Friday, October 02, 2009

rights and wrongs

The metropolis of Accra seems poised to evict squatters in the communities of Sodom and Gomorrah and to push out the traders at Agbogbloshie market, the Joy newpspaer and Peace FM report.

Here's a doozie: while giving lip service to the human rights of squatters to live in better conditions, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, head of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, told reporters that he is "in negotiations with the Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water Company and other utility providers to halt the provision of their services to the slum."

So, in order to have them live better, he will cut off their water and electricity.

Let's call this two-faced approach what it is: duplicity.

Remember, this is the same politician who said in prior articles that there were plenty of vacant apartments that the squatters could rent in Accra.

The government is also pushing merchants at the local market further out of town, according to another article from Peace FM.

2 comments:

Jean said...

The Accra informal settlement officials so derogatively referred to as 'Sodom and Gomorrah' is in fact the poor but highly industrious market settlement of Old Fadama / Agbogbloshie. Research done in 2004 by COHRE consultants (reported as "A Precarious Future: The Informal Settlement of Agbogbloshie") demonstrated that the settlement had been unduly blamed for the pollution of Korle Lagoon, and that contrary to the official consultants' reports, in-situ upgrading was indeed feasible across most of the settlement. (Let me know if anyone needs a copy). I was involved in this research, and have since that time frequently argued and remain convinced that the reasons for the removal are both unreasonable and unjust (see my case study at http://eau.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/17/1/123.pdf). The option of in-situ upgrading should be squarely on the table during negotiations between the residents and the authorities. It is extraordinary that so many years have passed with so little progress. And it is outrageous that the option of forced eviction is again being considered. The enormous energies taken up in (unnecessarily) trying to move this relatively small group away from where they have settled should rather have gone into building an innovative vision of how to resolve the situation of the huge and growing populations of people living in chronic tenure insecurity in Accra, Kumasi and a number of other smaller but rapidly growing urban centres in Ghana.
Jean du Plessis (duplessisjean7@gmail.com)

rn said...

Thanks, Jean, for this valuable background.

Indeed, I believe that forced eviction should never be considered--ever. It is always possible to work with the people on site.

And, just to clarify, I called the community Sodom and Gomorrah because that's what the locals I know call it.

If you have any additional news, please post it here.