Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt says those who claim that the existence of Old Fadama popularly known as Sodom and Gomorrah caused the June 3 floods are pedaling falsehood.
He said the residents in no way contributed to the floods, adding that “the impression we have created which is a false impression is that the existence of Old Fadama caused the floods. That is a lie, a bare face lie”.
According to him, the floods are being blamed on the existence of the slum to “justify the reckless irresponsibility of public officials”.
Mr Pratt’s comments are in relation to a demolition exercise the Accra Metropolitan Assembly undertook last week at Old Fadama popularly known as Sodom and Gomorrah.
Officials said the demolition exercise at Accra’s biggest slum has become necessary to put an end to floods in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
About 50,000 people are said to have lost their properties during the demolition exercise.
Although the Chief Executive of the AMA Alfred Oko Vanderpuije says the residents were given enough time to relocate, many are of the view that the manner in which the exercise took place was improper.
The Mayor defended the exercise saying it is the greatest life-saving decision taken after independence and that it was long overdue.
Some of the displaced residents after the demolition exercise.
But Mr Pratt speaking on Radio Gold’s programme ‘Alhaji and Alhaji’ said “what has happened in Old Fadama is disgraceful, completely disgraceful and unjustifiable”.
He said the floods cannot be blamed on the existence of the slum because authorities ignored directives which could have prevented the June 3 floods.
Portions of a confidential memo dated May 15, 2002 and addressed to the Ministry of Works and Housing read by Mr Pratt cautioned of a possible flood and fire if steps were not taken to desilt the Odaw drain.
The letter also called for a reconstruction of the drain. It indicated that its floor should have been v-shaped rather than the current flat form in which it is.
Authorities ignored this directive “and we are pulling down houses in Sodom and Gomorrah how does that make the v-shape which is required in order to make sure that the water can flow.
“When you go and pull down houses in so-called Sodom and Gomorrah does it change the shape of the storm drain? It doesn’t”, he said.
He believes that if anyone must be blamed for the floods, it should be officials who had access to this letter but did nothing about it.
“Our officials are irresponsible, they are lazy, they don’t work, they don’t think and when there is a disaster they try to divert attention on poor innocent citizens so that they can get away with their crimes against all of us.
“Old Fadama is not the cause of the recent floods, if we had worked with the audit report nothing of that sort would have happened”, he said.
Member of the New Patriotic Party, Phillip Langdon who was also a panel member on the programme said “to blame a resident of Sodom and Gomorrah on the June 3 floods is wicked”.
He said the intensity with which the rains fell could have caused floods and that the only way the floods could have been avoided was for the drains to be desilted.
Once this was not done, blaming residents of Sodom and Gomorrah is out of place.
In his view, the AMA demolished the building at the slum not to prevent floods but to “subject people to pain and anguish” and it takes pride in doing this.