He was my classmate back at St. James Primary and JHS in Sunyani. For him, the fever that often characterized an impending examination was never his headache.
Thomas (not real name) always had a simple strategy. He went to the exams room with his prepared answers; his own answers. He did not care whether these “already-made” answers stood the probability of meeting the requirements of the unknown questions. His academic performance? Your guess is as good as mine!
Interestingly, this strategy that never saw my friend smile upon seeing his results has been adopted by many of our political leaders. Finding the simplest way of tackling filth in our country has become so hectic a task as civilians escaping war in Syria.
Former President John Dramani Mahama tried battling filth in our cities by introducing the National Sanitation Day (NSD). As I have written about earlier, the Mahama administration did Ghanaians a great disservice with the NSD. Why should you indirectly tell us to litter indiscriminately throughout the month and then use only the first Saturday of the following month to clean?
As of now, we still have not found the antidote to filth in our society. Can you imagine?
As it stands, President Akufo-Addo and his Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Kofi Adda, have still not devised a strategy to tackle Accra’s filth and that of Ghana at large. Is getting our societies clean a hurdle too big for us? It is a very simple task, if you ask me!
Writing under the heading “The simplest question I would have asked Prez Akufo Addo” in June 2017, I reached out to the President by offering concrete ways of getting his dream of Accra becoming the cleanest city in Africa realized. Did he read? What about Mr. Kofi Adda?
“Mr. President, can you enforce a by-law that will get people who litter indiscriminately to pay a fine? Can you let people be responsible for their irresponsible behaviour?” I wrote in the said article. I still stand by this as the only way to see our dream materialized.
Mr. Kofi Adda, speaking in Kumasi in the Ashanti region recently, mentioned that chips are being installed on dustbins and other waste collection equipment in the country to track the disposal of waste. More so, he reiterated government’s efforts in getting huge sums of Ghana Cedis owned by waste collection agencies cleared.
The Sanitation Minister commended the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) registering all tricycles that are involved in waste collection in Kumasi. Indeed, the KMA’s approach is much commendable unlike Mr. Adda’s.
Making use of technology in every aspect of human’s endeavor is great. Mr. Kofi Adda’s chip-in-dustbins cannot be described as good considering our current situation. By all indications, Ghana does not need that approach yet in tackling filth. The greater portion of our attention should be on getting citizens and residents to stop littering. Imposing heavy fines on defaulters should be an order. When we have no waste generated, there will be no need to have chips installed in dustbins.
One question keeps lingering on my mind on government’s attempt at paying monies it owes the collection agencies. Would it ever happen that after we have paid these monies to waste collectors, our streets and communities will be free of filth? If you answered no, you are right.
There will be still heaps of garbage at Kaneshie, Lapaz, Adabraka, Madina, Teshie, Nungua, Mallam, and at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange among other places. The other nine regions would also have their own share of the mountains of garbage. Why? We have decided not to look at the source of filth; waste generation.
I was once asked if I had a personal score to settle with the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) simply because I overly criticize it. The truth is that this body is not fulfilling its mandate, thus, my backlash. AMA’s Sanitation Office is situated at Kaneshie yet Kaneshie is one of the filthiest places in the Greater Accra region. Incompetence is the hallmark of the AMA.
Again, in my June 2017 article, I humbly advised President Akufo Addo on his dream of cleaning Accra. “Mr. President […] if you really have your promise of seeing Accra become a clean city at heart, please, let the AMA stay away from this,” I hinted.
Mr. President, I watched on television how some ministries here in Accra were cleaning their surroundings on Friday morning, March 16 2018. Reports indicated that you had instructed them. I did not get the import of the said news item so well but, Sir, did you really issue that order? Is it going to be every Friday affair? Why should adults who know right from wrong litter their work place?
If we want a clean city, we must begin to rigorously enforce sanitation by-laws. People must go to jail for littering anything. People must be given brooms to sweep from Danquah Circle to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle Interchange, Lapaz to Mallam Junction and Madina to 37 to serve as deterrent to others.
According to Straitstimes.com, “authorities [in Singapore] meted out more than 31,000 fines last year , a seven-year high. The figure was also more than thrice the 8,195 tickets issued in 2012.” Few people find themselves prosecuted on sanitation charges here in Ghana and the time to fill the courts is now.
Mr. President, it appears that you and your Sanitation Minister have woefully failed the examination you sat on getting us a clean city. Like my friend, Thomas, you have submitted ‘answers’ that are really not answers. The good thing, however, is that there is more room for improvement. There is the chance for a re-sit!
By Solomon Mensah|3FM|3news.com|Ghana
The writer is a broadcast journalist with 3FM 92.7. Views expressed here solely remain his and do not, in anyway, reflect his organisation’s editorial policy.