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Kumasi Will Be A Big Village In 5 Years

Kumasi Metropolis has lost credibility and can no longer be labeled as the ‘Garden City’, but a ‘City of Stores’ characterized with filth, dust and mosquitoes. It is sad to acknowledge that these depressing developments are occurring in the absence of the great minds with dedication and patriotism, which once championed the cause and destiny of this historic City. Their departure has given room to the free reign of characters bursting with greed, selfishness and treachery. Nobody thinks any longer about this municipality apart from what goes into their pockets. Humongous stacks of evidence of the deplorable state of the City, are available for any person of sober conscience who has the City at heart and is desperate to know the reasons for the “hows” and “whys”, of the City’s current state.

Contrast the NPP and NDC Administrations

As to be expected, the ugly politics in Ghana has also helped to destroy the City by putting square pegs in round holes in the management of the City, in addition to blatant neglect and disregard of the City in national developmental projects.

The City is gradually turning into a ‘Big Village’ and nobody cares! Those with the task and capacity to lobby for the City now feel comfortable in their shells, forgetting that when the rain falls, it does not fall in one man’s house. Political appointees from the current NDC Administration are snug in the knowledge that their inactivity and disdain for the people of the City, is in tune with their Political Master’s voice, at the helm of affairs! The way these guys see the situation can be summed up as follows:

“What can inhabitants of the City expect if the majority of them continue to be “stupid” enough to support and vote for the NPP, arch enemy of the NDC! As sad as it may be, those political stooges and leaders of the NDC, prefer to close their minds and eyes to the non-partisan and non-ethnocentric developmental stance of the NPP Administration under Ex- President John Agyekum Kuffour. This fair-minded national agenda under the NPP Administration ensured a turnaround of the fortunes of vast areas inhabited by huge constituencies of the National Democratic Congress. These developments were achieved at times, to the disadvantage of Akan communities.

Why is Kumasi the “Garden City” Rapidly Converting to a “City of Stores”? The compulsion of the youth in the City to traditionally opt for trading rather than the achievement academic laurels needs some explanations. The ridiculous contrasts in political attitudes of Governments towards the integration of the predominantly Akan dwellers in the City into the national development agenda, raises numerous questions.

Should Akans continue to delude themselves that their toils on the land (that initiated and continue to contribute to Cocoa Marketing Board funding as a complement to national educational funding policies, are appreciated by an ethnocentric Government ? The huge sacrifices of Akans over the years have helped to support the turning around of the lives of the children of many tribes into Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and other professionals. Not only have the likes of Kobby Acheampong (a Minister in the NDC Party) had the audacity to label an Akan Lawyer and Politician as a “Kookoase Krakye, countless numbers of Akan youngsters are compelled to enter into the trading fraternity unless kind-hearted and resourced parents and uncles step in to support their education. Whilst the country’s Scholarship Secretariat actually exist and continues to receive huge funding from foreign countries to support the education of the country’s youth, the question to ask is, “How many of the youth in the City of Kumasi are aware of the continued existence of the Secretariat or have received any educational support from the institution, to date?

On the contrary, the huge numbers of beneficiaries that continue to be funded through the Scholarship Secretariat are predominantly from Ghanaian minority tribes. These students are typically expected to be well connected to the NDC Party and are found studying in various academic institutions in several countries, around the globe.

A prime reason for the current woes of the NPP is primary due to the Party’s commitment and nerve to propose for “Free Senior High School (SHS) Education”. Significantly, the outcome of this commitment is not intended only for the benefit of the many illiterate and semi-illiterate Akan youngsters. It is rather aimed at entrenching and extending the education rights of the free-loading children of minority tribes in the country with a little spread of the wholesale FREE SHS gravy that they have been enjoying all these years, onto the plates of children of the majority Akan tribe in the country. Interestingly, the NDC has been very adamant that the NPP proposed shift in the national educational policy (that has benefitted untold numbers within the leadership and members of the NDC Party over half a century after Ghana’s independence), is too expensive to implement and that such an unthinkable revision of policy cannot even be contemplated, for at least the next 20years!

