Development in every district or municipality is the joy of citizens living in the areas where such development takes place, more especially when such developments lead to the creation of employment opportunities.
The case of a particular development in the West Akim Municipality in the Eastern Region where the Municipal Chief Executive is accused of forcefully taking over school land of the Asamankese Senior High School (Asasco) for a number of private developers to build factories under the 1 District 1 Factory (1D1F) initiative of the government is, however, not going down well with current and old students and citizens of Asamankese.
News filtering in from Asamankese indicates that the MCE Hon Seth Oduro Boadu, wrote to the school directly requesting the land for the project. When the request was denied, he submitted another request to the School Management Board (SMB) which also received a negative response. The MCE then resorted to taking the law into his own hands by moving equipment to the sight to clear an area for commencement of work for the ID1F project. The SMB, in an effort to halt the arbitrary actions of the MCE, wrote to the Ghana Education Service (GES) and the Ministry of Education (MOE) but with no immediate response coming in. Perhaps emboldened by the slow response from the school, the MCE went ahead to clear about three acres of land planted with citrus that is used in supplementing feeding for the students.
For the records, Asasco was adjudged the best Senior High School in Practical Agriculture in Ghana in 2019 at the National Farmers Day Awards. The school has large acreage of land under cultivation of various products for feeding students.
Appeals by old students of the school to the DCE, incidentally, a former teacher of the school, has fallen on deaf ears. The fears of students, school management as well as old students is heightened by the fact that the building contractors have been moved to site land and work is proceeding at breakneck speed; protests notwithstanding. Few old students who spoke on the issue expressed dismay at the development, among others, on the fact that the MCE’s actions also represents gross disrespect to the chief of the town Osabarima Adu Darko III who is represented on the Board by the Chairperson. Further, the MCE do not seem to appreciate the fact that the 1D1F project is a private project for which public resource cannot be forcefully marshalled to execute. The old students further indicated their readiness to head to the highest authorities of the land to seek redress in what they call “Rambo Style” actions akin to dictatorship and jungle rule of leadership exhibited by the MCE.
A few of the students and citizens of Asamankese who were reached for their views indicated that the fact that the MCE represents the President at the district level does not give him the power to forcefully take over public property without agreements and negotiations and for private use. They have, therefore, threatened to hit the streets soon to call for the removal of the MCE from office if he did not give up his illegal activities on the encroached land and settle score with the school.
The rumour in town which is yet to be verified is that the amount released to support the establishment of the 1D1F project in the municipality is huge and probably in an effort to let the money stay in the municipality, the forceful take-over of public land for private development. Efforts to speak with the DCE for his side of the story hit a snag as he was out of the office and the GES is yet to respond to letters sent to them on the matter. A visit to the site where work has started, was bereft of the usual signage which indicates the kind of project, the name and identity of contractors, source of funding and beneficiaries.