STATEMENT PRESENTED BY OBUASI MINISTERS ASSOCIATION AT PRESS
CONFERENCE HELD ON MONDAY 13TH MARCH 2017 AT COVENANT HOUSE
CHAPEL, OBUASI. STATEMENT READ BY APOSTLE GEORGE KINGSLEY AMOAKO,
CHAIRMAN, OBUASI MINISTERS ASSOCIATION
Friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen;
I am honoured to welcome you to this morning’s press conference. On behalf of
the Executives and members of the Obuasi Ministers Association, I wish to express
my profound gratitude to you for taking time off your busy schedules to respond
to our invitation, though coming at short notice. May Jehovah bless you and
increase you for heeding to our call.
We have called you here this morning to lay before you two key issues that we wish
to articulate. First, we wish to share with you our thoughts regarding the
nomination of a Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Obuasi by the President and
the qualities we seek for in that person; and secondly, we will be sharing our ideas
with you on how we can all contribute to make Obuasi great once again.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today we have taken a bold step towards becoming active
citizens of this country, and not the spectators that we have more often than not
become. As spiritual leaders, we have endured a certain public perception that our
roles are confined to the pulpit. This is far from the reality. Indeed, the Bible even
encourages all Christians to participate in national affairs. This call was not made in
a vacuum. There are several godly people who served in national affairs. We can
share the life of Joseph, who served as Prime Minister in a foreign land of Egypt
where he had been sold as a slave. There is also the story of Daniel, who also
became an official in King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon when he went into captivity
there. Daniel was later elevated to the position of Vice President in Babylon.
Similarly, almost all the Prophets in the Old Testament played significant roles in
keeping their Kings in check. They served as the conscience of their nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the media: the point we are making is that it is not strange
for the clergy to express an opinion on matters of state. Even beyond the spiritual
justification provided above, we also shepherd people who live in our communities.
They have social and emotional needs that the church has to meet. Whenever the
economy takes a nose dive, or when the state fails in its responsibility to provide
basic needs, the burden falls on churches to stand in the gap. In this regard,
churches have been paying school fees of needy but brilliant students, settling
medical bills, subsidizing housing rent for members, providing social welfare,
providing emotional and material support for widows, physically challenged,
children and people classified as extremely poor and who have fallen out of the
social welfare net. A thriving, equitable and sustainable economy is therefore a
huge relief to churches.
Expectations of Municipal Chief Executive for Obuasi
Ladies and Gentlemen: the President, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo has started
naming his Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs). As is
to be expected, we are keenly following the process, to know who eventually
becomes the next Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for Obuasi. For a very long time,
Obuasi has had the misfortune of having MCEs who have been anything but
visionary. The current state of Obuasi confirms our position that the MCEs in the
past have not been proactive in dealing with the numerous daunting development
challenges that the Municipality faces. We believe that if the President chooses the
right person as MCE, Obuasi’s problems would be half solved. What qualities do we
look out for in our next MCE?
1. First of all, we are looking for a visionary leader. The successful person
must be someone who has a vision for the transformation of Obuasi.
He/she must come to office with a clearly articulated vision that the
general citizenry can buy into.
2. We are also looking for an accomplished person. We need someone who
has made a mark for himself/herself outside of politics. We do not want
a situation where people come to office to enrich themselves at the
expense of the masses. The next MCE must come to office with a passion
3. Ladies and Gentlemen: our next MCE should be someone who knows
Obuasi very well, understands the problems of the city well and has
solutions to the problems of the city. The MCE should have an innate
passion to change the fortunes of Obuasi and leave a mark for posterity.
4. Furthermore, the next MCE should be someone who has the ability to
mobilise people by inspiring confidence in them, negotiate good deals
with the business community on behalf of the Assembly and also commit
to doing things differently. The “business-as-usual” type of leadership has
not helped. This time we need someone who is radical enough to take
bold steps to change the dwindling fortunes of our beloved city.
5. We also expect the next MCE to be someone who can galvanise the
creative abilities of the youth of Obuasi and turn them into
entrepreneurial ventures. This is absolutely necessary to deal with the
problem of youth unemployment, and also gradually diversify the
economy away from core mining businesses. Obuasi has produced some
of the finest graduates in the country, but due to limited economic
opportunities they always relocate away from the city to other places.
