Obuasi is known as the Golden City by people living outside it but to those inside Obuasi, the city is a disgrace to its residents, Members of Parliament, Municipal Chief Executive and the government of Ghana. Obuasi does not deserve the name Golden City and calling the town so is a mockery.
History of Obuasi Roads
Growing up in Obuasi, I came to believe all roads were dusty in Ghana since most of the roads I walked on to school were very dusty. I remember there were times that the road from Zongo to Amangoase was blocked by those owning houses along that stretch due to the dust the road produced.
Before the former president of Ghana, Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings left office in 2000, he awarded a GHc2m (20 billion old cedis then) contract to Construction Pioneers towards the completion of 10-kilometre Obuasi town roads project.
Mr. Nuamah Donkor, then Ashanti Regional Minister made the announcement during his visit to Obuasi in August, 2000.
The project was initially awarded on contract in 1996 to Limex Bau at an estimated cost of about GHc1.5 million (15 billion old cedis at the time). The project was originally expected to be completed in nine months but this was extended to 24 months. Despite the extension, Limex Bau took 48 months to work on the drainage system and asphalted only one-kilometre stretch of the 10-kilometre road network.
Many believed the amount awarded to CP to finish the project was too high but the Regional Minister said it was worthy in view of the economic importance of Obuasi township to the nation.
Since then, works on some internal roads have been carried out in the town but they were more or less shoddy work since some took less than a year to get back to their previous bad state. CP roads are still the best the town has seen.
In 2016, Obuasi roads were in very deplorable states. These roads included Boete-Brahabebome stretch, Kwabenakwa-Mampamhwe, Dunkwa Junction-Bediem, Estate-Kokoteasua, Stadium-Abompekrom, Akaporiso-Asonkore and the biggest of them all, Obuasi to Anyiankwanta. The Ashanti regional minister and the NDC Aspirant for the Obuasi West constituency seat, Hon. Alexander Kobina Ackon, said the roads had been given out on contract and works will start soon. His party left power and nothing was done about the roads.
When the NPP government took power, pressure started mounting on them to do something about the roads. Shoddy works were done on some roads to keep the people quiet but the roads are back again to their previous bad nature. A perfect example is the Boete-Brahabebome stretch. Resealing was done about 12 months ago and currently as you are reading this, the road is back to as it was.
Movement for Obuasi Development
In July 2018, a group by the name Movement for Obuasi Development (MOD) took a strong stand against the bad nature of the roads in Obuasi. They came out with a press release and decided to embark on a demonstration. After submitting a letter to the Ghana Police Service, the service called them and raise some concerns. These concerns included:
TIME: They said the time of the Demo Notice is short and won’t help them mobilize resources to meet the demo’s demand.
INTELLIGENCE: Their Intel reveals there’s a looming galamsay insurrection and for that reason they could take advantage of the demo to cause mayhem.
PERSONNEL : They did not have enough men to deploy them for the Demo exercise and they at times have to fall on the region for men to execute certain operations.
The meeting was attended by the Divisional Police Commander, Municipal Commander, BNI Coordinator and the Municipal Chief Prosecutor. They represented the Ghana Police Service and the movement was also represented by Dina Bosompem, Yahaya Mohammed and Kingsford Boakye.
The demonstration was then withheld.
A week afterwards, they were again invited to a meeting with the Municipal Chief Executive, Hon. Elijah Adansi Bonnah. The meeting was attended by nine (9) people including the heads of the security agencies in Obuasi. Four people from MOD were also present.
The MCE claimed he didn’t receive their petition on time and three days after receiving the petition, he heard of their notice to the Police service to embark on a demonstration.
Concerning the roads, the MCE said the Obuasi-Anyiankwanta road consisted of 6 different districts and such contracts were awarded at the national level. He added that the Ghana Highways has awarded the contract to Josob Constructions. This later turned out to be false.
For the internal roads, he said 20km of them have been given to contract at GH¢2.9m. He added that the contractor said he couldn’t work in the rainy season so he is waiting for the rains to stop. So possibly in a month time he would come on site. Its being more than 3 months now.
After a visit of the MOD to the Obuasi Urbans Road department, they realised that some of the key internal roads have been awarded on contract but the contractors aren’t working on the sites. Reason? Money. Government have failed to pay some of these contractors for works they previously did so the Contractors aren’t prepared to work on new ones. The government knows this so why did they award these contracts to them?
Below are some of the projects, their contract sums, source of funding and the duration the projects were supposed to last.
Resealing Of Selected Roads In Obuasi (20km)
CONTRACTOR: Gwakunda Engineering Ltd.
CONTRACT SUM: GH¢ 2,900,702.60
DURATION: 12 months
SOURCE OF FUNDING: Road Fund (GOG)
AWARD DATE: 23rd March, 2018
CONTRACT SIGNING DATE: 23rd April, 2018.
Sealing Of Mactina To Gov’t Hill
CONTRACTOR: Brarine Company Limited
CONTRACT SUM: GH¢186,744.17 (GOG)
AWARD DATE: 20th November, 2017
Pothole Patching And Grading Works
CONTRACTOR: Geranks Ventures
CONTRACT SUM: GH¢1,974,657.15 (GOG)
DURATION: 12 Months
AWARD DATE: 23rd March, 2018
CONTRACT SIGNING DATE: 30th May, 2018
Emergency Sectional Repairs At Kunka Junction ( Kunka-Time FM Stretch)
CONTRACTOR: Nyame Wom Company Ltd
CONTRACT SUM: GH¢ 196,401.13 (GOG)
DURATION: 3 Months
AWARDED IN 2017
Pierro Wan Campaign
After the failed attempt to organise a demonstration by the MOD, Kingsley Boakye, known on social media as Pierro Wan started a campaign to draw attention to the Obuasi roads and corruption in Obuasi. He carried out Facebook Live videos and posts but he was met with stiff opposition from the supporters of the Obuasi MCE, who thought he was dragging the name of their darling boy and his party in the mud.
On 3rd October, he led a group called Concerned Citizens of Obuasi to organise a press conference at the Mawuli Hotel in Obuasi. He called on the President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo, to probe some projects and contracts awarded by the Obuasi MCE. The roads weren’t left out. He has been on various radio stations to promote this campaign and he has also received threats on his life.
The Way Forward
When a vehicle knocked down a young woman on the Madina-Adenta road bringing the number of fatalities to 195 this year, the residents said ‘no more’. They blocked the road and brought the capital to a standstill.
“Complete the foot bridges or no car passes here”, that was their simple message.
In less than 12 hours, the government came out with a press release saying it has tasked multiple contractors to complete the footbridges in one month! Unbelievable!
Obuasi has vomited gold for over 100 years. Royalties and taxes from the mine have been used to develop roads in other regions whiles the residents living inside the town have nothing good to write home about. How long can this go on? Demonstrations might not solve the problem… or they might. As residents of Obuasi, we must come together irrespective of our political differences and voice out our grievances to the President. The media must put Obuasi first. Mention can be made of Shaft FM which used to spend a lot of time discussing the Obuasi road. More is needed and expected from them and the other media houses in Obuasi. The MCE won’t do anything and the two Members of Parliament seem not to care since their V8’s are not affected by the bad roads in Obuasi. And by the way, how many times are they even in Obuasi? How will the President hear us and fix this disgrace? A question to every Obuasi resident.
Let me finish with this quote from Thomas Jefferson.
“I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical…It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.”