Mahama Clears Gutters – As Accra Mayor Claps

President John Dramani Mahama collecting the rubbish

President John Dramani Mahama last Saturday descended into filthy drains and went round garbage-choked spots at James Town, a slum area of Accra, to undertake a cleanup exercise.

The exercise was part of activities the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and other stakeholders, had embarked upon to rid the Accra Metropolis of filth in the wake of the cholera outbreak.

While the president was busily cleaning the gutters, the Accra Metropolitan Chief Executive, Alfred Nii Okoe Vanderpuije, was also busily heaping praises on him.

Other officials who accompanied the president included Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani; Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo and Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye.

The president used the occasion to encourage residents in the area to clean up their environment frequently so as to stay healthy and avert the cholera epidemic.

He said it was unacceptable that in the 21st century, cholera should be attacking and killing people as many as 85 in the country.

President Mahama recalled that during the era of the Rawlings-led revolution, a day in every week was dedicated for clean-up exercises in various communities.

“But now that tradition is not there and we need to bring it back so that if we cannot do it once a week, we could clean once a month so that everyone will get involved in developing the country,” he charged.

President Mahama urged the district assemblies to deliberate among themselves and allocate a day for the clean-up exercise.

He also gave a directive that children should not be charged any fee when they access public toilets, explaining that they [children] will be compelled to defecate in polythene materials  and dump them into gutters when they have no money to access toilet facility.

More than 8,000 people have been affected by cholera this year, with close to 90 of them having died.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says the outbreak was centered on impoverished communities in urban areas in the south that lack adequate toilets, though there were also a few cases in rural parts of the north of the country.

The Director of GHS, Linda Van-Otoo, said some 54 people had died in Accra, and around 300 people are now being infected daily.

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 By Cephas Larbi

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