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Statement presented by obuasi ministers association

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.

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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

to serve.

3. Ladies and Gentlemen: our next MCE should be someone who knows

Obuasi very well, understands the problems of the city well and has

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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

process.

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

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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.

Conclusion

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.

Source: obuasi ministers association

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