Let’s face it, Accra is no city. It is poorly planned, filthy, full of clogged gutters with a deplorable road network and it stinks. So one has to wonder why someone will have the gall to dot the town with billboards that say ‘Accra Millennium City, keep it clean.’
I have heard the Mayor rave about this Millennium City project any chance he gets, always going on about how it will transform the village into a world-class city. And that means proper drainage and waste management system, an efficient road and rail network and improved housing and healthcare for residents.
In fact, that is precisely what Dr Alfred Vanderpuije promised residents when he was appointed. Accra was up for an extreme makeover – capital cities edition, and he was the man to do it. That is the only reason why we egged him on when he had his men chase hapless hawkers off the streets.
But two years on, the only proof of his hard work is a billboard proclaiming Accra a ‘Millennium City.’ You see he didn’t only fail with the hawkers, but with everything else. Yet, Dr Vanderpuije seems to think he is doing a good job hence the billboard ad.
Trouble is, declaring Accra a ‘Millennium City,’ will not transform it into a city. It takes planning, hard work and an efficient local assembly, and Dr Vanderpuije should know this. In North Carolina where he came from, if( and it’s a big IF) there was an outbreak of a disease like cholera which is caused by filth and a lack of good drinking water, the Mayor will not build a water fountain in the midst of the trash. People in this town queue to buy water to cook and clean. And every competent Mayor will at least ensure citizens have access to safe water, cleaner communities and planned neighbourhoods. They will unclog the drains, attempt to cover many of them and remove the vegetable farms at the edges of some gutters in the Accra
I realise we love useless taglines in this country, which is why we actually believe that Ghana is the ‘gateway to Africa,’ or that t ‘better Ghana agenda’. But, darn, to call this giant mess a modern city is delusional. And Dr Vanderpuije and his team had better come up with a clear strategy on how to rid Accra of filth. I hear dustbins at every point works better than billboards. We’d appreciate a clear plan too, every proper city has one – that way they don’t put landfill sites in residential areas.