Apparently, a few people are happy to see the mayor of Accra directing traffic. “He’s a hands on person,” some have said and “it’s good to see him lending a hand to ease the traffic. It shows he cares.” To all this, I say ‘crap’! I am not impressed in the least. Annoying doesn’t even come close to describing how I feel and what I think about Alfred Vanderpuije’s latest gimmick.

It is not the mayor’s job to be directing traffic. It’s a job for police officers and city guards. When a mayor decides to take on traffic duties, he either has nothing to do or he just seeking attention. In the case of Alfred Vanderpuije, sadly, I think it’s both.

Vanderpuije has completely lost the plot.

Since he became mayor Vanderpuije hasn’t achieved any success he can be proud off. The so-called ‘decongestion exercise’ has failed. The slums he vowed to shut down are still wide open. Accra is still stinky and filthy. His attempt to abolish the shift system in basic schools has only created more problems for teachers, who now have to grapple, in some cases, with 80 pupils in a class. Traffic is awful. People are building haphazardly, the city gets flooded with the least amount of rainfall, social services are poor and the city cannot even manage its waste. It’s a terrible situation we live in. It’s like there is no leader in the city and Accra is an apology to any capital city.

Instead of sitting in his office, with his thinking cap on, to come up with clear, well thought-out policies to deal with Accra’s mega-problems, Vanderpuije is out there seeking cheap approval. He makes it seem like being on the street will help ease the horrendous traffic in the city and with it all the city’s problems. What is most surprising is that some people do not see through his ruse.

If the mayor is doing such a good job by doing things that his subordinates should be doing, he could as well go around sweeping the city’s public toilets, picking up refuse from the markets and sorting out the garbage at the main dumpsite at Oblogo. He could as well move from office to office, house to house, flushing toilets and scrubbing bathrooms.

But then what haven’t we seen before. We saw Rawlings desilting gutters and weeding in years past. Those gutters he so gladly jumped into with a shovel are as chocked and stinky today as there were 20 years. It tells you that populist stunts yield nothing. Thinking does, strategizing and focused implementation of clear, sensible policies achieve a lot. Unfortunately, Vanderpuije is not doing any of these.

If someone doesn’t call him to order soon, just two or three years down the road, we would all look back and realize that this bearded man who was plucked from a school in North Carolina to become the mayor of Accra, only succeeded in making Accra one of the worst cities in the world to live in. Accra needs a heads-on mayor, not a hands-on incompetent who suffers from attention deficiency disorder.


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