Feature Article of Sat, 12 Aug 20173
Fighting filth, shall we try custom and chiefs?
In the capital, the Ga state law against drumming and noise making is better observed and enforced than the republic’s law against filth and littering. In fact, the sanitation laws are observed more in disobedience than obedience.
I have written and repeatedly spoken about this default violation and non-enforcement of our sanitation laws as central government sadly ritually wastes money doing everything to rid the city of filth except focus on enforcing the laws that should guarantee the desire.
Not long ago some raised issues with the declaration by Manhyia Palace that resulted in shops closing and residents of Kumasi staying indoors as part of rites for Nana Afia Serwaa Kobi Ampem II’s funeral. I did point to the Constitution to show that what happened, like the annual ban on drumming and noise making here in Accra, is or may not only be lawful but sanctioned by the Constitution to the extent that Article 11 lists the laws of Ghana to include “the rules of customary law…which by custom are applicable to particular communities in Ghana.’’
I dedicate my take this morning to proposing in addition to the republic’s sanitation laws, a resort to our chiefs to enforce customs against filth and in the protection of the environment. The Ga state is commencing the celebration of Homowo which is preceded by its ban on drumming and noise-making.
The problem though may be what the Council of State’s Dr. Nii Kotei Dzani notes in a statement he issued ahead of the celebration thus:“It troubles my spirit to note that we are celebrating Homowo this year without a Ga Mantse unanimously accepted by all of our Chiefs and people.
For this reason, I urge us all to use this celebration to build bridges not divisions, to extend helping hands not fists of fury, to speak words of love not words of anger, and to drive to shame all those who profit from sowing seeds of discord amongst our people.
It is time for the true sons of the Ga-Dangme State to rise up and defend the integrity of the State. Now is the time for us as a people, to close ranks, bind together, and demonstrate the virtues of unity, hard work and industry which fuelled our ancestors to flee tyranny and to establish a dominant and prosperous civilization at Ayawaso.”
Once again, Parliament is reported to have voted huge amounts to keep Accra clean. The Mayor, like those before him, has been talking about this fight being central to his regime. May be we should try a resort to the chiefs and customs to avoid entrenching waste management as a euphuism for corruption.
Just too much is reportedly spent annually in this area with very little or zero results to show. If the laws of the republic have not worked, if all the money and efforts have not yielded results, just may, the law of the chiefs may work.