A Green President for Ghana?

Ghana has been praised as a growing African democracy and one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. After the passing of the ex-president His Excellency John Evans Fiifi Atta Mills, the vice president John Mahama was sworn in as the president in a very peaceful and commendable transition (at least by the world’s ‘African’ standards). Now I’m usually the last one to get into politics (I don’t support any party) and in my personal opinion John Mahama became the president of Ghana way before July 24th. Some of you might remember that just a few weeks earlier John Mahama launched his biography entitled ‘My First Coup d’état’. I happened to watch his interview on the Voice of America network and couldn’t help but notice in his intro that he was noted to be a vice president concerned for Ghana’s environment. Wait… What? Since when? This was news to me so I decided to do some snooping and this is what I found:
Ok Mr. President… all of this looks very pretty on paper but what is the reality on the GROUND?  Has there been any real change in Ghana’s environmental status? I’m yet to come across anyone that has seen a member of his new Zoom Alliance/Sanitation taskforce actually making a difference.

Needless to say Ghana has extensive environmental issues. Of course there’s plastic waste, flooding and the death of most lagoon sin Accra. There’s sea level rise and other effects of climate change that have caused village homes to literally disappear under water. Due to over-logging our forests continue to diminish hastening the effects of climate change. Illegal miners destroy our lands and poison the waters of innocent Ghanaians. And the list goes on…
Let me not be partial, one positive sign of change due to President Mahama is the appearance of a few recycling plants in Accra and Tema. With the threat of being banned, plastic producers made an effort to save their livelihoods with these plants. But how has this resulted in behavioral change and concrete permanent changes? If John Mahama is really a president for the environment then there should be much more seen in our lives as Ghanaians.

The MOLE Conference XXIII hosted by the Coalition of NGOs in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) took place in Tamale last month. It was the largest gathering of key players in the water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector who have been working on progressing WASH issues for years despite government complacency. They have drafted a document of recommendations for government (you can read here) which Pres. Mahama is aware of. I recommend that he takes it seriously.

If within these final months Mr. Mahama can show some real guts towards Ghana’s environment then MAYBE he could be worth considering in the upcoming elections in December. Otherwise spare us all the political tricks and enjoy your time in the Castle.

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About The Green Ghanaian Intiative

Akua Akyaa Nkrumah is a Ghanaian environmental technologist based in Accra, Ghana. She studied Environmental Science and Technology at the University of Maryland - College Park. She currently works as a consultant for environment and climate change in Accra and has a passion for water, sanitation, recycling and renewable energy
This entry was posted in Africa, Climate, Environment, Ghana, Policy, Sanitation, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Green President for Ghana?

  1. kojokye says:

    they were all official assignments he HAD to go to because PRes Mills was incapacitated, something he Mahama and others knew about but wouldnt admit to us. What is the record before on the floor of parliament for example? or other activities.

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    • That is a good question. We will have to do more digging on that. Many of the events were voluntary and as president now Mr. Mahama is making the sanitation task force a priority. We will see how his activities go.

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  2. henry okine says:

    Well we live to see if Mr. President is truly for the Environment. I personally had to opportunity of speaking to him just last month, and asked him to take environmental issues more seriously should he remain in office come 2013. His response was a quick ‘ok’. I just hope he will keep to his word should he win power again and make a very positive ‘environmental’ transformation in Ghana…. Cos we need it.

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    • Maybe a little overconfidence? From the looks of things President Mahama has his environmental PR covered. The sanitation taskforce has been launched in Eastern, Central and Ashanti regions and so we will really live to see. Ghana’s environment is not just about cleaning up but our attitudes need to be changed. We need to recycle. Transformation just as you put it.

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  3. Emmanuel says:

    Intriguing post and an oft neglected issue on blogs or in the news. I like the timeline about the then vice-prez, now president’s take on environmental transformation…we will be employing a similar timeline on issues at [rgp] stay tuned 😀

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    • Thank you Emmanuel! And I give you permission to steal my style :p. We will keep a close look at the president’s environmental activities from now till the end of the year and also take a look at other candidates and what they have to offer. Its about time the environment became a major concern just like education and development

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  4. amacocoa says:

    Good post. I think it will take more than a president attending these conferences and doing surprise visits for change to happen. In order for change to happen, it must be communicated by the government, the media, the people. We have to take ownership and understand the importance of recycling and taking care of our environment.

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  5. You are right. Thank you so much. We will be looking for truer efforts at affecting transformation and behavioral change. Right now the efforts by the Sanitation Task Force are just about cleaning up. We are yet to see the better push for recycling. Let’s keep pushing!

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