President John Dramani Mahama has justified his participation in the recent clean-up exercise at Odododiodio in Accra saying he was exhibiting leadership in the fight against the cholera outbreak.
The president was criticized by many Ghanaians for taking part in the exercise with some saying his participation is an indication of government’S failure to keep the city clean.
In an apparent reply to his critics, the President said the rationale behind his joining in the exercise was to demonstrate to the people that the fight against the disease was a collective effort and not something reserved for a particular group of people.
He observed that working to contain the outbreak of cholera in parts of the country is a collective responsibility of all Ghanaians.
Addressing a grand durbar to climax the 50th anniversary of the Oguaa Fetu Afahye in Cape Coast last Saturday, Mr Mahama said the disease was a terrible issue of national concern which demanded that all act quickly to contain the situation.
Describing the cholera outbreak as a ‘grave health problem’, the President said so far more than 11,000 cases had been recorded with more than 90 deaths.
“This is totally unacceptable. As a people we should not and must not have any of our relatives, friends and fellow citizens die of a preventable and curable disease like cholera this day,” he said.
The government, he said, was doing its best to arrest the situation and save lives, and, therefore, urged the people to keep hygienic environments to complement the efforts to stop the spread of cholera.
Mr Mahama said so far Ghana had managed to close its doors to the Ebola disease, and the government was doing everything possible to ensure that the virus did not enter the country.
“This disease is a very serious matter and we must all be vigilant so that we succeed in protecting our people,” he added.
He said in line with the government’s efforts to make health care accessible and affordable to the people, Cabinet had just approved GH¢30 million for the construction of 15 polyclinics in the Central and Greater Accra regions.
The Central Region will get 10 of the clinics, which will be sited at Gomoa Dawurampong, Ajumako Besease, Biriwa, Breman Asikuma and Breman Gyamera.
The rest are Agona Duakwa, Binpong Akunfude, Ekumfi Narkwa, Twifo Atimokwa and Gomoa Potsin.
President Mahama asked Ghanaians to shed any fears they might have about the government’s decision to engage the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restore economic confidence in the country.
He stated that he would not do anything to inflict unnecessary hardships on the people of the country, explaining that the engagement of the IMF would help the nation greatly if the short-term challenges were overcome.
Central Region’s importance
Tracing the historical significance of Cape Coast and the Central Region, the President said it was the first area in the country to establish contact with the western world as far back as the 15th century, which led to the place serving as the epicentre of agitations for political independence.
Besides, the area gave birth to the country’s educational and judicial systems, and it was also the cradle of tourism development in Ghana.
Mr Mahama commended the chiefs and opinions leaders of the region for building on the potential of the area to ensure the region became productive.
President Mahama assured the people that the government would not relent in its efforts to accelerate the pace of development of the region, particularly Cape Coast.
In that regard, he said, on October 1, he would cut the sod for the full commencement of work on the Kotokuraba Market project.
Currently, construction of temporary sheds to accommodate traders at the market has been completed, paving the way for actual work to start on the market.
The Cape Coast Stadium project is also progressing steadily with the President promising that work would be completed by August 2015.
He further referred to the Komenda Sugar Factory, which is under construction, and gave an assurance that the project, when completed, would generate thousands of jobs for the people.
The Omanhen of Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, said Oguaa takes pride in its past as the centre for the emergence of academicians, statesmen, doctors, and many great men and women of the country.
However, he said, unemployment and dwindling educational standards, among other setbacks, had negatively affected the city’s development.
He, therefore, called for concerted efforts to bring Cape Coast back to its former glorious days.
Other speeches were delivered by the Central Regional Minister, Mr Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, and the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Cape Coast North, Mr Ebo Barton Odro.
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