Agape demo: You have spoilt your case – MCE fights Agape residents, as protesters boo at him

Residents of Agape within Ablekuma in the Anyaa Sowutuom Constituency on Friday, 10 December 2021, booed at the Ga Central Municipal Chief Executive, Mohammed Bashir, for claiming that their demonstration to get the authorities to fix their bad roads was influenced by unseen hands.

The demonstrators wielded placards with messages such as: “We’re tired of the promises”, “We are part of Ghana”, “#FixAgapeRoadsNow”, “Residents of Agape also pay taxes”, “Residents of Agape deserve better”, “We are citizens and not spectators”, “Agape lives matter”, among others.

Speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the demonstration, Mr Bashir said road works were ongoing, “so if it is about roads, we are fixing them”.

He said the demonstrators “never engaged” him on the matter but he only got to know of it at the eleventh hour and made overtures to them nonetheless and, so, was surprised to see them marching today.

“They were expecting 5,000 demonstrators but you can see that even the police are more than the demonstrators because some of the residents have realised that on the principle of reasonability, the roads, which they are complaining about, are being fixed, so, why still go on with the demonstration?” he noted.

“We are not talking about promises. The gravels have been heaped on the road; you saw it. So, it’s not about promises. Who is promising them? It’s about reality, it’s about actual work that is going on”, he retorted to a question asked by Class91.3FM’s Joshua Kojo Mensah about the residents’ complaints that several promises have been made in the past by officialdom to fix the road but to no avail.

The MCE said: “The MP is using his share of the common fund to do what you are seeing on the road”, adding: “We have denied other areas of the needed development to come and then attend to this road situation”.

“So, if in spite of all that and people are demonstrating, then I still don’t know what the demonstration is all about”, he noted.

To him, a lot of effort has gone into getting the roads fixed.

“All that you have started seeing is about the commitment of the Nana Addo government to ensure that the road network is improved all over”, he argued, revealing: “As we are talking now, 30 different projects have been awarded. The contractors are not on [the] site, so, do you blame the government that the contractors are not on [the] site?”

“Just yesterday, around 8 am, I was Urban Roads to address this and other road problems in the municipality. So, it’s not about promises; work is ongoing. It’s rather the demonstration that has stalled the work. I don’t think the best way to go [about it] is to on a demonstration”, he noted.

Mr Bashir continued: “I met them yesterday [Thursday] and that is why it is surprising that today, this demonstration is going on. You have not come to me. I rather came to you when I heard about the demonstration; the planned, intended action. So, I came and organised them at ICGC; we started the meeting at 7 o’clock and ended around 9:50. I told them what we’ve been through, the processes involved especially, with the heaps of gravel that you are seeing everywhere on the road”.

“So, as you are interviewing me, if you are going on a demonstration because food has not been provided to you and they provide you with the food, will you still go on the demonstration?” he asked the journalists.

When the journalists pointed out to him that the lack of trust in officialdom as a result of past nonfulfillment of promises could be the reason the demonstrators still went ahead with the march despite his last-minute intervention, Mr Bashir retorted: “It’s not about public trust. It’s about whoever is influencing them to embark on what they are doing”.

“You said your roads [are bad], they have started working on the roads and still you are going on a demonstration to do what? That the road should be stopped? The road work should stop or what?”

Responding to the MCE’s allegation, Mr Abraham Wobil, the convener of the demonstration, said the march was purely out of the frustration the residents have endured for years as a result of the bad roads in the community.

“Not at all. Incited from where?” he asked, explaining: “What we are saying is that year in year out we keep on seeing gravels being brought to the road and being spread around”.

“Please, if you are talking of incitement, I’m not sure … the frustration did not begin today; it started way back and there were signals that the youth wanted to hit the streets. He came in at the last hour and then decided to speak to us. What I’m hearing is that he came into office about a month ago; it’s quite unfortunate but what we want him to understand is that this problem has been there for years and it remains unfixed, so, the youth have decided to hit the streets and pour out their frustration. The number speaks for itself”.


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