Rt. Hon Kingsford Sumana Bagbin
November 29, 2022

Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin said he does not think and cannot see Accra in the next ten years getting  anywhere near  Rwanda Kigali,  which is known as the cleanest city in Africa.

According to him Rwanda after their genocide sat together to put a programme in place immediately coming out of their genocide, worked as a team and made statement trying to improve their system.

In an interview with Ghanamps.com on the side line at the just ended 145th General Assembly of the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Rwanda- Kigali, responding to whether Accra can be clean like Kigali, Speaker Bagbin pointed out that as we move around in Kigali they had map out areas where people are not to build houses.

“You see people growing vegetables; in Accra the small, small streams we have, they have all been filled with garbage and we are living by the Akuapem ridge when there is rain, the water does not have anywhere to go than to run down and try to run into the sea. There were hold on ponds created around, when there is heavy rain they enter those ponds and try to fill the ponds before moving off; now all the places have been covered, so the water just come down”, he lamented.

The former health Minister gave historical antecedents of efforts to get Accra clean by previous and current governments, saying “we say cleanliness is next to Godliness, and this was one of the core values of the Gold Coast or Ghanaians”.

Kigali Rwanda

And recounted that in the earlier days, Gold Coast (Ghana) had town council officers who moved around to ensure Ghanaians had clean environment; “we took care of our health in the schools, early in the morning we were busy cleaning the areas”.

He said the concept of cleanliness was so cherished that even personal hygiene including the inspection of body, clothing, and teeth was a major issue for teachers. “It has always been with us, but along the way we got a number of interruptions. That is one of the areas that we have some difficulties; life is about evolution, usually when there is a revolution there is some destruction, people do not take time to cost”.

Accra Ghana 

The benefit is always bigger than the cost; it’s only when you have that sharp evolution then you take time to recover, then there may be some changes that you try to inculcate in the people that can last for some time. That was not the case in Ghana; we were having frequent changes, evolutions and so some of the core values then got lost, he stated.

He also attributed our difficulties to coups, stating that all these coups and counter coups add up to it; “by the time that we came to constitutional rule we have lost focus, it is now difficult for us to crawl back, we have lost discipline and order”. And the kind of harmony we used to work together to ensure there was cleanliness, orderliness is not existent.

Rt. Hon Speaker Bagbin pointed out that after the change of government in 2000, because, “Rawlings has been there for a long time, people were not really appreciating the process that Rawlings put in place”.

Then came the government of former President John Agyekum Kufuor, who establish a Ministry called the ‘Beautification of the Capital City’.  It caught on because it’s one of the serious concerns of Ghanaians; “how to get back that value”.

“Late Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey was put in charge of that Ministry, in spite of all the talks, things got worse”, he lamented.

After that there was transition and former President, John Evans Atta Mills came and also brought about a ‘Better Ghana Agenda’ trying to improve on all those things.

Then currently we have President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government also talking about making, “Accra the cleanest city in Africa”.

“I listen to these things and I laugh because, many of them do not know the magnitude of the problem; the kind of investment made into it; that is why some of us underscore the importance of long term vision where we will seat and agree that, “in this number of years of time this is where we want to be, how do we get there?”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com/Rwanda/Kigali