The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Ellembelle Constituency of the Western Region claims President Akufo-Addo is intending to inspect non-existent roads during his tour of the region.
Mr Kwesi Hanson, the Constituency Communication Officer of the party in Ellembelle told Nana Yaw Adenpa on Accra100.5FM’s morning show Ghana Yensom on Tuesday, 18 August 2020 that the Gwira Aiyinase and Wiawso roads to be inspected by the President during his tour, do not exist.
According to him, there is absolutely no sign of construction activity or heavy equipment and machinery for such purpose on that stretch, thus, wondered which road the President would be inspecting.
Also, Mr Hanson said the Esiama-Nkroful road which the President is to cut sod for, has already been under construction since the presidency of Mr John Mahama.
He said the road was awarded to a Chinese contractor in 2015 and the company started groundworks on the stretch.
“In fact, he was given mobilisation and started the work; he started the bridges and gutters”, he told Adwenpa, insisting: “In fact, most of the bridges are done”.
He said the President, upon assumption of office, froze all road contracts in the region, including that particular stretch for an audit to be carried out by Kroll & Associates, but nothing untoward was found.
Mr Hanson said former President John Mahama already cut the sod for construction to start on that project, stressing that work actually started on it. “We have the videos and pictures to show”.
“So, if you have asked contractors to go back to work, what is the need for another sod-cutting?” he wondered.
Below is an earlier statement released by the Ellembelle NDC:
Monday, August 17, 2020
NDC COMMUNICATION SECRETARIAT – ELLEMBELLE DISTRICT
ISSUES SURROUNDING THE VISIT OF PRESIDENT AKUFFO ADDO IN NZEMALAND
Our attention has been drawn to a statement issued by the Ellembelle District Assembly to the effect that the President of the Republic, Nana Akufo-Addo, will be visiting the people of Ellembelle to inspect construction work on the road linking Esiama to Nkroful, the District Capital of Ellembelle, and commission a 12-classroom block at the Nkroful Agricultural SHS campus, on Tuesday, 18 August 2020.
From there, the president will continue to Evalue Ajomoro Gwira to inspect an ongoing road project linking Gwira Aiyinase and Wiawso, and also cut the sod for a new market to be constructed in Gwira Aiyinase. On the same tour, he will cut the sod for the commencement of the construction of a Market Centre at Gwira Aiyinase.
While the president has the discretion and prerogative to commission any completed government project or cut the sod for the commencement of a new one, there are a few issues for which the people of the communities he is touring would want him to address.
First, we would be grateful for answers to a few questions that have created controversy around the uncompleted road linking Esiama to Nkroful. This was a project that was awarded on contract in 2016, under the NDC. At a stage in its construction, after the NDC lost power, the current administration ordered the contractor to evacuate the site. It is curious that the contract was re-awarded to the same contractor by this government, as the 2020 election drew closer.
We would like the president to answer the following questions:
1. The road project has delayed for 4 years after the NDC left office. Was the initial contract terminated? If yes! Why?
2. What is the reason for the needless delay? Is it for lack of funds for a 28.5km road? Or is it a deliberate attempt by the government to gain political advantage in an election year?
3. Who is paying for the contract? Is it the government or, as reports suggest, is it being funded by Ghana Gas Company?
4. So, if Ghana Gas Company is now the entity sponsoring the Esiama-Nkroful road rather than the government, based on what moral principle did your government accept financial help from that company, given that, your Deputy Minister of Energy, Hon. Joseph Cudjoe (MP for Effia Constituency), recently said that an NPP government would never have sited that gas infrastructure facility on Nzema soil, if the NPP was the party in power at the time?
So, that suggests that Nzemas do not deserve that infrastructure, even though the oil resources are located on Nzema Soil.
Secondly, the president is on record as having pledged, on several occasions, to outlaw illegal mining - also known as Galamsey - from the country. It is in fulfilment of this pledge that he placed a ban on illegal mining and ordered the arrest of small-scale miners operating illegally in several parts of the country. It is in the same vein that he ordered the seizure of excavators and affiliated machinery, which were being used in such illegal mining operations.
Coincidentally, the Nkroful town used to be a very active site for illegal mining operations, until the ban. As a result, Nkroful and the surrounding settlements have suffered from irreversible environmental degradation.
It is worthy to note that shortly after the imposition of the ban on illegal mining by the president, the residents of Nkroful noticed signs of the return of Galamsey in the locality. Vast portions of the surrounding landscape, including areas that were very close to the school campus, suffered massive devastation from the renewed Galamsey activities, to such an extent that even parts of the NASS school campus itself, were not spared the destruction.
