Mayor Vanderpuye’s Pipe Dreams


    Accra Mayor Alfred Vanderpuye likes playing Mr. Tough, a posture we do not have any quarrel with. Attitudes are very difficult to change, especially when we want such changes overnight.
    Tackling the city’s challenges calls for tough but humane actions. A balance between the two will be such a wonderful manouvre towards achieving the dream.
    Be that as it may, we are beginning to discern some major shortcomings in the manner in which he is going about his assignments and because these are traceable to the seat of political authority in the country, the man is unable to cry out.
    In the management of the challenges of a city as complex in nature as the nation’s capital, selective treatment of issues should be the last thing a mayor should do.
    We have observed consistently the avoidance of the Agbogbloshie slum relocation issue because of the politicisation of the subject. The difficulty in carrying out the threat of a forceful ejection is costing the state untold financial challenges as the multi-million dollar ecological project is somewhat stalled.
    Information reaching us suggests that government is not allowing the Mayor to go ahead with the ejection enterprise, disapproval which does not augur well for development.
    The location of the slum in that part of the city is a major drawback for any effort at beautifying the city and besides, abandoning the dismantling of the settlement, as Ghanaians were assured earlier, points at the government chickening out of a major exercise because of political undertones.
    The implication of such a drawback is not far-fetched because it suggests that the slum dwellers have outdone the state, a success which does the image of government no good.
    Others elsewhere might use the same means to have their way when a public interest subject is at the centre of a controversy.
    The Accra Central Business District, about which the Mayor has constantly spoken, especially when he hosted the media at an end-of-year party recently, is not in the best of shapes.
    The occasional dropping of garbage by speeding trucks on their way to the landfill site has become a common feature of this part of the city.
    The gutters depend on rainfall to clear them of garbage from surrounding households, as some of them are unable to engage the services of the pay-as-you-use refuse collection contractors.
    We are still light years away from the kind of a national capital we envisage for our country.
    The medians of our dual carriageways which were greened with state funds have all become selling spots for hawkers, some of who have brazenly put tables at these locations to display assortment of fruits and even cheap electronics.
    By the time the day is over, the litter they leave behind constitutes such a disturbing eyesore the next morning.
    The results are patches of dead vegetation and school-going children chasing vehicles in motion to sell iced water, a nasty spectacle unworthy of being presented to foreign guests who visit our country for the first time.
    The Kawukudi traffic intersection presents ample example of how important ceremonial or some parts of the city have lost their shine because of recalcitrant hawkers who take advantage of the toothless state of the AMA to restore normalcy to such parts of the city.
    The Mayor might have to engage his bosses for a discussion on the way forward because the way things stand now, the plans he has up his sleeves might remain pipedreams as the city continues to lose its shine, especially the Central Business District, the occasional City Guards’ insincere operations to restore order notwithstanding.