There are many ugly faces of democracy! One of them paradoxically, is the vote. It can render many a politician totally ineffectual.
Once the fear of losing the vote grips the politician, there isn't much that politician can achieve. That is what we are currently noticing in the way our cities are being managed.
The two big cities of Ghana, Accra and Kumasi, have drawn up programmes of decongestion and environmental sanitation.
They started implementing these programmes earlier in the year. Along the way, they were encountering the hue and cry of people who felt they were getting a raw deal in the exercises. All of a sudden, things take a dramatic political turn and now that's the hottest stuff in town. Everybody is talking about AMA and KMA.
Some people are blaming them for high-handedness, callousness and implementing their programmes without due regard for peoples' welfare.
Then the Ministry of Local Government steps in and countermands all their decisions. Now the earlier successes of the decongestion exercises are being reversed. Impunity is taking the place of social responsibility. Scapegoats are being hunted. And all for what?
For the vote.
Because some people say if the AMA and KMA are not stopped, the government would lose support, and consequently votes. The question we want to put across is this: Doesn't the government have a programme or policy of urban renewal?
If it doesn't, then that's a sure vote loser because what AMA and KMA are doing should have been a subset of that.
If they were, the government and its decentralised units would have been speaking with one voice! So what next?