It later turned out that, the Chief Executive of Ellembele District, Hon. Kwasi Bonzoh, himself a native of the community and an old student of the school, was actively involved in the renewed illegal mining activities.
Indeed, the Ellembele Constituency Chairman of the NPP, Hon Akainyah, a.k.a Atito, raised concerns over the DCE's active involvement in Galamsey and even compared him to the Coronavirus. This is a fact that can be confirmed from a radio interview he granted and which is a record that anybody can verify!
Even more amazing is the fact that, some of the excavators that were seized from the illegal miners by the "Operation Vanguard" anti-galamsey task force, found their way into the possession of Hon Kwasi Bonzoh. It was with those excavators that he engaged in his illegal mining endeavour.
Considering that, many illegal miners have either lost their livelihoods because of the ban, or have been thrown in jail for flouting it, we believe His Excellency the President, should investigate this case of blatant disregard for presidential orders by Hon Bonzoh – who is incidentally the local representative of the presidency – and take punitive action against what is a clear case of conflict of interest.
We believe that any action short of that would belittle the honour associated with the commissioning of the new classroom block.
Again, on the president's itinerary is the schedule to commission a "Community Mining Programme". It is curious to note that the Minerals Commission has no legal type of mining it describes as "community mining'. We are wondering if this is not just a clever way for the president to officially endorse galamsey – which is still very active in the Evalue Ajomoro Gwira enclave of the Western Region.
Finally, the president's itinerary indicates that he will "inspect an ongoing road project linking Gwira Aiyinase and Wiawso". This activity sounds strange because there is absolutely no sign of a contractor's presence on site. Indeed, there is neither a single piece of equipment nor material on the site at the time of going to press, so, what exactly is the president going to inspect?
Is someone deceiving the president to show presence in the community for the sake of politics, or the government is pretending it is working on a road project that doesn't exist?
At the tail end of the statement announcing the president's tour, was an interesting footnote which reads like this:
"Remember that come 7th December, it's all about the Thanksgiving Vote for President Akufo Addo and Hon. Catherine Abelema Afeku". That is a telling conclusion!
We believe that the president's "Thanksgiving" tour should have been scheduled right after he won the election in 2016, to show gratitude to the people of Evalue Ajomoro Gwira, not when he needed their votes once again.
The district assembly concept was introduced to bring development to the doorstep of the people, thus making the assembly the agent of development at the local level. For this reason, a number of resource mobilisation opportunities are available to the assembly to tap so as to ensure that their core mandate of development, among others, is fulfilled.
These include but not limited to taxes, levies, toll, donations from NGOs, companies, government institutions, traditional authorities, philanthropist among others. The district assembly common fund which is disbursed quarterly within every year is also available to the assembly to carry out its developmental activities so as to benefit the communities under its jurisdiction. It is therefore imperative to state that out of the total amount of the common fund released to the district, only 5% is giving to the Member of Parliament for his activities. 95% of the common fund is, therefore, available to the District Chief Executive for development.
The district assembly lead by the DCE is responsible for the development of basic infrastructure and the provision of services among the various communities in the district. The provision and maintenance of feeder roads, schools, clinics/health centres, portable water, electricity and street light are part of the basic infrastructure and services communities under the assembly should benefit from. It is therefore intriguing that with all the resources available to the DCE, most communities’ do not have these basic amenities for their daily livelihood and comfort.
Nkroful and Teleku Bokazo are two critical towns in the Ellembelle District lacking most of these fundamental amenities. These two towns, for example, have not had access to potable water for the past three years. Nkroful is the district capital and Teleku Bokazo is a twin town to Nkroful because of their proximity, therefore, one would have expected that the provision of potable drinking water shouldn’t have been a challenge to these towns.
It is important to note that the Ellembele district assembly on record has not had a presiding member for all these while, therefore assembly members have not been meeting to plan for developmental activities and further appropriate funds to it. All the appropriation and spending is done by the DCE, though inappropriate, one cannot lay hands on any vital projects such as the provision of potable water.
The NPP 2016 election manifesto was titled change, an agenda for jobs signed by Nana Akufo Addo. He reiterated what he said on his campaign platform in 2016 manifesto that, as he travelled the country over the years he saw the pain and sacrifices made by ordinary Ghanaians every day.
#By the young man and woman who, through no fault of their own, have had to drop out of school and cannot find a way out of life’s difficulties.
