…Zoomlion Cries Foul
By Gifty Arthur
The ugliest side of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s “Night of Bliss” crusade in Ghana last Friday evening through to Saturday morning at the Black Star Square, was brought to the fore, when the much-talked about programme came to a close.
The venue popularly known as Independence Square, which is always kept neat and tidy by city authorities was in a total mess last Saturday morning, when The Herald visited.
It clearly looked as though the mantra “cleanliness is next to godliness” was thrown to the dogs by the Christian worshipers, who stormed the national ceremonial grounds in search for miracles.
The Police blocked major roads for the Friday crusade angering those who ply the Central Business District and the John Evans Atta Mills High Street to the Ministries area and the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, as they went through lots of stressful situation to move about.
When the crusade was over, the attendees, who came from all walks of life, had covered the entire ceremonial ground with filth with places such as the Ministries, the environs of the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium, the Volta River Authority (VRA) building, the John Evans Atta Mills High Street and many roads, leading to the Osu township, not spared.
Sachet water rubbers, plastic water bottles, takeaway packs, black polythene bags and yoghurt wrappers, were scattered almost everywhere, including the drains around. Although there were bins placed at vantage points, per what this reporter observed, it looked as though the bins were not enough or people just refused to walk to where the bins had been placed to dispose off their filth.
Some workers of waste management company, Zoomlion Ghana, who were spotted trying to tidy the place, looked helpless as at 11 am. They dreaded the workload on their hands that morning, because they hadn’t planned for it. The company complained that, it was not involved in the organization of the crusade, but had to clean the entire place and its surrounding, because they felt obliged.
The General Manager-Accra, Gerrshon Sogbey, lamented to The Herald “this has cost us a lot of work this morning looking at the fact that today is National Sanitation Day, this has cost us double the workout…”.
He regretted his organization was not involved in the planning.
“As far as I am concerned, I am the general manager for Zoomlion, they haven’t contacted us directly. I manage the whole of Accra and I have not received any contact directly from the organizers of the programme. I don’t know if there are other stakeholders that they involved, but for all I know they have not contacted us directly”, he said.
According to Mr. Sogbey, “such programmes should be well organized, with all stakeholders involved from day one till the last person leaves the venue after the programme”.
The Zoomlion General Manager-Accra who openly declared, “I am so much disappointed” disclosed that, since his company was responsible for the cleaning of the city, it had to tidy up the venue, the ministries, the Stadium area and streets, and later sit down with authorities.
But he was sure, they will be able to clear the mess on time to avoid the plastics going into the drains.
Meanwhile, the Managing Editor of the Insight Kwesi Pratt, has angrily condemned State security authorities for blocking the roads in the capital on a day which was supposed to be busy.
As part of the preparations to avert vehicular congestion, areas such as the Afua Sutherland Children’s Park, Arts Centre/Hearts Park, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and others, were designated for car parks.
Mr. Pratt questioned the logic in closing those roads and particularly using the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum as a car park.
“A Nigerian Pastor is only coming to pray here, why all this? As if it’s a Presidential visit. I would even care if you do all this, but how can you use Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park as a car park. I’m totally shocked about the way we’re treating this visit. It’s like [President] Obama coming to Ghana. Even if we don’t respect, should it be this way? We have no respect for our history and so on, isn’t it? I’m so [so] angry.”
He further asked, why the authorities could not exercise their authority for the “Night of Bliss” event to have been held on a weekend and not a week day as Friday. “Why should this event occur on a Friday; which is already a very bad day? Saturday is better. Sunday is better. Why Friday?”
Roads, which were blocked included: 28 February road at the CEPS Headquarters traffic light, Starlets ’91’ road at the Ministries traffic light, Castle Road, at the AU Circle towards the State House, Labone Junction among others.
Pastor Chris church, Christ Embassy, headquartered in Nigeria, which organized the crusade attracted nationals from Nigeria, Benin, Mali, Togo, Ivory Coast Burkina Faso.
The crusade was held in the evening from 6, but reports said people trooped to the venue Thursday night through to the morning till evening.