Kumasi, March 4, GNA- Vice President Alhaji Mahama on Saturday led a team of Ministers to join Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II and officials of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) in a massive clean-up of the country's second largest city.
The beauty of Kumasi, which prides itself as the "Garden City" of Ghana, is waned by mounting problem of poor sanitation and as early as 0700 hours anxious citizens were seen busily cleaning up their surroundings and desilting choked gutters.
The exercise organised by the KMA, was the second massive clean-up exercise to be held in the country after Accra, in which the Vice President took an active part.
Vice President Alhaji Mahama dressed in blue jeans and a yellow T-shirt and a cap of the KMA, with the embossment "Keep the City Clean" and the Asantehene addressed a large gathering at the New Tafo Market. Alhaji Mahama said the exercise was part of the efforts of the Government to conscientise Ghanaians about the need to nurture the habit of cleanliness on daily basis.
He said Government was spending billions of cedis on drugs to combat malaria, cholera, typhoid and other communicable diseases, which could have been prevented through environmental cleanliness. "The whole exercise is about the health of our people. A healthy nation is a prosperous nation. A sick nation has a sick economy," he said, attracting prolonged cheers from the people, mainly traders. Vice President Mahama said cleaning up the environment was not the sole responsibility of Central Government but the collective efforts of all Ghanaians.
"Government cannot line up your pockets with money, but if we keep a healthy environment we shall be fit to produce and generate wealth," he said.
Vice President Mahama said the immense tourists attractions of Kumasi were being undermined by filth, explaining that no tourists who came to Kumasi to see the city engulfed by filth or got afflicted by malaria or any environmentally related disease would like to come back again.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu observed that the unsanitary conditions of Kumasi was very embarrassing to him, especially when investors visited the area as a follow-up to his investments trips abroad.
"It is not Government who should clean our city for us. We have to help in our own small way," he said.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said: "If we fall sick due to poor sanitary conditions, it is not Government who will give us the money to go to hospital. Government will not treat you. You have to treat yourself." By 0800 hours, the Vice President flanked by Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Samson Kwaku Boafo, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Charles Bintin, Madam Patricia Appiagyei, KMA Chief Executive, other Ministers of State and Members of Parliament, joined residents at Kaase, Ahodwo, Ahinsan and Amakom to desilt gutters. Vice President Mahama also addressed butchers at the Kumasi Abbatoir, where commercial activities had come to a standstill due to the exercise.
He promised to link the butchers to their counterparts in Botswana to recycle the waste they generate to earn them more money. Nana Owusu Yaw Ababio, the Chief of Kaase, appealed to the city authorities to desilt the Subin River to save the area from persistent flooding. 04 March 06