More than 300 people in and around Oti and Kuwait, both suburbs of the Asokwa Municipal Assembly, picketed last Monday morning to register their displeasure at the maltreatment at the hands of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA).
The picketing affected tens of refuse collectors and thereby affected their daily income as the aggrieved gathered in front of the Oti landfill site.
According to them, the KMA has supervised the landfill site for about 17 years and generated millions of Ghana cedis in revenue and did not care about the lives of residents in the area.
The serious stench from the heaped garbage at the site, the intimated, was causing several airborne and respiratory diseases resulting in the loss of several lives.
Numerous attempts, according to them, to get the KMA to continuously fumigate the area to prevent diseases and deaths have fallen on death ears.
Some of the aggrieved protestors who spoke to journalists questioned why KMA should still be taking revenues from the dumping of wastes at the site when they were no longer under KMA but Asokwa Municipal Assembly (ASMA).
“Because they don’t live here they don’t care about us, whether we die or not but if Asokwa Municipal is responsible for the landfill site, we know them and they can’t take off their eyes while we and our loved ones die,” Emma Cuscus, a resident, told this reporter.
Assembly member for the Kuwait-Aprabon-Oti, Elliot Fosu Bannor, who led the residents, said the posture of the KMA on the matter was not only demeaning but wicked.
“Just when they heard that we will be picketing today, they brought journalists here over the weekend and fumigated about four houses only, why would anybody deliberately look away for his brothers and sisters to die of diseases,” he noted.
According to Mr Barnor, the KMA has exploited Oti residents for far too long and the time has come for the residents to resist them in order to save the remaining lives.
He said the KMA had failed in its responsibility of fumigating the area as agreed with the chiefs and elders before the land was given to them as a dumping site
He, therefore, called on the Metro Chief Executive for KMA, Osei Assibey Antwi, to hand over all documentations and contractual details to the Asokwa Municipal Assembly so the latter could take over and manage the site since it lies within their jurisdiction.
“I am surprised that for all these while the KMA has refused to hand over the landfill site to the Asokwa Municipal Assembly so they manage it and ensure the stench threatening to cause diseases and deaths of residents could be treated by the new management,” Mr Barnor stressed.
From the landfill site, the protestors marched to the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council where they presented a petition to the regional minister.
They warned that if nothing was done about their petition within two weeks, they would organise a massive demonstration to press home their demand.
Reading portions of the petition to this reporter, the assembly man noted that there have been several discussions with the KMA to hand over the site to Asokwa to manage but to no avail.
Story: From James APPIAKORANG JNR., KUMASI, ASHANTI REGION