There is chaos in Tarkwa-Nsuaem in the Western region and business is on its knees as residents burn tyres and block roads to draw attention to their deplorable roads.
Members of the community clad in red bands, chanted war songs as they blocked the main road that links their community to Takoradi and the Western-North Region, Ina-Thalia Quansah of JoyNews reported from the Western region.
Billows of smoke from the burning car tyres lightened the otherwise dark atmosphere in the early hours of the morning. Agitated young men kept adding combustible materials to the flames to keep it alive.
The demonstrators who appeared restless held placards, offensive objects, moved in groups and kept torching one road point after another.
The blockade has left travellers stranded and others in a gridlock.
But the affected drivers are not complaining. They share the rationale for the civil unrest as the deplorable state of the road impacts their business negatively. Aside from breaking down their cars often, the traffic situation on that road affects their daily sales as well.
The residents said the dusty nature of their road is affecting their health as they claimed most of the reported cases they take to the hospital are respiratory.
“From 2016, those suffering from dust were 47,216, it increased in 2017 to 50,149 and up again to 58,022 in 2018. We are going to do demonstration until we see machine on this road” said a resident who quoted the information from a medical record captioned “Top Ten Causes of OPD Attendance.”
The residents added that given the number of resources the mineral-rich community provides for the nation, it is sad that their road cannot be fixed. “The government of the day should ask the mining companies to fix the roads,” an agitated youth told JoyNews.
Today’s demonstration which started at 5:30 am is not the first of its kind in that community. The chiefs and people of the town had a similar demonstration seven months ago when about eight students perished on that road.
That demonstration attracted the attention of the Energy Minister who was touring Tarkwa and ANGLOGOLD Ashanti business facilities in the community.
At the said demonstration, the Roads Minister Kwesi Amoaka Atta who visited the community said funds have been released to fix the affected roads. Yet seven months on the situation is persisting.
On his part, Mr Gilbert Asthma, the MCE said he is doing everything within his power to get the roads fixed. Among other things, he said he is rallying the support of the mining companies to address the problem.
Is this demonstration new?
Demonstrations over roads have been increasing in Ghana. Residents of Adenta in the Greater Accra region engaged in a spontaneous and violent demonstration in November 2018 after a speeding taxi driver knocked down a High School student at Adenta. She died on the scene.
Irate residents blocked the roads and burnt tyres that sent a thick dark cloud of smoke into the evening sky. “No more deaths,” they chanted and demanded the completion of stalled footbridges.
However, the police were deployed to stop the protest which they did after clashes with angry residents who pelted them with stones. A mother and her son were both hit by stray bullets from the police.
Dansoman residents demonstrate
In March 2019, some concerned residents of Dansoman, a suburb of Accra, marched the streets to protest over stalled development in the area.
According to them, Saturday’s Ku Y3 Preko has become necessary to register their displeasure because of the lack of development in the area.
Wearing red armbands and bandanas, the protesters marched through the streets from Dansoman Last Stop to the office of the Ablekuma West Municipal Assembly.
Although the turnout was low, participants who spoke to Joy News said they will not rest until their demands are met by government.
“I live around Dansoman Agege and whenever it rains all activities come to a halt because no one can go out and come in. There is garbage all over the place,” a resident said.
Another resident who lives at Dansoman Last Stop said the stalled development makes life unbearable.
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