Opinion: Restore Debrah’s National Sanitation Day exercise

There is an adage that says “wisdom does not reside in one man’s head.”

Under the leadership of President John Mahama and then Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Julius Debrah, a monthly clean-up dubbed “The National Sanitation Day” was launched. The concept was to designate the first Saturday of every month as a day for cleaning our environment.

The then minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Debrah explained that the rationale was to inculcate into the Ghanaian the habit of cleaning his/her environment for a clean Ghana.

The then opposition party led by Akufo-Addo, rubbished the idea and urged their members not to take part in the monthly clean-up. They, in fact, insulted Mr. Debrah for lacking ideas on how to tackle the sanitation problems in Ghana and they promised to halt it when they come to power.
Mr. Debrah did not relent but had the support of President Mahama and the people of Ghana who wanted nothing but a cleaner Ghana.

When Mr. Debrah became the Chief of Staff for Mahama, the monthly clean-up continued and Ghana was getting cleaner up until the NDC government was voted out for the NPP to take over.

When the NPP took over the first thing they did to tackle the sanitation problems was the creation of a new ministry solely for sanitation. Yes, Ministry of Sanitation and the explanation was that the vision of the President was to have “Accra as the cleanest city in Africa”. This ministry had a minister and a deputy.

Almost a year after the creation of the Sanitation Ministry, Accra is worse than the NDC left it. Almost everywhere is hosting heaps of refuse coupled with very offensive stench which poses serious health problems for the citizenry.

The situation has become so bad that the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana had to go on Twitter to lament on the embarrassing sanitation problem, an embarrassment that got traction on BBC World Service.

The situation as it stands now will result in a massive cholera outbreak with the rainy season beckoning us and if it is not dealt with rapidly we will have a national health crisis on our heads.

I will like to use this opportunity to advise Mr. Akufo-Addo to humble himself, shut down the dysfunctional Sanitation Ministry, save the money and direct the Local Government minister to go back to the Julius Debrah blueprint for a cleaner capital city and Ghana.

By Dzifa Gunu, from Atiavi

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