Constituency Watch: Uphold our status as third largest city - Takoradi residents appeal
It boasts of the redevelopment of the famous Takoradi Market Circle and the construction of a four tier interchange at the PTC roundabout.
Aside from the brisk trading activities in the constituency, fishing is the mainstay of the people in the New Takoradi community while the rest of the coast from the Takoradi Port is for recreational purposes .It is dotted with resorts for entertainment from the port up to African Beach through the estuary to Fonko in Ahanta West.
The Takoradi constituency, with an estimated population of about also 480,000 has a mix of both formal and informal workers.
They include politicians, civil and public servants, teachers, traders, commercial drivers and fisherfolk.
The Takoradi Constituency in the Western Region, one of the oldest constituencies in the country, has seen appreciable development over the last three years.
However, residents have expressed varied opinions about their development needs in the constituency and called for expedited action on their two major projects and other needs.
The Takoradi constituency, which is also the commercial capital of the region, plays host to many business and industrial activities and is growing at a very fast pace.
It shares boundaries with Sekondi at Effia-Nkwanta and Effia-Kwesimintsim at West Tanokrom and parts of New Site.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area is Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, who is also the Western Region Minister. He took over as MP from Gladys Asmah in 2004.
The first MP for the constituency after the return to constitutional rule in 1992 was Tabitha Sybil Quaye of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) but the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in the 1996 elections won the seat with Mrs Asmah as the candidate, and she maintained the seat till 2004 when she bowed out of Parliament.
With the ongoing development in the constituency, some political watchers believe the ruling party would maintain the seat in the 2024 elections in spite of the current economic challenges but others think otherwise.
In successive elections, the NPP has won in communities such as Amanful, New Takoradi, the CBD area, Essikafoabantem Number One and Number Two, Port Quarters areas, Beach Road, Adakope, Kokompe, Windy Ridge, Airport Ridge, part of Tanokrom, among others.
In the 2020 general election, the NDC candidate, Fredrick Faidoo, put up a spirited performance but at the end of the elections the NPP candidate, Mr Darko-Mensah, bagged 25,968 votes representing 67.2 per cent of total votes cast while the NDC’s candidate polled 12,129 votes representing 31.4 per cent.
The Communications Director of the NDC, Kirk Mensah, said the interchange and the redevelopment were nothing new. “These are projects that were on the drawing board for some time,” he stated.
“When it comes to projects that impact the lives of the people, the NDC has a superior pedigree.”
Members of the NPP said the ongoing projects were a game changer for the 2024 elections and that the projects would speak for themselves.
Mr Darko-Mensah said, “As MP for the people of Takoradi, I would roll up my sleeves and follow every project in my constituency to make sure it is completed. Again, as the regional minister. I will follow the same projects across the region for the benefit of the people.”
He said there was no doubt that the roads being constructed and other ongoing projects would open up many areas and stimulate economic and social development.
He said as an MP he had done a lot for his constituents in the area of education, health, potable water, youth empowerment programmes, road and security.
Dualisation of the Takoradi to Sekondi road from the Takoradi Airport Junction through the European Hospital to Paa Grant Roundabout
While some traders are of the view that the link roads to the Central Business District (CBD) should be given equal attention to ensure free flow of traffic in the area the concern of fishermen has been that of lack of premix fuel for fishing.
The Secretary to the Chief Fisherman of New Takoradi, John Kwamena Atuaaboh, said the challenge they faced currently was lack of premix fuel. “We understand its not only us but something across the cost,” he said in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
Asked how they were managing the situation, Mr Atuaaboh who is also a canoe owner said they had to rely on the conventional fuel stations to buy fuel for fishing activities.
“The truth is that we are operating at a very high cost and our fishing is not like road transport business; sometimes we go fishing and come back with nothing but debt. No catch,” he said.
He added: “What the fishermen want now is special attention. Government should give us special attention, the focus has always been on the farmer, fertiliser and other subsidies, we also use inputs, which must be captured.”
The Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council also added their voice to the shortage of premix fuel at the various landing beaches.
They attributed the shortage to the current formula used for the distribution of the premix fuel to fishermen which they alleged has been politicised.
An executive member of the council, Daniel Dadzie, said this in a radio programme on Media General’s Takoradi based Radio Station, Connect FM’s dialogue series on the theme “Premix, Illegal
Unreported and Unregulated IUU Fishing Practices”, last Wednesday, and monitored by the Daily Graphic.
“Just look at the current make up of the premix committee. It is made up of representatives of the party of the day. It is only the Chief Fisherman that we can conveniently say is not political. So other fishermen said to be of the other divide struggle to get premix,” he lamented.
The Western Regional Director of the Fisheries Commission, Joseph Yeboah, for his part stated that the Ministry of Fisheries was concerned about the supply of premix and was working tirelessly to resolve it.
“As I speak, we are looking at digitalising the supply of premix. What it means is that without a card one will not be able to buy the product. Unfortunately, the fishermen are not coming forward to embrace this innovation. We brought 500 cards and only 200 have so far been collected. So we are indeed concerned and working to resolve the premix issues”.
Sharing his thoughts on the development of the constituency, Kweku Essel, a trader, said considering that Takoradi was the main trading area for the people, it was important that roads leading to the business district were put in a good shape.
“I am a trader here in Takoradi, but a resident of Mpintsin, near Kojokrom; coming to the shop is an uphill task, some bad portions of the road lead to slow traffic,” he said.
Another resident of Amanful, Ekua Esaba, called for action to be expedited on the development projects ongoing in the constituency to match up with its status as the third largest city in the country.
She explained that since the discovery of oil in 2007, there had been am influx of many companies in the banking, oil and gas sectors to the regional capital, hence the need to improve and expand infrastructure to keep pace with the current development.
Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah — MP for Takoradi and Western Regional Minister
At West Tanokrom where the Jubilee Park has been converted into a temporary market, the traders said they wanted a more spacious park for their activities.
A trader, Madam Gifty Dadzie, told the Daily Graphic that their prayer was that work on the new market would be expedited to enable them to move back.
“We are exposed to the weather; we don’t have enough space for customers to park their vehicles and patronise our wares, and we are also exposed to the weather,” he stated.
For some of the youth, although the discovery of oil in the Western Region had put the name of Takoradi on a high pedestal, lack of jobs for the youth had become an antithesis.
A university graduate in procurement, May Addo, said since her graduation in 2013, she had made fruitless efforts to secure a job, and now she was selling noodles in the night for a living.
Abdulai Mohammed, a graduate in mechanical engineering, said, “I am still dependent on my brothers and sometimes do other errands for people for tips for survival. I understand the challenge but now it is too much.”