Ashaiman Constituency: Bustling town, home of migrants
IT is one of the bustling municipalities in the Greater Accra Region.
Life goes on 24 hours without a blink of the eye by most of the residents.
The market, car parks/lorry stations, entertainment joints and homes are usually a beehive of activity.
Due to the influx of people from the West African sub-region, many refer to the community as the “United States of West Africa”.
The Ashaiman municipality was carved out of the Tema Municipality (now Tema Metropolitan Authority - TMA), as one of the newly created districts in 2008 by LI 1889 and Local Government Act of 1993 (Act 462).
It is one of the 34 assemblies in the Greater Accra Region.
It was weaned from the TMA during the tenure of former President John Agyekum Kufuor with the view to bring governance to the doorsteps of the people and accelerate development in the area.
The Municipality shares boundaries with the TMA to the east, Ledzokuku Municipal Assembly to the south, Adentan Municipal Assembly to the north and La Nkwantanang Madina Municipality to the west.
The 2021 Population and Housing Census put the population of the area at 208,060, comprising 103,410 males and 104,650 females.
Traditionally, Ashaiman falls under the Tema Traditional Council.
But from its small beginnings, the constituency has increasingly become the haven of a large number of migrants from all over the country and some West African countries.
The constituency has expanded, giving birth to many suburbs which bear both local and foreign names.
Localities like Tulaku, Market Square, Fitter Line, Taabo Line, Tsinai Agbe, Zongo Laka, Roman Down, Night Market, Asensu Bar, Official Town, Taifa, Newtown, Valco Flats, Afariwaa, Christian Village and Atadeka are spiced up with exotic flavours such as Middle East, Jericho, Lebanon Zone 1 to 5, New York and Washington, among others.
With the exception of the 2000 parliamentary elections when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Emmanuel Kinsford Kwesi Teye, won the seat, Ashaiman has been a National Democratic Congress (NDC) stronghold.
Albert Boakye Okyere — MCE for Ashaiman
But for infighting in 2000, the NDC would have won the seat as has been the norm since the creation of the constituency in 1992.
Pundits believe the internal wrangling prior to the elections gave the NPP an easy passage, but that view has been rejected by the NPP supporters in the constituency on the grounds that the presidential election in the same year favoured the NPP candidate, John Agyekum Kufuor, who polled 28,393, representing 58.20 per cent, as against NDC’s John
Evans Atta Mills, who polled 17,603, representing 36.08 per cent.
To prove their case, the NDC reclaimed the seat in 2004 when Alfred Kwame Agbesi returned to the fold to win the seat with 53,559 votes after beating Emmanuel Kinsford Kwesi Teye of the NPP who secured 36,044.
Since then, the NDC has repeatedly retained the seat.
The current Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashiaman is Ernest Henry Norgbey of the NDC, who won the seat in the 2016 general election and went ahead to retain it in 2020.
In the 2020 election, Mr Norgbey polled 73,316 votes, representing 61.59 per cent votes, to maintain the seat for the NDC, while Labaran Yakubu Barry of the NPP, his closest contender, secured 45,730 votes, representing 38.41 per cent.
For the presidential election, former President John Mahama of the NDC secured 76,327 votes, representing 64.17 per cent, while President Nana Akufo-Addo polled 41,506, representing 34.89 per cent.
Mr Norgbey was retained by delegates of the NDC in the party’s parliamentary primaries held in May 13 this year as the NDC parliamentary candidate for election 2024.
Ernest Henry Norgbey — MP for Ashaiman
However, his third term bid to represent the people of Ashaiman in Parliament will be determined after the December 2024 parliamentary election as the constituency awaits the winner of the NPP parliamentary primaries in constituencies where the party has no sitting MPs on December 2, 2023.
The three contestants who have been approved for the NPP primaries are: Essel Justice King, Thomas Abotibala Adongo and Alhaji Labaran Yakubu Barry, who was the NPP parliamentary candidate for the 2020 election.
Like any inner city in Ghana, Ashaiman is one of the economically viable and vibrant communities but with some negatives.
A first-time visitor to the town will notice a plethora of banks, non-banking institutions, as well as other businesses scrambling for any available space to either set up new businesses or open new branches.
