Ladies, Gentlemen and Others, I say Good Day to some of you, again.
The last personal letter I wrote to my senior, Snr. Opupulepu, which I showed to you was leaked to the public by a nosey, too known, too Abrefosem, too four o’clock tea of a journalist among you. Instead of going out using standard criteria to find those qualified enough to enter the presence of Mr. Martin Amidu, our Senior Prefect (SP), and have mutual conversation with him, he goes publishing private letters. And we say we have journalists in Ghana, Tweeeaaa! And Tweeeaaa again; I said Tweeaaaaa! Who born dog?
This is another letter to Snr. Opupulepu for his consideration, and it is for your eyes only.
Dear Snr. Opupulepu,
It is me again, your junior in school, the University of New Juaben, known in private cycles as Pope John’s (Secondary School) Senior High School (SHS).
Senior, I guess you have heard of the word Exodus. If not in the Bible, which I doubt because you spend quality time looking for your lost two-inch pencil to read the Sacred Scriptures, but certainly, you heard and more than once danced to Bob Marley’s song, Exodus: Movement of the People.
Exodus means movement of the people as the song says, and as can be found somewhere in the Sacred Scriptures when the Israelites, aka the Jewish people, moved around for forty years to a spot which was just about 613 kilometres away. At a slow human pace of three kilometres an hour, it should have taken the Israelites, at most, nine days to make this journey. But Snr., you know that man proposes and woman refuses, sorry I mean God disposes, so YHWH decreed that because of their thickness of the inside of the ears of the Israelites, thus defying the Lord God of Hosts, they did this short journey about from Accra to Akoupe, Cote d’Ivoire, on foot in 40 years; yes Snr., 15.3 kilometres a year at the pace of 45 metres a day.
Today, in Ghana, there has been, and there is, Exodus going on for the past donkey years. People move from rural areas to settle in urban areas with no invitation letter from anyone. Some people in the urban areas, especially those who are aging, may be found migrating to the rural areas for clean fresh air.
Snr. Opupulepu, this is quite interesting. It is like Obibini Blackman or Koo Darkie will go to the back of the maize farm, Ebronechie, or Abrochie for short, and stand by any building and take pictures smiling like he has seen Heaven. And the Akwasi Broni will come to our country and choose to take pictures with the trees and lizards, snakes, monkeys, cockroaches, house flies, field mouse, domesticated mouse, et all the etc., etc.; everyone and his choice.
So, exodus is an option, but, in Ghana, it is also a problem. In our urban areas, we have slums developing in serene areas, as well as the choked-up ghettos. The host of people engaging in rural urban migration is too overwhelming to calculate.
We are now more than determined to decongest the slums or shanty towns, especially those developing where they need be not in the first place.
With this ambitious agendum of decongesting comes with the will power to act. Unfortunately, when it comes to action, the same people who cry that the cities are getting dirty, will then round and attack the authority for not having a human face. Senior, I am yet to see any official wearing a gorilla face when executing his or her mandated responsibility.
Lately, the slum in front of the residence of H.E. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been put under the floodlights. His neighbours have been squatting there for ages and no one complained. He even fetes then from time to time, even before he became His Excellency.
It came that due to security reasons, these people must go. The Oldman handsomely compensated them from his small pay. Then another batch was bold to go to the Jubilee Flagstaff House and demand to be paid, because they were left out. Their desires were met, and then a third group appeared for same.
Anyway, when it was getting close for them to move out, all hell broke loose: The money was insufficient, they said; where will they go to they asked; they have been living there for centuries, they claimed, and all the rest of the etc., etc.
Snr. Opulpulepu, instead of Ghanaians telling these their brothers and sisters that they were in the wrong place in the first place, you hear people lambasting the President for not showing a human face, no angel face in this matter.
Snr, please advise. Is it not the responsibility of the authorities, and here I mean the Metropolitan Assembly, to make sure that such makeshift residential and commercial areas do not develop in the first place? Do the personnel in the assemblies not go around collecting levies and tolls from these poor people, hence legalising their stay? Must we, as a nation, continue going back and forth, dancing around the same problem, leaving things undone and pretend we are solving the problem?
Snr. Opupulepu, I believe that in the NPP manifesto, there was a pledge to put up shelters for such people, and this must be done fast, even if under the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) system. We need to put up attractive buildings and settle or house these poor internal migrants. It is a must!
While I am here, please Snr, can you best advise how we should handle all forms of indiscipline in the country? And here I am referring to things like disrespect for traffic rules and regulations by motorbike riders; littering of the place; disembowelling of private waste in public areas, et and all the rest of the etc.
Snr., seriously something must be done, and done now. The squatters in front of the President’s house and all squatters must be moved and settled somewhere.
Your contributions by way of good suggestions on these matters are warmly welcome. Good bye Snr., and good luck in your continuous search for your missing pencil.