Will new Tema MCE make Port City shine again?

BY: Benjamin Xornam Glover
  Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Developmen
Mr Dan Botwe, Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Developmen

After a long wait, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, through the Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Mr Dan Botwe, has released the list of nominees to head the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) across the country.

Prior to the release of the list of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), there were a series of consultations and lobbying and in Tema the question of who heads the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) played centre stage.

The TMA consists of two constituencies- Tema East and Tema Central. In the past, nominees for appointment as MCE such as Mr Samuel Evans Ashong Narh, Robert Kempes Ofosu Ware, Isaac Ashai Odamtten and Felix Mensah Nii Anang-La have had their roots in the Tema East Constituency.

Executives and members of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Tema Central, however, thought that based on loyalty to the NPP, it was time the President rewarded them by appointing an MCE from the Tema Central Constituency.

The party members rallied the support of the Constituency Chairman, Mr Charles Boateng, who went through the various processes and when news went round that Mr Boateng was on the verge of being announced, various forms of protests kicked in with the Tema Traditional Council intensifying its advocacy that they will not accept anybody except an indigene for the position of MCE.

So intense were the protests that the Tema Central Constituency vowed not to work with any MCE nominee unless the person was an indigene.

Finally, the lot fell on Mr Yohanes Amarh Ashitey, whose nomination was met with some incidents of resistance and agitation by some NPP members and some residents of the Tema Central Constituency.

Protests

A group of angry party members staged a demonstration in Community Four, burnt car tyres and threatened to respond to the party with a massive vote against the NPP in the 2024 general election.

According to the protesting party members, the Tema Central Constituency had remained loyal to the NPP and had continuously given the party massive votes and felt now was the time for the President to reward their fidelity to the party.

It appears the leadership of the NPP scaled the hurdle, so on Thursday, September 30, 29 Assembly members of the TMA out of the total of 31 gathered at the conference hall of the TMA to affirm the President’s nominee, Mr Yohanes Amarh Ashitey, who has since been confirmed. One person, however, voted against him.

Making Tema shine again

Tema is known to be a well-planned city with its smoothly functioning infrastructure, however, over time, the city, which hosts the Port of Tema, is gradually losing its shine and the new MCE must work hard to help the city regain its former status.

For instance, traders in the central business district in Community One have taken their wares to the streets and occupied parts of pedestrian walkways.

This practice apart from the wanton generation of filth, congestion, choked drains and vehicular and human traffic is also gradually degrading the beauty of the Port City.

Additionally, the rate at which unplanned and unauthorised structures are springing up in some parts of the metropolis is defeating Tema’s accolade as a well-planned city and the MCE-elect must work at finding a solution to the challenge.

The Community One Central Market has outlived its usefulness, as the current facility is congested and creating a lot of inconvenience and nuisance for pedestrians and shoppers. The new MCE must, with the help of city planners, come up with plans that will allow for the redevelopment of the central market.

Other markets such as the Community Eight and Nine markets also deserve an upgrade to lift the pressure off the Community One Market.

By upgrading the Community Eight and Nine satellite markets, traders who were relocated to the Community Four Chemu Park at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic-imposed lockdowns can ply their trade in those markets and allow the Chemu Park to be used for its intended purpose - sports development and recreation.

The same situation applies to the pupils of Tweadease and Akodwo Basic School, where half of the fields of their school compounds have been turned into a market, a situation that is disrupting teaching and learning.

Congestion

Another challenge the TMA MCE-elect faces is keeping an eye on traders engaged in bulk breaking activities in and around the Oninku Drive '1' Primary School in Tema Community One.

It is either the TMA relocates them to another location or fences the school to separate them from the activities of the traders whose business and the subsequent pollution of the environment does not afford the pupils and teachers a serene environment for teaching and learning.

The MCE for Tema and the assembly must also quickly move into action and suspend activities of traders who are gradually turning the frontage of the Tema General Hospital into a fast growing mini market for building materials, furniture and garages.

The new Tema MCE must also move in to fix broken down street lights and give the city some illumination as well as enhance security, especially at night.

Luckily, the MCE has identified revenue mobilisation, sanitation and environmental health, youth empowerment, security and development control as issues that would be high on his priority list.

It is hoped that with the needed support from his staff, assembly members and residents, he will explore more innovative ways to enable Tema to shine again, a vision that will fall in line with the greater move by his immediate boss, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Mr Henry Quartey, who has vowed to make Accra work again.

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