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    What government officials have said about Volta floods that have triggered public reactions

    When conversations surrounding the spillage of the Akosombo and Kpong Dams started, it was expected. This is because of the extent of shocking destruction, followed by the flooding situation they brought onto some 11 constituencies in the Eastern and Volta Regions.

    Whether from government officials, civil society groups, concerned citizens, or even other not-directly affected individuals, with the gravity and extent of devastation the spillage caused, it was not surprising to see the national scope of attention it has received.

    And being an exercise undertaken by a state institution for that matter—the Volta River Authority—when the politicians spoke, it carried the expected weightiness it deserved, but the case has not been the most pleasant for all of them.

    In some two major instances, two of these government officials have courted a great deal of public disdain for what they said about the situation, particularly when, as many experts have said, these things could have been avoided.

    Akufo-Addo’s comments during his visit to some affected areas in the Volta Region:

    During his visit to some of the affected communities in the Volta Region, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo addressed a gathering at Mepe, the community most affected by the floods.

    Along the way, the president made some comments that, as some people have said, were in jest.

    President Akufo-Addo, among others, told the affected community that its people do not vote for him and that if it was a matter of who does or not, he would not have given them the needed support.

    “I need everybody here (to understand) and I hope you take the message all across… that when these things happen and the government acts, politics does not come into the matter at all. When I took the oath of office as president, I took the oath of office as president for every single individual in Ghana, of all the people in Ghana, all districts.

    “And whether they voted for me or not, once I have taken the oath of office, I am the president of all the people. So Togbe, I want the people here, beginning with you and the elders to understand that when something like this happens and the government acts, government is acting for Ghanaians, all Ghanaians.

    “I came here because Ghanaians are having difficulties and suffering. And it is my responsibility to try and help. Because if it is the question of counting who votes for me and who doesn’t vote for me? I shouldn’t be here because you don’t vote for me. But that is not my concern. And in any event, one day you would vote for me and my party,” he said.

    But many were incensed at President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for his choice of words and over his insensitivity to the many who had been affected by the spillage.

    ‘They refused to leave’ – Sanitation minister blames victims of dam spillage:

    The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Freda Akosua Oheneafrewo Prempeh, also became the centre of public disdain after she claimed the affected persons refused to leave when they were warned about it.

    According to her, the government, through relevant agencies, is currently deploying funds to ease the affairs of people who had refused to evacuate, even when the Volta River Authority (VRA), the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) and the Water Resources Commission (WRC) had warned of consequences arising from the planned spillage of the Akosombo Dam.

    “We don’t want what has happened in Akosombo to happen to us in Accra. The Akosombo spillage even though VRA, NADMO, the Water Resources Commission came together to educate the people in the community, did simulation exercises with them even at Mepe, yet they refused to leave; they didn’t want to be evacuated.

    “They stayed on till the end when we started spilling; unfortunately, look at what is happening, and government has to spend millions of monies on relief items, education, the whole area, the water is contaminated.

    “A stitch in time saves nine; we cannot sit back and allow situations like that… Now people are blaming government, people are blaming VRA, people are blaming NADMO, but these three institutions did a lot of education right from January till September,” she stressed.

    Again, several people expressed their disappointment in the minister over the ill-timed statements she made.

    In both cases, none of the public officials has issued an apology.


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