The media frenzy and applauds Greater Accra Regional Minister and Member of Parliament for Ayawaso Central, Henry Quartey, has enjoyed so far is gradually eating into his head. As a result, the Minister has soon forgotten that he is a Minister being paid to find solutions to problems and not a modern-day Goliath to worsen existing problems.
I would have been amongst the first group of persons to commend the Minister for banning Aboboya on our Highways, particularly the motorway if the ban was well thought through and not hurriedly announced to attract needless and populist media accolade. No right-thinking person would fume over the Minister’s decision to ban Aboboya on our Highways knowing the nuisance they cause. However, an attempt to deal with a problem must not result in exacerbating existing problems.
The Minister’s decision to get the Aboboyas off the highways was to prevent a percentage of accidents these Aboboyas cause on our Highways. While thinking about curing this menace, we must ask ourselves why these Aboboyas use the highways? The answer is very simple – these Aboboyas use the Highways in order to have access to dumping sites. About 80-90% of the Aboboyas you see the highways are either going to dumping sites or returning from same.
In Accra, these Aboboyas rides to either Kpone, Nsawam or Weija to dump refuse they have collected from households and companies. Without these Aboboya refuses collectors, Accra would have been unpleasantly decorated with refuse more than what we are battling now in the capital city. In the first term of President Akufo Addo, he announced that he would make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. He then established the Sanitation Ministry and appointed a minister with deputy(ies). Despite the existence of the Sanitation Ministry, the filth in Accra is worse than when there was no Sanitation Ministry under Mills/Mahama government.
The sanitation situation is worse in Accra today because the Akufo Addo/Bawumia government did not take steps to do things that would make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. The government is owing waste Management Companies like Zoomlion, Asadu and others huge sums of money. As a result, the companies are reluctant to move to communities to collect their refuse to dumping sites. There were, and even today, instances were you would see mountains of refuse in front of houses.
The Aboboya refuse collection then came in handy. Aside from employment, it provided thousands of people and their dependants, it has, to a very large extent, save the country from outbreaks of diseases like chlorella, malaria, etc. If these are the positive sides of the use of Aboboya for refuse collection, then any attempt to ban its use on the highway must take into account how to address the two primary problems it would cause.
First, the Minister should have thought of alternate means by which the Aboboyas would dump their refuse before banning its use of the highways. Secondly, the Minister should have thought of how to provide alternative employment for those engaged in the trade. If the Minister had no solution to these two things, then there was no need to announce a date for the ban to take effect. Whether the ban is legal or illegal is another issue that needs interrogation another day.
As it stands, the Minister’s ban is in full force. The effect of this is that until the Aboboya users find a place to dump their already loaded refuse, they cannot collect refuse kept in front of houses and companies. This also means that, the Aboboya riders have their source of income snatched from them as they are out of employment. This is coming at a time the Finance Minister says the payroll is full and that everybody should find something to do by him/herself.
The earlier the Minister thinks outside the box, the better. Other than that, in the few days to come, we will have two issues to contend with – the outbreak of chorela and increase in unemployment. The Minister should cut his love for blind media adulation and thunderous applauds from society and do the right thing. His Goliath-like posture would not help him and Ghana.
Amorse Blessing Amos
Deputy Greater Accra Regional Youth Organizer-NDC