What should Mayor Sowah’s priorities be for the next four years?
He takes over from Alfred Oko Vanderpuije, now a Member of Parliament, whose time was dogged with many controversies.
So, what should Mayor Sowah’s priorities be for the next four years?
Accra is incredibly filthy and it smells. As such, devising a formula to get the city of Accra looking spick and span is perhaps the most important of all Mayor Sowah’s priorities. The city needs to increase its waste management capabilities and enforce sanitation laws. He also needs to tackle the open defecation menace in Accra and finally ensure that the infamous Lavender Hill is closed forever.
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The perennial floods in Accra are another major challenge the new major must find a solution to. In June 2015, 150 lives were lost as result of the floods and a massive fire that followed. Accra’s major drains are either too small to contain the amounts of water, they are chocked with plastic waste or have buildings blocking the waterways. Together with stakeholders such as the Town and Country Planning Department and the Ministry of Works and Housing, he needs to design a plan that can stop the city from submerging under water for days.
Accra is Ghana’s commercial hub and trading within the city accounts for a large portion of the country’s gross domestic product. However, the city’s markets are nothing to write home about. They are congested and unhygienic; hence the city requires new and improved markets. Hawkers have also taken over the city’s streets. Mayor Sowah will have to exhibit political boldness in order to rid the city of its hawkers; a situation although would be unpopular but needs to be done.
The city has a number of tourist attractions that have in the past been left unexplored. Because Accra is the first port of call for international travellers, the city can make a lot of internally generated funds from the beaches, hotels and European colonial architecture in places such as Jamestown and Osu.
Accra is gradually turning into a concrete jungle and the expanding population requires a need to match in infrastructure. The city’s needs open, green spaces such as parks and other recreational facilities to clean up the polluted air, make its citizens fit and ensure that they enjoy the benefits of city life.
The average Ghanaian scraps in order to afford decent housing in the capital. This has made homelessness in the city very high. As such, residents have been forced onto informal settlements such as Old Fadama and kiosks along the major high ways. Attempts to remove informal settlers have proven futile largely because of a lack of political correctness.
The former mayor began the building of schools to ensure that the shift system is ended within the metropolis. The shift system meant that public schools run two streams which saw students divided into a morning and afternoon session. This Millennium Schools project needs to be continued by the new man at city hall.