Ordinarily, one would expect a cement factory to be sited in the heart of the industrial district of a heavily populated or congested urban settlement like Ghana’s capital city of Accra. In this instance, however, we are told that a cement factory is about to take shape in one of the finest and most exclusive suburban neighborhoods and communities in the Greater-Accra Metropolitan Area. The members of the Residential Association of McCarthy Hill say that they have written and dispatched reams of letters petitioning their National Assembly Representatives or Member of Parliament to consider having the cement factory relocated away from their community in a bid to averting the sort of health hazard and environmental pollution that the operation of a cement factory is likely to bring, all to no avail. They have therefore decided to take their grievances to the very powerful Parliamentary Appointments Committee (PAC), when the MP for their constituency, Ms. Tina Mensah, who is also the Deputy Health Minister-Designate, appears for vetting approval sometime this month of June.
They want the members of the country’s legislature to quiz their local representative as to why their concerns are not being met or “positively” responded to (See “McCarthy Hill Residents to Petition Appointment C’ttee Against Tina Mensah” 3News.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/7/21). It may not be such an easy sell, because we are also informed that the decision to site or locate the Empire Cement Ghana Limited factory in the McCarthy Hill Community or neighborhood is part of the pivotal One-District, One-Factory national development agenda of the Akufo-Addo-led government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP). People all over the country have been crying for the creation of jobs with livable wages; and this clearly appears to be what the “# Fixing It!” Akufo-Addo Administration intends to religiously do.
But there is a catch here, as it were, which is that if, indeed, the residents of McCarthy Hill have been able to successfully petition the administrators of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to halt the construction of the aforementioned cement factory, then there must really exist a problem here. But another curious problem here is the fact that we are also informed that a letter written by the EPA authorities and dated August last year failed to halt the construction of the intended cement factory, which already appears to be under construction at full blast, for we are also informed that already some three huge silage facilities have been lifted into the skyline of the McCarthy Hill Residential Community. What therefore clearly seems to be the most effective way of halting the construction of the Empire Cement Ghana Limited factory is for Mr. Eddy Neequaye Quaynor, President of the McCarthy Hill Residents’ Association, to take their grievances to a legitimately constituted court of the land. And just why as of yet, they have apparently not decided to do so is what any critically thinking Ghanaian citizen ought to be asking.
Is this because Mr. Quaynor and the members of the McCarthy Hill Residents’ Association are simply afraid of being told the truth by a judge or magistrate of a legitimately constituted court of law? You see, Jubilee House, that is, The Presidency, is not the court of last resort, not the least bit if you, the Dear Reader, were to ask me. Which may very well explain why Jubilee House has apparently not been able to register the desired impact on this front. Plus, the fact that we also informed that the exact site where the alleged cement factory is being lifted up towards the skyline also used to be the very site of the Panbrose Salt Industries, clearly and strikingly implies that the owners of the Empire Ghana Limited cement factory may very well have legitimately acquired the license and proprietary right to go ahead with their project. If the preceding observation has validity, then there may be little to absolutely nothing that the plaintiffs could do about it.
Knowing Ghana’s political culture for what it inescapably is, it well appears that the “Halt Petition” by the McCarthy Hill Residents’ Association may very well be a veritable act of political vendetta furiously launched by some members of the main opposition National Democratic Congress who are hell-bent on stalling Nana Akufo-Addo’s auspicious and unprecedented One-District, One-factory national industrial development agenda, so that they could gain some prime electioneering campaign grist or traction with which to launch their palpably faltering campaign in the leadup to the 2024 electioneering campaign season. So far, the ruling New Patriotic Party government well appears to be on course to winning a third term in office because glaring shortcomings and all, the Akufo-Addo Government is still pretty much in an unrivaled class of its own, when it comes to the handling of the people’s business.
Which is also why National Democratic Congress’ bigwigs like Mr. Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, the latter party’s National Chairman, has allegedly resorted to the sponsorship of terrorist activities as the only surefire means of having the NDC’s Looting Brigade returned to Jubilee House in the foreseeable future. Fat chance, I say!
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By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York
June 8, 2021
E-mail: [email protected]