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The eruption at Ashaiman
From: Kofi Akordor | fokofi@yahoo.co.uk          Published On: July 3, 2013, 00:35 GMT
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The eruption at Ashaiman

On Monday, June 24, 2013, Ashaiman, a sprawling shanty town near Tema, erupted into street violence when hundreds of agitated youth took to the streets to protest against the poor nature of roads in the municipality.

The demonstrators, mostly drivers, cited the Member of Parliament for Ashaiman, Lawyer Alfred Kwame Agbesi, and Numo Adinortey Addison, the Municipal Chief Executive, for deceit and negligence, having reneged on their campaign promise to rehabilitate their roads when elected into office.

Under normal circumstances, demonstrations from any quarter against the poor nature of our roads in any part of the country should have been seen as a just cause that must be supported by all. After all, bad roads do not favour anyone, not even those who drive at state expense.

Unfortunately, the Ashaiman demonstration, whether by accident or design, strayed off course and triggered violence which caused harm to innocent persons including security personnel and journalists.

Ashaiman sprouted more or less from a work camp which housed workers, mostly unskilled labour that was engaged on the construction of the town of Tema, the harbour and the numerous industrial plants that were springing up to consolidate Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah's dream of a new port and industrial enclave for a newly independent country called Ghana.

As the quest for jobs increased more and more young men and women from every part of the country and beyond with skills or no skills found themselves in Ashaiman.

As should be expected, in such a cosmopolitan settlement of men and women with no identifiable jobs but who are determined to make a living, Ashaiman became synonymous with drugs, prostitution, crime and other social vices. City of no nonsense, residents proudly call it.

Over the years, Ashaiman became big in both physical size and population to a near autonomous city state. It has a thriving market but lacks good road networks, public places of convenience and well-planned residential areas.

In 2008, Ashaiman gained municipal status, when it was carved out of the then Tema Municipal Assembly.

Ashaiman has been a beehive of political activity since the return to constitutional rule in 1993. The dominant political parties are the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the New Patriotic Party (NPP), with the former winning all parliamentary elections except in 2000, when as a result of a divided front the NDC lost to the NPP.

The NDC has since 2004 regained the seat, which is occupied by Lawyer Agbesi.

Any hope that conditions in Ashaiman will change for the better with the change in status has become a mirage. The roads are still bad or even worse. The public toilets are few and the general physical environment of Ashaiman is appalling.

Frustration and desperation set in as the promises to make Ashaiman a better habitable place could not be redeemed. That was how the youth came out onto the streets with burning tyres last Monday, to show their anger and disappointment at those who won their mandate on the promise that their conditions would change for the better.

They have realised that they are being taken for granted either for their ignorance, gullibility or blind loyalty.

The violence that erupted could be condemned but not the objective of the mission.

Those who care must begin to appreciate the real and hard facts. We are getting closer to the day of reckoning and our politicians who offer themselves to lead us and improve our lot, cannot escape the wrath of the people if they think they can continue to feed fat on the sweat of the people while feeding the rest of them on lies and empty promises in their belief that they can continue to fool all the people all the time.

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