The Retrogressive Outlook for Kumasi as a Garden City

Kumasi as the proverbial Garden City, has lost its integrity as most of its planted trees have been cut down; recreational areas have turned into lorry parks; lorry parks and rest areas turned into stores; pedestrian paths converted into stores; football parks turned into commercial buildings; commercial buildings erected on drains(E.g. the Subin River), Rubbish Dump sites sold for residential and commercial houses, school areas supposedly earmarked for computer laboratories turned into stores, all in the name of corruption and greed. The irony of this sad and unbearable situation is that the few great minds that remain in the City, have compromised their wisdom on looming issues, even as everything is falling apart within the City. This situation is not just despicable but very disheartening and nerve-racking. What a travesty, a disgrace to the human mind.

How can we build a City where everybody has to drive to the center- Kejetia – in order to function from morning to the evening? How can the City operate without functional searchlight markets? How can we uphold civility, decency and orderliness in an area (Kejetia) which oversees the passage of over 2 million people a day, without Rest Areas (i.e. Toilet facilities, etc.)? Is it an attempt to denigrate decent people of their civic rights or sheer display of political will and power to affirm non-commitment of a sitting Government to decency and civility for large sections of its people? How come that we have leaders who have time to sell lands for stores that enriches our pockets but have little time to ensure the creation of rest areas for our pedestrians. Great minds indeed!

Does the city have a functional City Planner who liaises with the City Engineer and City Manager to ensure the development of the City? I don’t sincerely think so. Most of these people in high positions have little brains of their own to manage the City or have simply compromised the objectives of their jobs and have become inefficient. Is Kumasi zoned to reflect the various economic activities? Are there functional laws in the area to ensure orderliness? I know that Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has a PLANNED MAP which was paid for with tax payers’ money and I am wondering whether our leaders know where it is and how to implement decisions thereof.

PARKING- do we have legitimate parking areas to augment the traffic flow? Why have we allowed dual carriage roads to be turned into single roads when we have paid Police Service personnel in the City including City Guards, to oversee the proper use of these access routes? Our roads must be redesigned with many service lanes provided in view of our culture to handle the tro-tros and the need to enforce drivers to use them. In respect to parking at Adum Central, we are all aware that most of our parking areas in the City have unfortunately been sold and the only areas left for car parks, are:-

(1) The area behind the Prisons and the current service location behind the Golden Tulip Hotel. We need investors or the Government to build 4 or 5 storey parking lots in these locations, to house over 1000 cars, in a working day

(2) All delivery of goods should be allowed in the Adum Central district, after 6pm.

(3) The road network must be re-assessed and realigned to take care of the current traffic mess in the City.

ROAD NETWORK: – Has anybody observed and seen the road network in Sunyani – Ghana before? There are no car congestions in Sunyani which exemplifies creativity and planning, something which has eluded people in authority in Kumasi. Where are the connecting roads in Kumasi today which used to have better car movement than Accra? Currently, there are traffic jams in every area including Maakro, Santasi, Atonso, Tech, Adum Central, Abuakwa, Suame, Anloga, Asafo, Buokrom and the almighty Kejetia. How do we connect Daaban to Atonso, Tech road to Tafo /Buokrom, etc? Has somebody (including our academic teams at KNUST) thought about developing and enhancing the road network with connecting roads? Where is the KUMASI DEVELOPMENT MAP? We can also develop our roads by re-aligning them into 3 –Lanes Roads by closing one end of the pedestrian walk and using the third lane to reflect and augment the flow of track. Besides, we should ensure that there are enough City Guards and Police personnel at lorry stations to control the flow of traffic i.e. Santasi station, Atonso station, Tafo station, Tech junction, etc.

GOVERNMENT LANDS: – Why did the White man institute the acquisition of Government lands which included those lands bordering all major roads? Take a trip on Prempeh II St. and look at the nature of buildings there; the same height and very organized to conform to the city plan. Take another trip from Airport at Buokrom to Manhyia and assess for yourself how the planning was effected, very despicable and horrible.