However, Ashaiman has over the years been perceived as the citadel of all sorts of crime.
Filth and bad roads have also engulfed the area in recent times.
One major concern of the people of Ashaiman is bad roads.
The poor state of the road near the Mandela Park intersection after a rainfall
Ashaiman, it is estimated, has a total of 166 kilometres network of roads, with only 28 km representing 17 per cent paved, leaving the remaining 137 km, representing 83 per cent, unpaved.
A civil servant, Richard Avorgbedor, told the Daily Graphic that the roads connecting major suburbs in Ashaiman were so deplorable and that various assurances by the government to fix them had failed to materialise.
He said inner roads such as the Ashaiman Traffic Light to the Presby Junction section of the Ashaiman-Adjei Kojo Road, Ashaiman Main Market to the Lebanon section of the Ashaiman overhead to the Zenu Road, Ashaiman Newtown junction to the Afariwa junction road, and the Community 22 and Lebanon inner roads were among the road networks in a deplorable state.
Moved by the poor road network, a group calling itself Concerned Citizens of Ashaiman embarked on a demonstration on October 3, 2023, to protest against the deplorable nature of roads within the municipality.
The Assembly member for the Naa Amerley Electoral Area, Ayiku Kubutey, bemoaned the poor state of the roads, adding that in spite of numerous promises by the government, the situation remained unchanged, thus having a negative impact on economic activities in the municipality.
The MP for Ashaiman, Ernest Henry Norgbey, in an interview, said the government had ignored the pleas of the people of Ashaiman for long, adding that the demonstration was to serve as a signal to the government that the request of the people could no longer be ignored.
The Municipal Chief Executive, Albert Boakye Okyere, in an interview with the Daily Graphic, gave the assurance of the government’s commitment to reconstruct roads in the municipality.
He said the government had already taken steps to improve the roads by awarding a 10 km drainage contract which was ongoing, adding that once the drains were constructed, the roads would be fixed.
“Roads in the area cannot be completed under one administration. Government is a continuum; we have done some and we are hoping to do more for the people of Ashaiman,” he said.
The constituency is a beneficiary of the E-Block initiative instituted by the NDC government to enhance access to secondary education.
The school was to complement the existing Ashaiman Senior High School.
Unfortunately, the project which is about 80 per cent complete, has been abandoned.
The MP for the area said in spite of efforts to get the government to have the project completed and handed over for use had been totally neglected.
Ashaiman Sewerage Treatment System
The MCE for Ashaiman said the assembly was committed to completing all projects started by previous governments, including the E-Block, adding that the assembly had constituted a team to follow up the project with the relevant agencies towards the early completion of the facility.
In the area of health care, Mr Okyere indicated that Ashaiman had been slated to benefit from the government’s Agenda 111 hospitals to help improve health services in Ashaiman and its adjoining communities.
The 100-bed hospital being constructed under the government's flagship Agenda 111 will be constructed by three contractors at a cost of US$ 12 million.
It is scheduled to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2024.
He explained that although the Municipality boasts of a Polyclinic, which was recently upgraded to the status of a primary hospital to meet the health needs of the growing population of Ashaiman, some residents were compelled to travel to the Tema General Hospital and other private facilities to seek health care.
Mr Okyere commended President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and gave the assurance that the assembly would ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the project.
He also commended the Ghana Armed Forces for releasing part of its lands at Michel Camp, the base of the First Battalion of Infantry of the Ghana Army, for the project.
Mr Norgbey, for his part, welcomed the initiative aimed at improving access to healthcare facilities by the people of Ashaiman.
On sanitation, the MCE said increased population growth and rapid urbanisation had resulted in the generation of large quantities of solid waste but gave the assurance that the assembly was doing its best to address the situation.
In terms of household toilets, he said prior to his assumption of office, the number of people with access to household toilets in the Municipality stood at 1,300, but currently the figure stood at over 9,000.
Mr Okyere said the government had also constructed an ultra-modern Simplified Sewerage Facility in the Municipality, which was connected to over 25,000 low income beneficiaries in the Ashaiman New Town and TDC Quarters area, to help address the sanitation challenges.