#By the youth who have worked hard at school, or the university but still cannot find a job when they leave.
#By the husband with a family of four who lost his job two years ago, because his employers had to close down the business due to the high cost of operations.
#By that young woman whose wages can barely cover her transfer fares to and from work and her share of one-bedroom she shares with her a friend. It is for these people that I am running for the president – for ordinary Ghanaians who have been betrayed by a government that does not care. It is to them that my government will be dedicated.
A proper interrogation and assessment of this promise were rooted in job creation which was linked to one District-one Factory. This was sent by the then-candidate Nana Akufo-Addo and on this basis Ghanaians voted for him to be president.
The people of Ellembelle District have been waiting for the fertiliser factory which Nana Addo promised them during his campaign tour in 2016 at Nkroful. For the past three (3) to four (4) years, this promise has not been fulfilled and the people of Ellembelle are so disappointed feel cheated and be deceived by the President and the NPP government.
At the meet-the-press encounter organised on Friday, 13 December 2019, the President peddled highly a mischievous falsehood when he indicated that a coconut oil processing factory has been established in Ellembelle and that over 1,600 jobs have been created for the people of Ellembelle.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Industrialisation hinges on many factors – resource available serving as raw materials – funding capacity. Equipment and machinery for raw materials into finished products. In the case of rural industrialisation, infrastructure also plays an integral part in the process; roads leading to areas where raw materials are harnessed, source of energy (electricity), source of water and other critical social amenities would usually form bases for developing the structure of an industrial enclave, so, Ellembelle for instance the common raw materials available for industrial take-off are Cocoa, Coconut, Fish, Palm oil, Coconut oil and other cash crops such as Rubber cannot be over emphasised under the circumstances.
Ladies and gentlemen,
It will be very suicidal and catastrophic to assume that there can be any industrial setup without considering the aforementioned factors. The oil and gas development within the Ellembelle enclave will justify this agreement. Ghana has to develop the Gas infrastructure through the establishment of the Ghana National Gas Company to provide the industrial setup capable of opening up the energy sector for industrial take off.
To these end, one would wonder how a factory can be established within the enclave without taking into consideration factors that hitherto could propel the smooth take off of the production of coconut oil when, indeed, the investment required has not been offered the capacity required – and that the fundamental structures notably required had not been developed.
Ladies and gentlemen,
One would wonder if a private initiative of an individual can be classified as one of the flagship projects pencilled down for each of the district in the country.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Feanza industrial in the Ellembelle district captured in the president list of factories under one District one factory policy was misplaced and false.
Unfortunately, the president, in his frustration and pretence to let Ghanaians know that he has fulfilled his 1D1F promise, smuggled in Feanza Industrial as one of the factories he has established and that over 1,600 jobs have been created. This is false and a direct insult to the people of Ellembelle. The unemployment situation has been on the ascendency since this government (NPP) took over.
It's quite outrageous and absurd if not shameful for the president to peddle such falsehood about job creation when the people have been impoverished by his stewardship.
Friends of the media, you can verify from the good people of Ellembelle and the management of Feanza Industrial and to attest to the truth that the government has never established any company in Ellembelle district, neither has the government provided any financial to Feanza industrial which has been in existence for Ten (10) years before Nana Addo became president.
“Government has not given me any money. How come my factory has been selected as 1D1F when the Food and Drugs Authority has threatened to close down my factory? How is this possible when the FDA says: 'I am producing poisonous coconut oil product?' How is this possible when someone in your government is preventing the coconut agent from selling the coconut to my factory because he believes I do not belong to the NPP? I have to import oil for my product as a result of this”.
These are the statements coming from the management of Feanza Industrial.
Is it not surprising and so interesting that the President did not include the commissioning of the said established factory (Feanza Oil Industrial) in his itinerary, which is along the same road linking Esiama to Nkroful.
We would like to bring to the attention of the president that if it is indeed the fact that he has established the said factory, he must commission it.
In the wake of this development, we want the government to come again on the establishment of Coconut oil factory, published the names of the over 1,600 people he falsely claimed have been employed and the income taxes accrued as a result of the employment.
We forcefully submit that the president, Nana Akufo Addo lied to the people of Ghana and as a matter of urgency should come out and render an unqualified apology to the people of Ellembelle and Nzemamaanle Traditional Council.
We also call on the council of state to sit the president down and advise Him to desist from such behaviour which denigrates the Presidency.
Thank you for your attention!
God Bless Ghana!
God Bless Nzemamaanle!
God Bless NDC!