Is the nation short of PAINT that we cannot ensure that our buildings are painted as enshrined in our bye-laws. Which Government plot will be left unsold for development if the City decides to build a Big Auditorium? Posterity will surely judge our leaders according to our deeds.

SANITATION: – Where are our Sanitation Inspectors? After 55 years of independence, most of our houses do not have toilet facilities forcing responsible people to defecate and urinate anywhere. I do not know whether this is civility or sign of backwardness? Besides and more importantly the new buildings that have been approved and built, do not even have enough rest rooms. How do we create and operate an unintelligent system (i.e. Kejetia) which harbors the movement of over 2 million people a day without rest rooms. Are we crazy? How do we expect people to attend to nature’s call as and when necessary? This place is really becoming a jungle, an affront to human intelligence. The City’s history in its leadership failures will always remember Mayor Sarpong for mismanaging it and transforming it into a CITY of STORES, filth and dust. Is it not disheartening that every available space has been sold to be developed into stores by our leadership at KMA? Are we by our actions saying that the only innovation in our thought process is the building of stores or we are pursuing this agenda just to make money in lieu of the destruction of the City? Our history will always recognize Major Cobbina for transforming this City and other perpetrators who have engineered to destroy this once great City because of greed. I will entreat any one to undertake a triumphant drive from Manhyia to Kejetia through Dr. Mensah’s area and witness the chaos and disorder in the City. Kumasi is not only turning into a big village but a jungle with no rules, laws, order and reasoning. People are allowed to drive like crazy while motor riders operate without helmets.

As we speak, who is talking or lobbying for the survival of this desperate City? Everybody looks on helplessly as the City is neglected and destroyed because it is the base of the NPP, the country’s major opposition party. Is Tamale the next important location if the nation wants to build its second International Airport? How many flights go there and what economic importance put it above Kumasi? Let us be objective, Can anybody explain the rationale behind this decision by the NDC Government, other than their objective to satisfy our brothers and sister in the North for their Hajj Program?

Is it the Government agenda to destroy Kumasi through neglect because it is NPP’s stronghold? Go to Accra and see development, visit Tamale, Bolga and observe Government projects and come to Kumasi and witness the scale of abandonment. What a shame! As we speak, our Chiefs are selling unauthorized lands (including water bodies); the City Mayor is supervising the plunder of Government lands for stores and other projects.

Blatant “Gerrymandering” by the NDC Administration at the Expense of the TaxPayer

Huge Government investments were used in building a large estate of Affordable Housing by the NPP Administration at Ayigya, near KNUST, to provide very welcome accommodation for Nurses, Teachers and other young public servants posted in the course of their work to the City. Strangely and sadly the huge complex of over eighty (80) blocks; four-floor units of modern apartments have been handed over to armed robbers; foreign mercenaries parading as refugees and characters with no Tenancy Agreements for their previous filthy squatting premises, let alone any legitimate rights to move into the expensive Government properties at the estate. As confirmed from the last General Elections, all these strategies were supervised by Government-appointed Top City officials, with the aim of ensuring voting advantage in newly-created constituencies loyal to the sitting Government.

Where are the public parks that we used to enjoy when we were young? Where are the government lands for future development? Everything has been sold including football parks to make room for STORES by the powers that be, while everybody look on helplessly like stooges. I did not like to stay in Accra when I returned home after my 28 years in the U.S. but I have no choice now because Kumasi is ‘dead’ and it is sad.

Our days are full of challenges and we need to invest in projects that will help to protect the pride of our existence as we live as human beings in peace. Most of our leaders are dead and gone including President Mills, Vice President Aliu Mahama, Major Quashiga and so will all of us, including the thieves, philanthropists and the patriots. Good name is better than riches, besides, hope is a very important virtue and we need to recourse ourselves with good principles and quality leadership to lead this City. God save the Garden City.

KWAMINA ERSKINE NEW JERSEY, USA. kwamiesrkine@yahoo.com

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