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15.02.2007 General News

Genesis Of The Capital - Accra

Until 1877, when Accra was made the capital of the Gold Coast, Cape Coast, capital of the present day Central Region used to be the capital of the country.

Accra has since been the centre of attraction owing to the enormous role it plays in politics, as the seat of government, industrialisation and a marketing centre for both local and foreign goods.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), which was known as the Accra Town Council in 1898 was established under the Town Council Ordinance of 1894.

The Accra Municipal Council, the forerunner of the current AMA, was established in 1898. The membership of its council was not elected but nominated.

It was in 1943 that a new Ordinance set up elected town councils for Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi/Takoradi and Cape Coast.

A new constitution however came into being in 1944 after the Accra Town Council had existed for 46 years with an elected membership of seven, five appointed by the government and two by the Ga Native Authority.

With the constitution again revised in September 1953, the membership of the Council rose from 14 to 31 to form the Accra Municipal Council. This time, there was a 27 representation for the wards and four for the Traditional Authority.

After the nation had attained its Independence in 1957, an amendment to the 1953 Constitution was made and this removed traditional representation from the council completely.

This was followed by the Local Government Act 1961, (Act 54). Accra was thus one of the 58 District Councils to be created under the New Local Government System to promote efficiency in the administrative machinery of the council and to meet the ever-pressing demand for amenities and essential services by the rate payers.

Six area councils which are now known as the AMA Sub-Metros were created under the new system namely Ablekuma, Ashiedu Keteke, Kpeshie, Okaikoi, Ayawaso and Osu Klottey with semi-autonomous status in June 29, 1961 after Accra had been declared a City Council.

The first President of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah declared Accra as a city in 1961 and in March 1963, it was changed into Accra-Tema Development Corporation.

The Accra City Council was dissolved in August 1964 after the Greater Accra Region was created and a special commission was appointed.

This new commission was made administratively responsible for the Accra-Tema City Council with its Executive Chairman appointed in the same year.

On August 3, 1982, a three-man committee called the 'Triumvirate' was appointed by the Provisional National Defence Council to take over the administration of the Accra City Council as an interim Management Committee.

They were Mr Enoch T. Mensah, who was the Metropolitan Secretary and the Executive Chairman of the Council, Mr C. S. Botchway and Wing Commander Osabu-Kle (then Squadron Leader).

The 'Triumvirate' assumed office on August 5, 1982 with Mr Mensah in charge of Finance, Mr Botchway in charge of food evacuation from the hinterland and the clearing of choked drains and collection of refuse and Wing Commander Osabu Kle assisted by Mr George Quaynor-Mettle, the then Deputy Secretary in charge of Traffic and Transportation.

Some Chief Executives

Over the years, many people have assumed the leadership of the AMA. A few of them are Mr E. C. Quaye who served from 1961 to 1964, G. W. Amarteifio, from 1979 to 1980, the longest serving mayor, Enoch T. Mensah, from 1983 to 1991, Mr Nat-Nuno Amarteifio, from 1994 to 1998, Mr Samuel Adoquaye Addo and Mr Solomon Ofei Darko who was fired on January 14, 2002 and currently, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri-Blankson.

Current Mayor

Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri-Blankson is the present Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) of the AMA. Since he assumed office in 2002, he had been instrumental in finding a permanent place for hawkers who sell rather dangerously on the streets and pavements of Accra through the construction of a Pedestrian Shopping Mall.

He has been one of the bold MCE's to take the decision to decongest the streets of Accra of hawkers and to find a permanent solution to the problem of street hawking in the city centre.

A former Mayor

“Managing Accra is like fire fighting, everyday comes with its own crisis, it is difficult to plan ahead and even if you plan, it is difficult to implement”.

This is how Mr Nat Nuno-Amartefio, a former Mayor of Accra in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) era described the running of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Nuno-Amarteifio said during his tenure of office, maintaning high levels of sanitation was one of the biggest challenges he and his team faced as a result of rapid rural-urban migration which had more people who had no idea where they were going to sleep, or any income trooping into the city in search of non-existing jobs.

Hawking was therefore the only way out for these ones who through their acitivities generated tonnes of garbage each day.

During his time, the AMA experienced rapid development in infrastructure with the construction and rehabilitation of schools, markets and lorry parks.

The Agbogboloshie mall and market, Makola Shopping Mall, Rawlings Park, Accra City Car Park were all constructed during Mr Nunoo-Amarteifio's era.

According to him, the establishment of the sub-metros, which were six in number, under the decentralisation process was laudable but were financially handicapped and could therefore not carry out most of their mandated duties.

Accra, the capital

The AMA covers 200 square kilometres and lies in the dry Savannah coastal zone of the Southern part of the country, at approximately five and a half degrees north of the equator and less than half a degree west of the Greenwich Meridian.

With a population of about 3.5 million and a daily influx of about 500 more people, administrative and commercial centres, it is regarded as the biggest metropolitan area and also the second largest industrial centre in the country.

Without any doubt, it is the biggest city linked to other countries by an international airport, Kotoka International Airport.

The southern boundary of the metropolis is the Gulf of Guinea from Gbegbegese to the Mukwe Lagoon near the Regional Maritime Academy.

The boundary continues along the Maritime Academy to join the Accra-Tema road to the Nungua Police Barrier. It turns right to the Ashiaman Road to the Railway Overhead Bridge on the Motorway and continues to Mile 92/2.

From here, the boundary continues to the IPS-ATC Road, behind the Great Hall to Kisseman and Christian Village to join the Accra-Nsawam Road at the Achimota Aayeayeefee Street junction and through the Aayeayeefee street to the bridge over the Achimota Stream, then turns right along the stream to the high-tension lines to the Achiwilage Awoshie Hills and turns left again along the hills to the metropolis.

From here, it turns left along the swampy area and crossing the Motorway to the bridge on the Sakumono Stream on the Accra-Winneba Road .

• Reference: Accra, Capital of Ghana published by the Former members of the Interim Management Committee of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.

Story by Naa Lamiley Bentil