MP, TMA clash… over demolishing of illegal structures

A demolition exercise by a Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA) Taskforce to clear illegal structures in front of the Cocoa Village in Tema Community Two ended in confusion as the Deputy Minister of Transport and Member of Parliament for the Tema West, Carlos Kingsley Ahenkorah, led the residents to attack the taskforce.

The Deputy Minister, who was unhappy with the exercise, led the owners of the structures to resist the exercise undertaken on Thursday.

In the melee, Mr Ahenkorah charged on the Assembly’s Metropolitan Engineer, Mr Maxwell Adu Boateng, who had to flee in one of the Assembly’s vehicle.

As the vehicle left the scene, the angry MP, who is a member of the Assembly, was seen chasing and banging on the windows of the pick-up vehicle demanding of Mr Boateng to alight.

Efforts by the police personnel accompanying the team to restrain the Deputy Minister failed, resulting in an abrupt end to the exercise.

 

The taskforce consisting of personnel from the TMA, Ghana Navy, Police, and Tema Restoration Project, appeared helpless as they watched the MP in action.

The Management of the Ghana Cocoa Board had since 2016, presented three letters to appeal to the TMA to address the springing up of unauthorised structures in front of the fencewall of the Cocoa Village.

 

According to one of the letters from COCOBOD to the TMA, dated 0ctober 19, 2016, “the ongoing construction works at the Cocoa Village pose a threat to the people living in the illegal structures,” and asked the TMA for an immediate removal of the structures.

The Metropolitan Engineer told the Ghanaian Times that he left the scene to calm tension.

He said the MP threw a punch which he escaped, and later went into the vehicle to leave the area because the MP had been shouting that “blood will flow” and “I wanted to avoid that.”

He said he had to be escorted back to the office by the Naval personnel to ensure his safety.

The Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive, Mr Felix Mensah Nii Annan-La, in statement on the incident, described the development as unfortunate, especially as Mr Ahenkorah is also a member of the TMA and was privy to the exercise.

He, however, said the Assembly would not be deterred and will continue with the demolition exercise to ensure that the property of the Ghana Cocoa Board was protected.

 

According to him, he had engaged the MP of the area severally on the issue, and the people encroaching were aware that where they had sited their facilities and were doing business was not right.

“It is necessary to evict them, and I don’t know why any individual would contest the Assembly. It is our job,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahenkorah, who is also a Board Member of the COCOBOD, has denied attacking the engineer.

He told the Ghanaian Times yesterday that as the representative of the people, he was only trying to protect them and their livelihood and therefore telling them to resist the demolition until an alternative place has been found for them.

Mr Ahenkorah said he had not been informed and the TMA Chief Executive had told him they had not done so because it was an Assembly decision.

He said as a Board Member of the COCOBOD, he was also not aware that there was going to be a demolition exercise.

He said he went to the scene because the residents had called him and were crying which moved him because the demolishing meant that people would lose their source of livelihood and homes.

From Dzifa Tetteh, Tema

 

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