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Ketu South MCE Race: Time for history or convention?

Denu (VR), May 24, GNA – The race for the next Municipal Chief Executive of Ketu South Municipality is on and just like any other populous Municipality, the number of people lobbying to be appointed as the chief representative of the Central Government to take charge of it, is equally large.


Number of contestants

Fourteen men and women are contesting Mr Elliot Edem Agbenorwu, the incumbent Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) to be responsible for the day-to-day performance of executive and administrative functions of the Assembly with the aim of providing the needs of citizens.

In the race after Thursday’s vetting process in Ho are; Mr Samuel Doe Haligah, Mr Richmond Hatto, Mr Abraham Futukpor, Mr Aikins Shamo, Mr Daniel Elolo Ahado and Mr Jarvis Koffie.

The rest are; Madam Judith Ayivi, Mr Godwin Blewuada , Mr Prince Afetorgbor, Mr Maxwell Lugudor, Madam Fidelia Awakoe, Mr Dowoli Kadu, Mr Michael Equagoo, Madam Gladys Quarshie and Mr Elliot Edem Agbenorwu.

The next MCE for Ketu South requires the clout to bring development and improve the electoral fortunes in the not-vibrant-and-reliable constituency for the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) but rather a stronghold of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Notable issues of the border municipality include; roads, tidal waves destruction, potable water and economic hardships.

People and needs

About 24 feeder roads making a total of about 111.2KM in the Municipality are in poor conditions with potholes, dusty and loose sandy soil with Aflao Diamond Cement Road of grave concern to many.

Users of that road this month demonstrated to demand from government to either fix the “dangerous road” or give tax reliefs to Diamond Cement Ghana Limited to fix the road. Barely a week later, a middle-aged pillion rider met with an accident on the road. Fortunately, her life was spared.

On tidal waves attacks. The ravaging sea keeps dealing residents of coastal communities in the Municipality including; Salakope destructions for years. Days of tidal waves attacks recently collapsed buildings, swept away people’s life-time earnings.

The about 1,000 displaced residents from about 87 households demonstrated to tell the world how they suffered from the sea for years and needed government to act fast to save their communities from total extinction in future.

Extension of the sea defense wall

Access to potable water has been the issue for others. Denu, the municipal capital and home to Ghana’s busiest border, Aflao and surrounding communities have been without water for a year and over. This is attributable to a break in the operations of Ghana Water Company Limited in the Municipality.

Residents in these areas have joined others with long years of water problem and Kpoglu Electoral Area is one of those.

In January 2020, a woman aged about 32 and her 6-month old son got drowned in a pond at Blaakor-Badzikope, where she had gone to wash clothes.

Madam Dadolo Mensah, resident of Bodzakope blamed their deaths on lack of potable water in the surrounding communities saying “if we were to have water running in our homes, I’m not sure she would have walked all this distance to do her laundry and get herself and that little boy drowned.”

Meanwhile, the Assembly is making efforts to get water for citizens with the recent one being the sod-cutting ceremony for a GH¢287,000.00 water project to serve about 13 communities in the Viepe-Tokor Electoral Area, which have been grappling with water problems for eight years.

Economic hardships

Economic hardships has been worsened by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, which placed various restrictions such as the closure of land and sea borders meant to halt its spread.
A partial lockdown of some parts saw government providing food to the vulnerable in those affected areas.

Consequently, government announced absorption of water bills for all Ghanaians, provision of free electricity for lifeline consumers and 50 percent rebate for consumers beyond the lifeline threshold to shield people from the economic effects of the pandemic.

Experience at Ketu South

The people of Ketu South especially those in border communities (mostly traders) said though the border closure virtually locked the area down because they must move across the border daily to access basic needs including; food and water, support was not extended to them.

The next MCE will have to address these and improve the fortunes of the NPP in the Municipality. The task seems not daunting enough to the 15 candidates for the top job as they appear ready to face it.

Chances

All the candidates have good chances of getting the nod for the job and are hopeful their names will make it to the first-four to be selected should the list be out sometime around Monday, May 24.

Supporters of Mr Agbenorwu, the current MCE said he did a good job and deserved the nod to serve another term to propel the development of Ketu South, while those against argued, he did what he could and should make way for another.

Those in favour of Mr Haligah, the Constituency Chairman for the NPP and also Presiding Member of the Assembly said he had the clout to be the next MCE citing his experience in the Assembly, love for the Municipality and his ability to attract people from even the opposition camp for the party.

So are the arguments for Mr Futukpor, Mr Lugudor, Mr Afetorgbor, Mr Koffie, Madam Ayivi and the rest. “They all have what it takes to become our next MCE,” residents kept saying.

The bigger argument

The NPP hierarchy in Ketu South is united on the capability of the contestants, but is divided over which of the three traditional areas wins the slot.

They said there had been an age-long convention of appointing people (both NPP and NDC) to occupy that position which rotates among Aflao, Klikor and Some Traditional Areas in Ketu South.

“In President Kufuor’s first term, Linus Koffie from Aflao got the nod. His second term brought Justice Kudjo Adoglo from Some.

Prof Mill’s tenure saw Bernard Amable from Klikor as MCE. Mr Mahama appointed Pascal Lamptey from Aflao and then Elliot Agbenorwu from Some became our MCE during President Akufo-Addo’s first term. It’s now Klikor Traditional Area’s turn,” an anonymous resident chronicled.

Others said it was possible that “whatever is being referred to as a convention now might have been a mere coincidence which ought to be overlooked when necessary to arrive at a candidate that will best serve the interest of all.”

“Judging from earlier appointments, it has been one-term for MCEs here in Ketu South but I see nothing wrong if we retain someone who’s performing well. That’s how to make history,” another suggested.

The multi-billion dollar question to satisfy now is, would it be time to make history or maintain traditional conventions.

The appointing sword is in the hands of President Akufo-Addo and we wait patiently for his decision.

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