My name is Collins Ansah, I have lived and worked in Prestea, Tarkwa and now Obuasi Tutuka. In my few years I’ve spent in parts of the country where minerals are mined, I’ve learnt to suppress a particular animosity I have deep inside for a group of people, who are referred to as development experts or technical people in this country. You know why? Even in the impoverished state of premiere mining towns like Tarkwa, Obuasi and Prestea, these technical people still wants us to believe that the kind of development module they continue to proffer still holds the magic wand to see an end to the dust, the potholes and the short supply of educational, health and other facilities for these towns. I can’t understand, and no honest person should!
Is it a law cast in stone that the development module for mining communities should be same as non-mining areas. No, and I think that’s the beginning of our miss!
You see, I think people who have had the opportunity to ever make decisions on behalf of these towns should be ashamed of themselves that the development models they subscribed to have not worked. As for those so-called development experts in the ministries who make decisions for towns they barely know their origins, keep doing this to us Ok? Keep making decisions that in the last 62 years have made Accra great to live, and golden areas like Tarkwa and others having terrible road networks! Keep on doing this!
Today, non of the three mining towns of Tarkwa, Obuasi, and Prestea have a kilometre of asphalt road without a pothole! Non! The main entry to them will immediately disappoint any first-time visitor.
In Tarkwa for example, Asabea Constructions Limited started working on the main Tarkwa Highway from Awhetieso to Effuanta since 2015. This contractor has consistently complained of lack of funds to complete this 5km or so road. As we speak, that road is something else. There is no money, really?
Obuasi is even more disheartening! Today, cars from Kumasi have had to use Akrokerri route because the Anwheankwanta to Tarkwa road is thorn like old soaked cotton wool! Talk of the Obuasi township roads. Very shameful!
As for Prestea, I wouldn’t say much!
So to you, the experts, will you say the results of your development theories for Obuasi, Prestea and Tarkwa are one that you can celebrate?
How many times haven’t we cried out? How many times haven’t we protested! How many times haven’t you sat in your offices to take decisions that return the monies meant to correct this criminality to yourselves in the big cities? How many times haven’t your referred us to seek development from our assemblies? Wait a minute! Have you for once stop to ask yourself whether the Accra Metropolitan Assembly is responsible for the good primary schools, the interchanges and first-class roads? Haven’t Accra been given preferential treatment because it is the capital? How about preferential treatment because we give you 67 per cent of your GDP every year?
You use intimidations from security forces to suppress us whenever we try to raise our voices! You have mastered sweet words to coerce us if we agree to a dialogue, yet, our roads are ‘lesser gods’ to those you use in Accra.
You say development must come through the municipal, district assemblies and not any special plan, yet the experts went quiet when the Akuffo Addo government announced sometime last year that it was hiring an international development expert to redesign Accra right? You didn’t say that is preferential treatment for Accra that already have that much! Your hate for us whether deliberate or by accident is legendary!
I now believe that you oppose our cries for equal treatment because it makes you feel good of yourselves that there are people below you who must worship you. We are your conquered in-country slaves! You oppose us so you can continue to pride yourselves that you live in the cities whilst some leave in poor mining communities.
If these are not true, what has prevented these three mining towns from having just their roads fix once and for all when they give you so much?
Yeah! I know some of you are in your offices saying it is cheap and petty to speak this way, but notice that, that has been the stance of many past and gone experts and commentators, yet the results of they not being petty are what they have for us in Tarkwa and the likes!
You claim we are equal, yet the type of road you even construct to cart the cocoa, and the other commodities are those meant for second class people. They last maximum of 2 years. At one point, your argument is “why construct asphalt road for an area where revenues from cannot pay for the road?” But today I say “how about the Tarkwa –Takoradi Road? How about Bawdie-Asakragua Road? How about Benchema Nkwanta to Ajuofia road? How about Asankragua- Sambreboi through Mumuni Road? Are these roads not the areas for cocoa, Bauxite and Manganese to the Takoradi Port? Now give me another excuse! Its sad oo? Yoo!
Let me give you an assignment that will take you on a weekend adventure. Everyone loves adventure right? Pick a car, not a land cruiser or V8. Drive towards any of these towns; Tarkwa, Obuasi, Prestea! Two kilometres before you reach each of them, roll down your glass to pick some fresh air. Don’t mind the change in colour of the wind, its what the people have enjoyed for decades. As you do this, take some nice pictures of the scenes. You are encouraged to embark on this trip on a dry sunny day.
As you approach each of the towns, raise your camera a bit through the lowered glass. Capture images of the nice paintings on the buildings. Slow down, and let your body take it easy as it mimics the shaky “dance” from the tyres saying hello to the potholes.
When you return to Accra, show the images, first to the people of Accra. Show them how revenues from these areas are used to provide the first class roads for them. Notice their reaction!
Now show it to the speaker of parliament who I doubt has visited Tarkwa, Obuasi or Prestea in the last decade. Show it to the GRA boss, the Finance Minister, the local government minister that, these are beautiful messages from the people of Tarkwa, Obuasi and Prestea who have been made silent by the government’s machinery. Tell them these are our plea!
Tell them that this is what our pregnant wives have been going through on the road when they are in labour. Tell them our women who sell by the roadside have been out of business, courtesy the dust!
Is this all that you so-called development experts wanted us to be?
Its time we agree to have a separate plan to quicken the pace of development for these towns, else, no matter the contribution of gold to the central government, these towns will always be a bad reflection of century years of mining in Ghana with nothing to show for it!
By: Collins Ansah, Prestea [Western Region] with video and images from ourstorisonline.com