the rubbish sometimes being left by waste management companies.
President Nana Akufo-Addo in 2017 pledged to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by the end of his tenure in office although doubts have been raised about this plan given the current situation.