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Opinions Wed, 27 Apr 2016

‘Accounting to the People’ gathers momentum

This week, President John Dramani Mahama is continuing his tour schedule in the countryside with a visit to the Brong Ahafo Region.

The central message to the people on the ‘Accounting to the people tour’ is the explanation of what his government has been able to do in the last three-and-half years and what is left to be done.

As President of the country, he is duty-bound to take stock of successful projects and programmes and how they are impacting on the lives of the people.

Again, nothing stops the President from touring the country to inspire hope in the people.

Criticisms

The Accounting to the People, tour, however, has drawn the ire of a section of the opposition who contend that the nationwide exercise constitutes abuse of incumbency. They say it is a smokescreen for him to use state resources to campaign ahead of the November general election.

President Mahama has explained that the tour is to showcase what the government has been able to do, especially in the area of infrastructure development and explain how the government will tackle what is left to be done.

While government and NDC officials have backed the President’s explanation, the opposition parties will not take any of that and they have been throwing verbal punches at each other.

Worthy exercise

Suffice it to say, however, that the tour has so far been a worthy exercise.

Any President worth his salt cannot be an armchair person. You need to get to the grass roots and galvanise the nation around unity and progress.

The presidency of Ghana is not just for the people of Accra but every other part of the country. Therefore, moving away from the comfort of his office at the Flagstaff House to tour the country is very important.

So far, I have not heard the President asking people to vote for him in the next election.

The closest he has come to the elections has been encouraging Ghanaians who have turned 18 years to take advantage of the upcoming limited registration exercise to get their names on the voters register to enable them to take part in the elections.

Kick-off

Starting off from the Western Region, the President's first assignment was the launch of the process for the conversion of polytechnics into technical universities, at a ceremony at the Takoradi Polytechnic .

The conversion of polytechnics into technical universities was a manifesto pledge of the ruling NDC and with the programme due to take off in the 2016/2017 academic year with six institutions, there was excitement at the campus.

Cold stores

The fishing industry revolves around the country’s coastal cummunities and for fishing communities in the Western Region, therefore, the industry is what provides their livelihood.

Over the years, however, the industry has faced a number of challenges including lack of cold storage facilities.

Cold stores along the coast are necessary to maintain the freshness of the catch so that the fishermen could command the right price in the market.

In keeping to its promise, the government has been constructing cold storage facilities in some of the communities in the Western Region and the President inaugurated two of them at Shama and Half Assini during his tour of the region and inspected another at Takoradi.

The cold stores are 150-tonne storage facilities and the joy that greeted the coming of the facilities was enough to underline how important the fisherfolk seek the projects.

President Mahama assured the people that the government would ensure that the fishing industry is supported for a sustainable and profitable future.

He also inaugurated and inspected road projects in the region.

Western Region had endured bad roads over the years, and on his assumption of office, the President decided to reverse the situation.

A good number of the projects have been completed, while others are in progress, but a lot more remains to be done.

Some of the roads under construction are the Anyinase-Kwesikrom-Prestea-Asankwagwa road and the ongoing asphalting of Axim town roads.

The 94 km Anyinase-Kwesikrom-Prestea-Asankwagwa road, work on which is progressing steadily, is expected to bring relief to the people.

Eastern, Volta regions

In the Eastern and Volta regions, similar activities were performed.

Roads are crucial to accelerating development and in the Volta Region, the much-talked-about Eastern Corridor road was high on the President’s agenda.

Among the road projects he inaugurated was the rehabilitated 46.4 km Dodo Pepesu-Nkwanta road, which is the first segment of the Eastern Corridor road to be completed.

The Eastern Corridor road has suffered some delays due to financing but work has not been abandoned.

Currently, work is ongoing on the other segments including Otidamanko-Nakpanduri, Nkwanta-Otidamanko, Have-Hohoe, Hohoe to Jasikan, and Nakpanduri–Bawku–Kulungugu.

The project has the objective of enhancing economic activities, improving the standard of living of the local people and thereby contributing to the government's effort to develop and reduce poverty in the Volta, Northern and Upper East regions of the country.

President Mahama also inaugurated a new engineering laboratory at the Ho Polytechnic.

The inauguration of the Nchumuruman Day Senior High School at Chindiri was another significant feature of the Volta Region tour. The school has been operating in deplorable structures and the 1,300 students will move into the new three-storey building.

Also in the Eastern Region, the President performed a number of activities including the inauguration and inspection of ongoing road projects.

The President also commissioned a new ferry for residents of Agordeke in the Afram Plains North District of the Eastern Region to replace the old ferry which broke down 10 years ago.

The new ferry has reconnected the Afram Plains area to Kpando-Torkor in the Volta Region.

Expectations

As the President continues his ‘Accounting to the People’ tour, expectations are that he would continue to tell the people what he has been able to achieve and explain what has accounted for the shortfalls and measures that would be taken to fix them.
Columnist: Kwame Asare Boadu