The season for political showpiece is here.  That time of an election year where banners, bill boards, posters and buntings featuring political aspirants cloud our public spaces.

The presidential and parliamentary candidates make a show of their faces and their political colours using those forms of media. 

As they aim to catch our attention, reminding us that they are vying for our votes, I have been wondering if for the capital in particular, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) is seeing what some of us have already sighted. 

Outdoor media

Are there any guidelines made available to the political parties to help direct them on the use of outdoor media? We are talking about creating a beautiful capital and perhaps beautiful cities and towns across the country. 

One has moaned a lot of times, about the litter we find around which is impeding the strive to make our communities clean and tidy. One certainly does not need an add on by political aspirants who are here today as they canvass for votes and would be gone tomorrow never to be seen again once they win the election.

Unfortunately, the indiscriminate pasting of posters, coupled with billboards cited haphazardly in our communities is quite unsightly. They contribute to littering our environment. Already, street light poles and dividing walls separating some dual carriage roads have been dressed up with posters of all shades belonging to political aspirants.

Out there, the aim may be to create awareness by the quickest means. That may seem good for the candidates and their assigns as they seek to publicise to their constituents by the easiest and most visible means. What seems to be happening currently is that as one person starts posting, other competing aspirants also come along and start pasting their pictures and present a splash of party colours and the cycle goes on. 

Local authorities

The local authorities should help save communities by stopping such indiscriminate litter of public spaces with advertising. The actions of the political aspirants are a nuisance to the environment. 

The bye-laws as to how people use such public spaces should be made known and then strictly applied by the Assemblies. Perhaps timely reminders should be going out before we have an avalanche of the litter as we near December 7 2020.

Blocking of views 

Littering of the environment aside, the uncalculated positioning of bill boards and banners of aspirants in our communities can be a nuisance to drivers as they approach intersections. I have seen at least a couple of bill boards cited very close to some intersections leaving drivers to literally stretch out their necks to see if their way is clear.

Yes, much as one would like candidates to market themselves well enough to their constituents, the medium they are using to advertise themselves on electricity light poles, trees and shrubs along ceremonial streets and other public spaces are not the way to go. The Assemblies, that is, metropolitan, municipal and district, have enough time to either direct or take measures to stop this improper conduct.

What is even disturbing, and shows apathy by the aspirants is that long after the election is over, posters and sometimes billboards are left standing. Nobody goes back to remove them neither do the Assemblies follow up otherwise they would not be left there. There are some such billboards from the 2016 election still in place in the west of Accra that I have sighted.

It is not too late for the Assemblies to act with a little over two months to go for the December 7, polls. The safety of drivers where billboards and banners are blinding their way should be of concern. Similarly, the lineup of posters on walls, electricity poles, trees and shrubs in public places should not be allowed for the sake of cleanliness of the environment.

Admittedly, this is not the first time this issue is being brought to the attention of the Assemblies. However, it may be the first time a suggestion to make some income through the levying or surcharging for improper siting of street advertising as a deterrent for the future.  

Strict regulation of indiscriminate advertising in this season of political activism is necessary. The Assemblies should come to the rescue of communities littered with street advertising.

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The writer can be contacted via email: vickywirekoandoh@yahoo.com