Our next MCE should be passionate about creating a corps of successful
entrepreneurs who will run the local economy.
6. Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen: our next MCE should be a person of
integrity, and incorruptible. In the past perceptions of corruption and
connivance with illegal mining or galamsey fueled a certain credibility
crisis for the political leadership of the city. This went a long way to create
the mess that the city finds itself in right now. We do not want a repeat
of that episode. We want an honest MCE who can work with both AGA
and small scale miners without compromising himself or herself in the
Priority Development Interventions in Obuasi
Ladies and Gentlemen: as clergy we have been deeply concerned about the state
of Obuasi Municipality. We are therefore proposing some key priority areas for
government which, if implemented can take Obuasi to a higher level.
1. Road network.
For a city that has significantly supported the economy of Ghana for more
than a hundred years, we do not think our reward should be such terrible
roads. The state has not been fair to us at all. Since 1897 when mechanical
gold mining started till date, AngloGold Ashanti, our only multinational
mining company, has contributed so much to national revenue through
royalty payments, income tax and social security contributions, corporate tax
(all to Central Government) as well as corporate social responsibility
contributions to the local economy. What have we got in return? Arguably
the most deplorable road network in any city in Ghana. Though for a
population of over 200,000 the five major hospitals and numerous clinics and
health centres within the Municipality should be adequate, we are disgusted
that all roads to these health facilities are in such a terrible shape that we are
sometimes forced to wonder whether it is diseases that kill people, or the
state of the roads. Of particular interest is the state of the Anwiankwanta to
Obuasi road. This road has become a death trap. We are saddened that
successive governments failed to fix this important highway that links three
regions of the country: Ashanti, Central and Western Regions. The
government should urgently fix this road, as well as all Obuasi town roads.
2. Alternative economy.
In 2016 we saw a horrendous scene played before our eyes when a group of
illegal miners invaded the underground concession of AngloGold Ashanti,
causing a shutdown of mine operations for more than 10 months. This
standoff negatively affected the Obuasi local economy and sharply brought
into focus the ramifications of operating an economy that is dependent on
only one company. An economy whose buoyancy is tied to the fortunes of
one single mining company is bound to fail, considering that continued
mining itself is also dependent on the availability of the natural resource.
With this background, we call for the creation of an alternative industry to
mining so that Obuasi can be spared the troubles it has gone through the
past 3 years following AGA’s crisis. It is refreshing that government has
already assured AGA of state support as it seeks to revive its fortunes. The
recent relocation of small scale miners to an alternative concession also gives
us hope that Obuasi can come back to life. We look forward to the return of
all mine support companies that relocated to other places following AGA’s
crisis. We also propose that government works with private investors to site
at least one gold refinery in Obuasi. We believe that with a boom in gold
mining in the city this refinery will have enough raw materials to keep it
running. Furthermore, Ladies and Gentlemen: we also call on government to
take a second look at the processing of the famous “Obuasi ankaa”. A factory
like this will not only create direct employment to the locals, but will also
resurrect agriculture that is currently comatose. In the long run this will also
lead to a restoration of economic vibrancy of our rural communities.
3. Establishment of a University in Obuasi
Ladies and Gentlemen: about three years ago we heard of plans by the
Obuasi Municipal Assembly then headed by the immediate past MCE, Hon.
Richard Ofori Agyeman Boadi to partner Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science and Technology (KNUST) to establish a campus of the university in
Obuasi. Somewhere along the line the plan fell through. We wish to urge the
new administration to immediately take this project up and see to its
fruition. The presence of a university campus in Obuasi will do so well to
revive the local economy through the attraction of other ancillary businesses
like housing, catering, transportation, stationery supplies, clothing lines and
Information, Communication Technology (ICT). Apart from this our youth will
have easy access to quality university education at their doorsteps.
As members of the clergy, we wish to pledge our undying commitment to seeing to
the resurrection of Obuasi. Obuasi will rise again. Obuasi will become the very
vibrant city that it was once upon a time. Obuasi will become the citadel of
education in Ghana. Obuasi will attract international attention and become a
model for other Municipalities in Ghana and beyond. And we will continue to play
our roles as spiritual leaders. But more importantly we will also be sharing our ideas
about the state of our city as and when needed. Once again, I thank you very much
for accepting our invitation to cover this press conference. God bless you all.