Those who did not see the viral video of a man and a woman literally operating “a chop bar” at the newly constructed and opened Pokuase four-tier interchange by pounding ‘fufu’ there would easily dismiss the matter as untrue if they only heard about it.
Yet the strange occurrence did, indeed, happen, and but for the uproar of the public against that act, barely a month after the interchange, the first of its kind in West Africa and second on the continent, had been opened by the President on July 9, the operation of an eatery right on a pavement at the interchange would have persisted to date.
What effrontery and despise of things that are beautiful! We at the Daily Graphic are at a loss and pondering over this unacceptable behaviour. What brazen indiscipline and illegality!
Do we really have a working assembly? Is the Ga West District Assembly functional and on top of issues? Does it have officials charged with ensuring orderliness in the jurisdiction on its payroll? Is there an assembly member in that electoral area of Ga West? These and many more questions were posed when a citizen journalist posted the video on social media which went viral for about three days before action was taken against the horrible spectacle at the interchange.
While the Daily Graphic is glad that the illegality has since been halted with the arrest and caution of the father and his daughter, operators of the eatery, who saw nothing wrong with starting a ‘chop bar’ right at the interchange, we are equally dismayed that people actually patronised the eatery while it was in operation, despite its location being distasteful.
The Ga West District Assembly has received a lot of flak for that unfortunate incident, but we must admit that gross indiscipline abounds in all our metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), with officials charged with ensuring that the right thing is done rather sleeping on the job.
Some of these officials turn a blind eye to such acts of indiscipline because their friends or relations are involved or they receive bribes to look the other way while such clear violations of MMDA bye-laws are perpetuated.
Otherwise, how do we explain the parking and stopping of especially commercial vehicles at unauthorised places, just to pick passengers, when there are clearly designated bus stops in our towns and cities?
We litter indiscriminately because no one accosts us for degrading the environment. We allow people to hawk on the streets with careless abandon, putting themselves in harm’s way and posing a danger to motorists.
We allow people to settle anywhere to sell anything — from catapults, knives, dog chains, food to household items — and before long we have a huge market springing up, not only to cause a nuisance to all but also use up electricity and water for free for years before we draw attention to the ills.
Yesterday, we published a story about the invasion of our streets in the national capital by child beggars and wondered whether or not the authorities were helpless.
Why are we doing this to ourselves?
More worrying is the fact that well-meaning Ghanaians who, when such illegalities begin, call on the authorities to ensure that the right thing is done are tagged ‘know-it all’.
Elsewhere, cities are well planned and demarcated, so that when anyone wants anything to buy or desires any service, be it auto, insurance, grooming or other, he or she knows where to go. These services are not scattered among the people.
It is high time, and indeed long overdue, that we planned our cities and towns well for sanity to prevail.
Fortunately, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Henry Quartey, is showing the way by taking the bull by the horn, all in a bid to inject discipline into the Greater Accra Region.
The Daily Graphic lauds the minister’s “Let’s Make Accra Work” initiative, but he alone cannot do it all. He will need the collective support of all of us to get to where we want to be in terms of inculcating discipline in our everyday lives.
Clearly, many of our metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) are sleeping on the job, the reason we support the recommendation that when MMDCEs are appointed, they must be given six-month renewable contracts, so that when they fail to perform, they are removed from office.
The MMDCEs, presiding members and all officials working with them must be up and doing to nip in the bud the gross indiscipline we have been grappling with. Without the support and buy-in of MMDCEs in the Greater Accra Region, the commendable efforts of Mr Quartey will come to nought and only remain a “midsummer night’s dream”.