By Edmund Smith-Asante
A Leadership Consultant, Rt Rev. Samuel N. Mensah, has called for the dismissal of the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Mr Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, from office for incompetence.
He said, for the Vice-President, Mr Paa Kwesi Amissah Arthur, to call for heaps of refuse in the metropolis to be cleared, as well as lead a campaign to rid the city of filth, was indicative of Mr Vanderpuije’s failure as a Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE).
Rt Rev. Mensah, who is also the President of the Full Gospel Church International (FGCI), said it was unacceptable for the MCE, whose duty it was to ensure that the citizens complied with sanitation laws, to have looked on as situations got out of hand.
“It is unacceptable that in this day and age, cholera should plague the nation and have people die from it,” he said.
“I believe he must be sacked for gross incompetence,” Rev. Mensah added.
He said that environmental sanitation was a shared responsibility and that “the citizens were equally responsible and must be taken to task.”
100-day contingency plan
In an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday, the Acting Director of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD), Mr Lenason Naa Demedeme, said the assembly’s 100-day plan to deal with the scourge of cholera was still ongoing.
He disclosed that sensitisation programmes, as well as television and radio discussions on ways to deal with the outbreak were also currently ongoing.
Mr Demedeme said in Accra alone, there were 18 ‘very ugly’ garbage heaps identified which various assemblies had not been able to clear. He said the identified heaps of garbage were presently being cleared. He said those at La Wireless, Agbogbloshie and Mallam Atta areas had already been removed.
He said following the Vice President’s 10-day ultimatum to the assemblies to clear heaps of refuse from the communities, a team, led by Mr Amissah-Arthur, went round last Friday to inspect progress of work.
“Last Friday we went round with the Vice President to see whether the work had been done and quite a number of them had been cleared,” he said.
According to Mr Demedeme, the concern now was how the garbage clearing exercise could be sustained and to get the people to observe basic hygienic practices as a means of minimising the cholera outbreak.
He said the Independent Broadcasters Association had given out free airtime for radio and television discussion which he believed would sustain the momentum on educating the people on proper hygienic practices.
Mr Demedeme said while in July there were about 1,700 reported cases of cholera infection and about 17 deaths, current reports from the Ghana Health Service put the figure at over 3,100 cases and over 40 deaths.
The Greater Accra Regional Director of Health Services, Dr Linda Van Otoo, is reported to have described the current outbreak of cholera as "staggering".
"It is a total outbreak and the cases in Accra keep rising daily. We are in a pandemic situation and doing our best to deal with it," an AFP report published last Friday, quoted Dr Otoo.
Writer’s email: Edmund.Asante@graphic.com.gh
This was first published by the Daily Graphic on August 19, 2014