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Constituency Watch: Community of untapped potential - Tema East

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
Yohane Armah Ashitey (3rd from right), MCE for Tema, interacting with some fishermen at Tema Manhean during a visit to the area
Yohane Armah Ashitey (3rd from right), MCE for Tema, interacting with some fishermen at Tema Manhean during a visit to the area

Despite the fact that Tema is considered to be a well-demarcated metropolis, Tema East Constituency, which occupies the centre of the metropolis (community one and Manhean) is beset with developmental challenges.

The challenges include frequent breakdown of the sewage system, poor sanitation, springing up of unauthorised structures and inadequate potable water and street lights.

Only one major road connects Tema Community One to Tema Manhean and many road users have called for an alternative route to link the two communities since the only road contributes to congestion.

With these concerns, the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) is in discussions with the Ministry of Roads and Highways to get alternative roads to link Tema Manhean and Community One to improve mobility for all road users in the area.

Demographics

The constituency has formal and informal workers, including factory workers, fishermen, fish processors, teachers, civil and public servants, health workers, traders and commercial drivers.


Location

It is located on the coastal belt and is one of the two constituencies in the Tema Metropolis of the Greater Accra Region. The other is Tema Central.

Tema East Constituency is host to a number of industries including the Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) and the Tema Port. It is also a commercial centre and a fishing centre.

Politics

The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area is Isaac Ashai Odamtten of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) snatched the seat from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate, Daniel Titus Glover in the 2020 election.

Mr Odamtten polled 41,692 votes to defeat Mr Glover, who secured 31,956 votes.

Prior to his election as the MP for Tema East, Mr Odamtten had served as Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) for Tema in the NDC administration.

Of the eight general elections held since 1992, the NPP had won the parliamentary seat six times, while the NDC had won twice.

In 1996, the NPP's Ishmael Ashitey polled 33, 421 votes to annex the seat, beating the NDC's Nii Adjei Larbie who had 29, 915 votes.

Mr Ashitey retained the seat in the 2000 election with 35,044 votes to defeat NDCs Ebenezer T. Anuwa-Amarh who had 18,435.

Mr Ashitey emerged victorious again in the 2004 election when he polled 41, 518 votes to defeat NDC's Emelia Kai Adjei who had 27, 272 votes.

In the 2008 election, a new NPP candidate, Samuel Evans Ashong Narh, polled 40, 444 votes to defeat the NDC's Robert Kempes Ofosuware who had 33, 011 votes.

Mr Glover won the 2012 election with 30,075 votes, just three votes more than the 30,072 garnered by Mr Ofosuware of the NDC. In 2016, Mr Glover retained the seat with over 4,000 votes difference.

A taxi driver at the Mankoadze Roundabout , Daniel Adjei , who plies the Community One - Tema Manhean route told the Daily Graphic that the road connecting Tema Manhean and Community One was narrow and had developed potholes, particularly at the Unilever portion, putting the lives of motorists and commuters at risk.

However, the MCE for Tema, Yohane Armah Ashitey, told the Daily Graphic that discussions were underway with the Ministry of Roads and Highways for alternative roads to link Tema Manhean and Community One because the single road contributed to persistent traffic congestion.

He disclosed that the assembly had entered into an arrangement with the Road Safety Management Services Limited (RSMSL) on a transport project to be implemented to improve mobility for all road users.

The arrangement will improve on parking of vehicles and ensure the safety of pedestrians. Overall, it will improve transport management.

No response

Efforts to reach Mr Odamtten yielded no response.

Premix fuel

Being a fishing community, one major challenge the fisherfolk had to grapple with is the occasional shortage of premix fuel.

A fisherman at Tema Manhean, Nii Laryea Adjei, said shortage of the premix fuel had become an annual ritual and, therefore, called on the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development as well as the Tema Metropolitan Assembly to let the welfare of the fisherfolk be their priority since some of them had to resort to middlemen to access the product at a high cost.

Responding to the challenge, the MCE said the assembly was working in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development to restructure the system of fuel distribution to ensure equity and transparency in the system.

Other interventions

Giving account of his stewardship, the MCE said the Metropolitan Security Committee had in place measures to improve security in the area.

Some of the measures included the installation and rehabilitation of street lights, which had improved the security in areas such as the Urban Health Roundabout through the Tema Stadium Road to the TDC Traffic lights.

The intervention has also seen places such as the TDC Traffic light to Our Lady of Mercy SHS, the Regional Fire Service road, and the Community 5 Traffic light to the General Hospital road illuminated.

In addition, Mr Ashitey said the successful completion and operationalisation of the Divisional Police Command at Tema Manhean was one of the measures taken to improve security in the constituency.

He revealed that the TMA continued to implement a number of social intervention programmes geared towards alleviating poverty and improving lives.

Engineers fixing a damaged streetlight in the metropolis

These include the Ghana School Feeding Programme, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP), and the National Youth Employment Programme.

On the LEAP, he stated that 489 households had been approved to access cash transfers.

In the areas of health, the MCE said the assembly had resolved to commit more resources to public health issues.

Also, the provision of start-up kits to 30 beneficiary youth on apprentice programmes was geared towards improving employment skills.

Infrastructure

Expatiating on infrastructure, Mr Ashitey said since he assumed office, a four-kilometre asphaltic overlay at the Tema Town Centre (Meridian Enclave) had been completed, as well as the construction of a six-unit classroom block with auxillary facilities at Manhean Presby School, and the renovation of the canoe basin bridge at Tema Manhean.

The assembly had also, through a robust inter-agency coordination and collaboration, reconstructed the watercourse to solve perennial flooding in some parts of Homowo and Oninku Electoral Areas.

Also, a major footbridge connecting the Sea Light Electoral area and the fishing harbour had been rehabilitated.

Solid waste management in the Tema Metropolis has become a major challenge, with some residents complaining that in recent times, service providers have not adhered to schedules for lifting their refuse.

A resident of Community One, Madam Ruth Mensah, told the Daily Graphic that the collection of waste in her neighbourhood has not been regular.

However, the MCE, in a reaction, said the assembly had come up with a software called MetroSani Watch which would be deployed to enable residents to report sanitation challenges and also to track and monitor service providers.

He added that following the institutionalisation of the Operation Clean Your Frontage programme complemented by the City Response Team, the assembly was poised to intensify the fight against poor environmental sanitation with renewed vigour.

"Plans are afoot to introduce more service providers to promote competition which will lead to overall improvement in service quality. More focus would be on Aboboyaa operators in the slum areas such as Site 2, Site 20, Ozokue Naa and Chemu Lagoon Naa," he said.

Haphazard development

Mr Ashitey said the assembly recently embarked on a decongestion exercise that saw the demolition of about 50 unapproved structures in areas such as the frontage of the Metro Health Directorate office, behind the TMA administration block in Community One as well as the Meridian enclave, also in Community One.