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19.12.2019 Feature Article

Roads Minister Goes Rogue

Roads Minister Goes Rogue
LISTEN DEC 19, 2019

Wondering why Roads & Highway Minister Kwasi Amoako-Atta went bonkers on Wednesday,

and roared like a lion? Why he caused the arrest of a foreigner believed to be a Turk national and some Ghanaian workers?

And are you still wondering why he seemingly allowed his reflexes to take the better part of him?

Here's why:
Where in the world does a contractor block a portion of a major road to construct a 22-storey building? Mr. Amoako-Atta couldn't believe his eyes-- the sheer impudence displayed by the developers, the level of impunity and the mark of destruction left at the scene-- Airport Residential Area in Accra. All made him mad.

"This nonsense and madness shouldn't be allowed in our country. Which country can this be allowed?" He quizzed as he led a team to demolish a concrete barricade on the road.

Please take note of the location: It didn't happen at Sowutuom.It happened at Airport Residential Area-- an upscale enclave.

One must have the guts to ignore all the complaints by the residents including a court order to end the construction.

So, I think the question Where, should rather be Who the heck is behind this huge project?

Here's a clue: When indiscipline appears to gain foothold in a no-go zone, anger takes siege of a good man. Emotion drives him crazy and goodness certainly loses its cool.

The developers have rendered once motorable road impassable.They've erected the barricade which blocked portions of the road, causing vehicular traffic.

The ground has been left depressed. Excavators or Earthmovers have dug wide trench for the foundation of the 22 storeys structure, resulting deep cracks in some buildings of Association International School which is nearby.

That's not all, the public nuisance the developers cause on a daily basis, the health hazards they pose as a result of the dust residues that pollutes the air. Think about the school children. Think about the little ones in the neighbourhood.

Did the minister go too far on his attack on foreigners?

I should think he deserves my commendation for taking the bull by the horn. But the diatribe seemed to have been misguided. Even though

Mr. Amoako-Atta took aim at indiscipline, in the course of the theatrics he misspoke or misfired. So, yes he did. But he did so out of extreme anger. Especially his attack on foreigners. Mr. Minister I get it. But the bug dwells in our cloaks.

South Africa has lots of gold but no foreigner can go there to do illegal mining (what we call Galamsey). Can anybody go to China or say the United States and do Galamsey? Block a major road? Or pollute water bodies? The laws there work because they enforce them.

Our chiefs, our politicians, our leaders have all conspired against us to help the foreigners to wreak this havoc upon us.

See, the minister serms to have an idea where this is coming from.Mr. Amoako-Atta acknowledges that: "Officials at various sectors are to be very careful and we should carry our national flags high. It's painful. Its painful that some officials...I don't know what it is. Is it money?"

We allow foreigners to take our country for a ride. Money is not the most important thing in this world?"

Well, Mr. Minister I can tell you, the bane of this indiscipline is the craze for money by some selfish Ghanaians. They don't have the nation's interest at heart. It's all about them.

Where does this go?
I don't want to sound perssimist.
But, I'm concerned about the sustainability of this kind of operation. They are usually fiery, albeit they die prematurely. So, where does this go? We've had the likes of this before. Once, we saw residents of Sodom and Gomorrah evicted but they returned after politicians played their pipers.

Mr. Minister is this a nine day wonder?
And do you've the full backing of the presidency? Can you cause heads to roll as you seem to suggest? Mind you indiscplne or impunity won't stop as long as the perpetrators can get away with it.

And don't forget even as we keep wondering what went wrong. There still remain many unanswered questions. Who gave the developers the permit to build in the public road? Who approved of the building plan and who issued it?

There's allegation that city authorities had been compromised and allowed the developers to go ahead with the building. Can you please find out who these officials are?

Class legal action
Meanwhile, residents in the area have threatened to embark on a class legal action against the developers.

I've heard some people remark: why did the people in the neighborhood not act quickly?

Well they did act swiftly and diligently.
But they weren't dealing with ordinary folks. The stubborn wouldn't budge because they probably have strong backing.

Residents say they've never relented on their efforts to ensure that construction at the site ends: "We notified Eenvironmental Protection Agency (EPA), reported the action to the ministry of urban roads, lands department and spatial planning authority, civil Aviation etc.

Yet, the developers continued."
"The police had been on-site and nobody has done anything," a resident says.

Question remains who are behind this project?
Would Civil Aviation know? I think they own that swath of property.

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2019

The author has 376 publications published on Modern Ghana. Column Page: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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