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Opinions Mon, 13 Dec 2010

Dodowa the capital city of Ghana

The capital city of Ghana, Accra, has become a no go area, so chocked up with many

activities and vehicular traffic due to poor and lack of proper planning. Engineers

and Planners who have been employed by the state to ensure that the city is properly

structured to international standards, have thrown their hands in despair not

knowing what to do to decongest the capital city, especially the business centre.

Most of these experts are "book engineers”, they sit in their various offices whilst

controlling things from afar. They must move out of their offices and get to the

ground to see what can be done to ameliorate the congestion situation in the capital

city. Wearing big coats and ties and receiving fat salaries at the end of the month

is hurting the state, or in other words damaging the national economy. They must put

their acts together for a better Ghana or a better capital city than what we are

witnessing now. Government and commercial activities

are conducted right from the capital, specifically the business centre making

things really difficult for commuters to the capital city, Accra.

In most countries, ministries and government agencies are never situated in the

commercial centre of the capital city because if you do that you are inviting

trouble for yourself. Massive vehicular and human traffic will be the consequences

of that gesture as is happening in Accra. Government must make frantic effort to

relocate some of the ministries to Dodowa, the yet to be created capital and

Prampram where we have a vast stretch of land as a gradual process of decongesting

the capital.

It was a sigh of relief to commuters to the capital city when the previous

administration announced that the capital city was being moved to Dodowa. Many

jubilated for that piece of information because they knew it was going to reduce the

pressure on them moving every morning to the capital city to transact business. The

plan to move the capital to Dodowa up to now is still on the drawing board and as to

whether it will see the light of day, only time will tell. Previous governments have

fallen in this trap of failing to implement policies and programmes which have the

potency of improving the lives of the ordinary Ghanaian.

Successive governments were more interested in changing names of existing state

institutions and also drawing plans that would never see the light of day. Recently

our educational system went through such a “naming ceremony", where the Senior

Secondary School was changed to Senior High School. In effect the change of name

brought nothing to us as Ghanaians. We would have been happier to see government

adding more facilities to the existing facilities thereby making education

affordable and accessible to the Ghanaian public.

I have no clue as to why the capital was not moved to Dodowa as announced by the

previous administration. I believe before they went public, plans were far advance

to see it materialized. I will urge the current administration to revisit the

drawing board and find out where they got to and continue from there. If the plan is

not completed they should finish it and if it is already completed, then the plan

has no business gathering dust or warming the shelves. Things must be put in place

quickly for implementation for the benefit of the citizenry.

It is always sad to see the number of cars driving towards the capital city in the

early hours of the morning. You see few cars going to the opposite direction and

that tells you there is something wrong. In most capital cities human and vehicular

traffic are evenly distributed, that is a situation where you have some people

moving away from the capital city and some moving towards it. Currently our problem

is that during the rushing hours of the morning you see vehicular traffic moving

towards one direction that is the capital city thereby creating massive congestion.

In the evenings around 3.30pm you see the same cars in a heavy traffic jam moving

away from the capital

Some families get up as early as 4.am in the morning just to avoid the vehicular

traffic we usually see in the capital. Due to the unevenly distribution of vehicular

traffic, it means in the evenings people would have to leave their offices before

the actual closing hours so as to escape the trauma one has to go through whiles in

the traffic. In all these instances hours which have to be used on the job is wasted

in traffic. This will go a long way to affect individual productivity thereby

crippling the better Ghana agenda of the government.

The Accra Metropolitan Authority as we know is in charge of decongesting the capital

city. The institution has become a white elephant as its activities to decongest the

capital have been plagued with political interferences and influences. The A.M.A

must take off its political colouration and be up and doing. In an attempt to

decongest the capital, I want to advise the authorities to relocate the Makola

market and all other markets doted around the capital city outside Accra, providing

good transportation facilities for commuters to those areas where the markets will

be sent to.

Government should come out with elaborate policies and programmes for rural

development, thus making sure infrastructural facilities found in the capital city

are replicated in the rural areas. This gesture will have the potential of

preventing or minimizing the number of people who troop daily to the capital city,

Accra

About 30years ago, China adopted a policy of rural infrastructural development just

to prevent or minimize the flooding of the rural folks to the provincial capital

cities in search of jobs. The people in the rural areas are happy because 30years

down the line, they can boast of an equal infrastructural facilities and sometimes

even better than some of the provincial capital cities. Rural urban migration is one

of the factors which has accounted for the congestion in Accra. If China was able to

do it we can, yes we can.

