Accra Mayor, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vandapuje, left the studios of Joy FM Tuesday, unhappy. This was after panelists on the Super Morning Show threw hard questions at the Mayor, seeking to find out his plans and strategies to solve the numerous sanitation and planning problems the metropolis is befuddled with for decades now.
In protest to the direction of the questions from panelists, he noted “if you are inviting me to a programme and you say Mr Mayor please come, we want to discuss issues about Accra, but now you are going into my evaluation…”
At one point the Mayor stressed to one of the panelists, “I want you to listen to my response very carefully, because it seems you are choosing and using my responses”.
Dr. Alfred Okoe Vandapuje, who said he was invited to the studios to answer questions on the recent fire that flattened shops and properties running into several millions of Ghana cedis, intimated he expected questions specifically on the inferno.
According to the Mayor, investigations into what caused the fire have been initiated.
He explained that the investigations have been necessitated by the recurrent fire incidents within markets in the Accra metropolis and other parts of the country.
Recently, the entire structure of a mechanic shop was razed at Atonsu. A few days later, fire razed the studios of KFM, a Kumasi based radio station.
The AMA boss believes “we need an official report about these fires” even though there may be general ideas about what may have caused the fires.
He revealed the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) is currently on the ground registering traders who have been affected by Sunday’s inferno.
According to him, to restore hope to the affected traders, the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) has been brought in to assist the traders – most likely with loans, to continue with their business.
AMA has also provided an interim re-location market for the affected traders at the Odawna Market at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and the Tuesday Market at Adabraka, according to the Mayor.
He described the fear by some persons that government’s plan for a “complete reconstruction of the market” is aimed at removing the existing traders, as false and an unfortunate perception.
The discussion, however, took on a heated phase when co-host, Nana Ansah Kwao, demanded from the Mayor what the AMA had been doing all these while when he (the Mayor) knew the causes of some of the problems.
To this, the Mayor retorted that the traders and other ‘people’ are also constantly undermining efforts by AMA to solve some of the problems.
Interrogations about the AMA’s evaluation framework, to ensure accountability to the people, flared the discussion further.
Bright Simmons, Director of Development Research at IMANI Ghana, a think tank, who was a guest panelist, suggested there should be a monitoring and evaluation framework at AMA in the form of a charter, clearly mapping out high risk areas or situations that the Assembly can be held accountable for after a period of time.
But the Mayor responded “my brother, what you saying we have already done under the Millennium City Agenda”.
According to the Mayor, his office is always open for information on the Assembly’s plans and strategies, but the panelists thought there should instead be publications (such as the Assembly’s annual reports) on the internet for every tax-payer to access.
Mr Simmons also suggested regular meetings with stakeholders in the city for information exchange.