Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
THE flag bearer of the Convention People’s Party (CPP), Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom, has said he will place premium on a clean and healthy environment during his first 100 days in office.
“I pledged that when elected as the President of Ghana, I would make a clean and healthy environment an urgent issue to be given high priority,” he told a group of journalists during a working visit of the region at the weekend.
He said under his watch as President, he would use the full powers of the state to engage in a broad, countrywide education on the importance of a clean environment and, more important, provide the law enforcement agencies the support and the logistics needed for them to be strong in ensuring adherence to the laws in this area.
Addressing journalists in Sunyani on his vision and stance on the environment, as part of his two-day tour of the Brong Ahafo Region, Dr Nduom stated that he would make collection of garbage and its disposal the number one priority of all the metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs), adding that anyone who failed to comply would be promptly replaced.
He said this could be done only when Ghanaians got the right to elect their own MMDCEs; they would also demand better performance from these leaders, saying ‘I know the demand for better performance will be there, because I have experienced it as an elected member of a district assembly”.
Dr Nduom cited the cases of some other countries where Mayors of towns and cities were elected. He said regular and timely collection of garbage, clean streets and beautiful gardens were important requirements for re-election to buttress his point on the need for MMDCEs to be elected in Ghana to ensure a better performance for a clean environment.
He explained that under his presidency, he would engage the Legislature and all other stakeholders for the laws to be reviewed for the MMDCEs to be elected by the people so that they could demand better performance from them.
The flag bearer added that in situations where the state had awarded contract to a private company for garbage collection, the state would still retain the responsibility for managing the work to determine quality and timeliness of the work performed.
This, he said, would require capability, commitment and willingness on the part of the state to deal with the problem.
He said the state needed to enact appropriate laws, monitor performance, and this required the need to reform the state’s bureaucracy.
“Experience tells us that when the environment is clean, people tend to keep it that way. When garbage is already there, they tend to add to it. Insects, mosquitoes and other harmful germs thrive on unclean circumstances. When our clothes are clean and we smell good, we tend to have confidence to enable us to deal with others. When our beaches are clean, more tourists will visit our country,” Dr Nduom stressed.
“A safe and clean environment is a prerequisite for having a significant tourist programme. In the same way, our national psyche will be enhanced significantly if our environment is clean and healthy. We will gain more respect from our neighbours and from the international community,” he added.
“I have the will and the commitment to ensure that we have a clean and healthy environment that will benefit the nation and the next President of the Republic of Ghana,” Dr Nduom stated.
He also pledged that under his rule as the President of the nation, he would make sure that the environment was always clean to ensure that “we have a healthy people and become a highly productive nation”.
He stated that the Rawlings-led NDC administration and the Kufuor-led administration did a lot to ensure a clean environment in the country, but the inability of these past and present well-meaning efforts to deal with the problem of sanitation and to bring about a clean and healthy environment meant that “we need to find a different solution from the very one we tried in recent times”.
Dr Nduom, who said he was a devout Catholic as part of his campaign tour of the region, earlier in the day attended the second Mass at the Christ the King Cathedral in Sunyani, where he wished Ghanaians a happy 51st independence anniversary, and pledged that he would not engage in politics of insults and blame game during the electioneering.
He said his campaign would be based on issues, and also called for debates among the other flag bearers of the other political parties.
Dr Nduom later addressed a meeting of regional and constituency executives of the party, and urged them to work extra hard to enable the CPP clinch victory in the 2008 elections to form the next government.
He also paid a courtesy call on the Sunyanihene, Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri, at his palace in to formally introduce himself to the chief and his elders as the flag bearer of the CPP.