Mohammed Adjei Sowah
Managing Accra is an unenviable assignment. It is for this reason that we think Hon Adjei Sowah must be having sleepless nights brooding over what to do about the city’s filth and other related challenges including stubborn street hawkers.
Combining political interests with addressing the city’s challenges requires finesse and political maneuverability.
To achieve success in managing Accra, the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) must shed his political dress and get to the ground. On the other hand, if he is too hard the repercussions would set him on collision course with his party supporters as they frown upon the political costs of such brusqueness.
In the past few weeks there have been complaints about the filth in Accra. We do not know whether the problem has to do with unavailability of a landfill site or even sabotage.
Besides the garbage management challenge, pedestrian movement within Accra’s business district is virtually on the verge of becoming impossible.
Hawkers have narrowed major three-lane roads to single ones especially in the Business District of Accra. Unless an immediate action is taken, the remaining single lanes would be lost to motorists.
But for their insistence that hawkers stay away from their Accra Central Station, the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) would have had their façade taken over.
We are aware about the human face needed to manage such challenges but over-application of this would not inure to the interest of city management.
Suggestions have not ceased coming – some of them asking that alternative places be acquired for the street hawkers.
This done, there would be adequate justification for a forceful eviction of those who do not abide by the deadline to leave the streets.
Thinking about this issue further, we are compelled to recall how such alternative places to sell their wares did not work earlier; the pedestrian market at Circle being a case in point.
Indeed even in Accra Central, there are hawkers who have abandoned their inside market spots to come and sell by the streets.
Considering the fact that the AMA CEO would be compelled to stand down, any attempt at enforcing the bye-laws by political interference from various quarters especially party activists from both the ruling and the opposition parties, his hands are, as it were, tied.
Even as he weighs the options, the pedestrian movements are becoming more and more restricted creating an impression of failure on the part of the city authorities. That is why we pity Hon Adjei Sowah especially as pressure mounts on him to act now or attract the painful stigma of being ineffective.
We are aware about his plans to descend upon the breaches but before he does so let him serve notice first, and so, a lot of consultations.
As for the piling garbage in the city, he might have to engage with the Zoomlions and others charged with managing the task otherwise this subject would affect his integrity.
The fault might not be his but the tongue-wagging are not positive. Let him seek solutions now because filth and hawkers’ stubbornness are threatening his office.