The government should as a matter of urgency put measures in place to develop the

rural areas. Most of the rural areas have been neglected by successive governments

due to lack of vision or political will. Government revenue is mostly generated from

cocoa and gold which are located in the rural areas and yet nothing is being done to

improve those communities as well as the people.

We want government to quickly move into action by embarking on a massive

infrastructural development in the rural areas so as to discourage urban migration

and encourage rural migration thereby decongesting the capital city Accra.The

congestion Accra is facing now is a deliberate negligence on the part of our leaders

to make Accra a modern city. Most of these leaders do go to other countries and they

see how those capitals are structured and yet still when they come back to their

mother land they are not able to put things in place to implement what they saw.

Successive governments’ plans to decongest the capital have been adhoc, so it is not

surprise we find ourselves where we are today.

Ghana as a country should not be where it is today. We have no excuse whatsoever to

be in the state we find ourselves. Countries which have less resources have done a

lot for their economy by providing infrastructural developments for the people.

Ghanaians are perishing slowly because of lack of vision on the part of our

political leaders.

I sometimes ask myself if Ghana is under some kind of a curse. We have the resources

to turn this nation around but we are not able to do so. Is there any unseeing hand

retarding our spiritual and physical growth as a nation? I don’t think so. The

problem is our political leaders who only think about themselves and their immediate

families at the expense of the nation. Political appointees and even public servants

get to their offices and the first thing they think of is how to use state money to

buy 4x4 car for their own comfort. Parliamentarians get to parliament and the next

thing you hear is that the president has approved a loan of $50,000 for each of the

230 parliamentarians to buy car for their comfortability. Our underdevelopment is

partly due to the above instances. State monies which should be used in

resuscitating the economy, providing hospitals, roads, schools, and shaping the

capital into a modern city, are spent on individual

politicians. The president told us during his first nation address that, the

government was going to adopt austerity measures in dealing with issues like the

above. Former president Kufuor during his term of office approved $20,000 to these

same parliamentarians to buy cars, and as to whether those monies have been paid

back to government chest no one knows. Our political leaders are more interested in

making themselves comfortable at the expense of the poor tax payer.

Though we all condemned the actions of the NDC youth by taking over the party head

office and also sacking some directors from their offices, I am tempted to say that

we will be seeing more of these things in the near future. People are more

politically awakened, and leaders put at the helm of affairs should put their acts

together because they will be held by the citizenry in a proper and a legal way to

account for their stewardship. Many people are angry with the politician because

they have failed the citizenry. The taxes which should have been used in providing

infrastructural developments have been stolen, misappropriated and misapplied by the

politician.

My heart bleeds when I see the state of Accra as it is now. You will realize that

the city authorities have no plan whatsoever to make it a modern city. Their hands

as I can see are on their heads in despair not knowing what to do to decongest

Accra. Haphazard buildings sitting on water ways, kiosks located at unwanted places

and massive hawking along the ceremonial streets. It’s total confusion to the

maximum in the capital. Street hawking must not be allowed in the capital. The Accra

Metropolitan Authority must get out of their offices and get to the ground to make

sure its by-laws are implemented to the letter

Ghana had the opportunity between the years of 1982 to 1992 to have turned this

unfortunate situation facing the capital today but the chance was blew away by our

political leaders. During that period the political terrain was comparatively

conducive, though there were sporadic coup attempts, for this nation to have seen

unprecedented infrastructural developments to the benefit of the people and also a

better restructuring of the capital city befitting international standards. Between

1993 right down to 2008 the story was not different, nothing much was done to

facelift the state of the capital city. I can say that our political leaders have

lost touch with the people and also, lack the political will to propel this nation

forward in the right direction.

Posterity will never forgive our current and subsequent political leaders if they

fail to make Ghana a better place for us and our children's children

God bless Ghana

Nii Amon

niiiamon07@yahoo.com.

Columnist: Amon, Nii