Mr. President you are about to fail on this ‘Accra, cleanest city in Africa’ promise

Mr. President you are about to fail on this ‘Accra, cleanest city in Africa’ promise
Source: Ghana|Ebenezer Annang|Annan­­_eben@yahoo.com
Date: 17-05-2019 Time: 10:05:59:am
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File photo: Church of Pentecost clean-up exercise

Your Excellency, this is one of the many letters I have written to you since you became the President of our great nation, Ghana.  I don’t know if your handlers made them available for your read. My last article although not directly addressed to you was titled: “Medical Drones- Yes, But No stakeholder Engagement.”

 There is a whole lot of literature written about the sanitation situation of our dear country and I am not about to bore you on those data. My intention is to bring to your attention my frank views about what is failing and offer some suggestions.

A newly created Municipality, Ablekuma Central together with the Church of Pentecost Latebiokoshie district held what they called an “Environment Care campaign” on May Day. As a citizen and a shareholder to the vision of a cleanest Capital Accra, I participated in the clean up exercise.

The church cleaned the Zongo Market area and some parts of the community of Nmenmeete  and Latebiokoshie electoral areas. It was a massive exercise of clearing chocked gutters and other debris .The showering rains was not deterrent of our national assignment of keeping our community clean.

The Zoomlion Van was on hand carting the filth and debris collected. The availability of the zoomlion van avoided the usual zero work done when the rubbish returned into the gutters.

  My project management study and training has enlightened my understanding to the high cause of failure of many social and other national development interventions on our developmental space.

 In fact,  the Project Management Professional ( PMP) body  noticing the urgent need,  included project  “stakeholder Management”  as a new Knowledge Area in their  5th Edition of the  Project Management Body of Knowledge( PMBOK) released in 2013.

My point exactly, your Excellency  is that, only  the Municipal Boss,  Madam Mariama Amui  was present till  the completion and  addressed  the church gathering . However,  at one point, the Assemblyman  for Nmenmeete was present and got lost sooner before the completion of the clean up exercise, the MP we got to know  from his Special Assistant had just landed from a travel outside  the country and  could not be available.


Again, one big surprise was that - the people in the communities of these electoral areas – Nmenmeete and Latebiokoshie were not available to support the clean up exercise!

We can’t blame the communities fully. It was the responsibility of the local government  including the Assemblymen to engage the communities  by using  public address system or any other  effective medium to rally the communities which are stakeholders of  the ‘community service call” prior to the event.

To say that there was a Bulletin announcement in front of the Municipal Office is a nonchalant approach and a show of lack of creativity to the fight against filth in our communities when we have a vision to achieve in mind.

 Sir, I heard the Minister in charge of sanitation and Water Resources read from a different hymn book from what you have been singing during her time for the Meet the Press Series on sanitation. In your recent discussion with a civil society group, you reiterated your point of achieving a “Cleanest Accra” in your first term. I must say I see her supposition sign that smacks of playing the normal political games with us.

When the Sanitation and Water Works Ministry was carved out from the Local government and Rural Development Ministry some of us thought that perhaps some bold attempt at confronting the sanitation challenge head on had surfaced.

  Sir, the apparent lack of  verifiable clear-cut  role out program and non availability of  metrics  –  to gauge  deliverables and milestones of  the project/ program activities   using a  smart approach  is making people like  me conclude  that  Accra  as the  cleanest Capital  City is not   achievable in your term. That, to me, is a great worry.  

Your Excellency, To reach your vision, of  an Accra being  the cleanest Capital  city and by extension  achieving  the Sustainable Development Goal six (6) as established by the United Nations, it will take more than a political rhetoric  like for instance making available  resources in a timely,  conscious and well intentioned manner.

  Mr. president , in my view, we have to do things differently and collaboratively - not what has been the status quo and hasn’t work  for the past 62 years of nationhood, especially in  an atmosphere of a highly charged  partisan country  where every positive national assignment and interest is  seen with  partisan political lenses to the detriment of  national development.

 As a father for all, the onus then lies on your government to find a way to engage all opposition political parties to rally their base to the national call. In this way, they will not only look at the least opportunity to criticize the failure of policies but will feel a part to the Ghanaian agenda.

Mr. President, if the other religious bodies and chiefs who have huge following could put action to words  and follow the good steps of the church of  Pentecost  by supporting the drive to bring change to our communities where they operate  we will be on the path to achieving same.

The media should continue setting the agenda on the  sanitation and environmental care , civil society groups  should help brainstorm  and pile pressure, the  academia, student groups  as well  as  all well  meaning Ghanaians should put their  shadows to the wheel  to the national course.

Your Excellency, I see the challenge of sanitation in a three prong areas: public awareness/ public education, inputs/resources and  implementation / enforcement of by-laws. The Local Government and Rural Development and other associated ministries ought to work closely with the Sanitation Ministry to achieve this ambition, not just in press releases and statement but demonstrating   commitment in action.

 If the same zeal and enthusiasm with which people are organized and coordinated for keep fit and Exercise sessions by politicians across could be galvanized in same manner, the much needed literate force would be nurtured for cleaner Ghanaian communities.

  Mr. President,  I keep hearing the reintroduction of  “Tankassi /Sama-Sama” at least throughout the  last five  of the  4th  republican regime  but never seems to get operationalised. I believe when a properly trained sanitation Guards are set loose on our communities to help enforce the Sanitation By-Laws, and engender a well -literate society that is ready to care and protect the environment and communities, it will  go a long way  to help us achieve our goals.

In the past  administration, there was something called ‘Sanitation Day’ marked every first Saturday of every month which often gave a public announcement on the media  and  key political actors often taking  part in the exercise. This seems to have been sidelined to a low profile status.

Your Excellency, what I noticed is that on Sanitation Days, anyone that opens a shop around   Abossey Okai and kaneshie before the stipulated time of opening is arrested by the local government guards for flouting a regulation and charged with a fine. In other not to be at the wrong side of the law, no one opens and no cleaning is also done.

Your Excellency, I wish  further, to request that the Local Government Service  deploy  a more  innovative  ways  of engaging its  staff at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly (MMDA)  levels with focus on the subject  matter by  offering  focused  professional  training and provide resources timely to help drive  down the  much needed change in our local governance system for national development.

By this, there should be performance contract and metrics to gauge performance levels, professional training and application of project management practices and techniques which will could be deployed in their day to day activities for the benefit of the communities they operate.

Your Excellency, cleanliness is said to be an attitude of both a culture and a mindset. Therefore, if those driving  the agenda constantly take opportunity of every space offered them to be visible in their engagement with the communities and  demonstrate   focus  in my view,  your vision- our shared vision of an “Accra as the cleanest City in Africa in a ‘Ghana Beyond Aid”’ era can be achieved.

Ebenezer Annang, a Community advocate

Annan­­_eben@yahoo.com

 


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