A massive housing project to provide an initial 30,000 units for the country's security agencies kicked off with a sod-cutting ceremony performed by President John Atta Mills at the Tesano Police Depot in Accra on 27th January 2011. The public-private partnership between the Government of Ghana and STX Engineering and Construction Company of Korea involves $ 1.50 billion and is aimed at providing decent accommodation for more than 70 percent of Ghanaians who cannot afford to buy or build their own houses.
Lets hear what the people of Chorkor, a fishing community along the coastal area of the capital, Accra.
DEDEI AYIM (CHORKOR)
“We are very pleased with the President for the affordable housing projects he has started all over the country. For a very long time a good number of Ghanaians have been asking why accommodation has become a problem? Because of the money foreigners are willing to pay landlords, they are quick to eject tenants from their rooms. Every corner you turn, you are likely to see people struggling over little spaces in order to conduct one business or the other. It is a very good thing the President has launched the affordable housing project which would bring relief to the poor. We ask God to give him longer life.”
NII ABEY ABEY (CHORKOR)
“ Although we are excited about this project which is taking place across the country, we must ask ourselves who are going to be the beneficiaries. There is a section in society who think the poor man do not deserve to live in a nice house and all the comfort that comes with. Every now and then we are being asked to take pride in being citizens of this country and yet the policies and measures which are adopted in no way go to enforce this. The gap between the poor and the rich keeps widening every day and no one in a stronger position is interested in closing this gap. We have placed our trust in this President and we would wait to see what he can to achieve after eight years is over.
KORKOR TETTEH (CHORKOR)
“ It was recently that I came to understand that there are many people who pay money to vehicle owners so that they could be allowed to sleep in their vehicles when they park them at night. It is just incredible but it is happening. Parked vehicles full of mosquitoes have now become sources of accommodation. The situation is horrible and I believe anything and everything which can be done to avert the growing problem of many people without accommodation must be addressed with immediate effect because the people of this country have suffered enough.”
NII OBENG QUAO (CHORKOR)
“ I want to call on the people of this country to start reading the history of this country so they can appreciate the monumental developments which are taking place in this country today. Never in the history of our dear nation apart from the times of Kwame Nkrumah has there been such a massive housing project and yet people out of ignorance would come and try and convince us that this project is nothing to write home about. When we gave them our mandate for good eight years all they could do was to make property for themselves and their families. We must be careful and guard against such deceptions else we would end up driving away nationalist leaders who are striving to seek our welfare. They did it to Nkrumah and it must not happen to Mills.”
NAA TEKI MENSAH (CHORKOR)
“As you are very much aware there are many Ghanaians who live in pathetic and deplorable conditions when it came to housing. The situation on the campuses across the country is also one which is very frightening. The students have virtually no where to sleep after lectures and this problem must be addressed. The few hostels are charging astronomical fees and the students who come from poor backgrounds are not able to afford them. I hope this housing programme would also concentrate on addressing the plight of the students of the various universities across the country. These are the men and women who would be taking charge of our dear nation and yet this is the kind of treatment we are giving them.”
ISSIFU QUAYE (CHORKOR)
“I want to call on all Ghanaians to support this government because they are taking us to higher grounds. I believe this president also came at the right time. He has had many challenges but he has managed to confront them with patience and wisdom. Every year we complain about basic things that a people need in order that they would be able to take part in economic activity with peace and happiness but unfortunately, none of the governments which we elected was able to implement our the very things they promised us. Professor Mills is making a difference and I want to urge him to remain focused and steady. If he ends up doing things which would create more discomfort for the people them the goodwill he is currently enjoying would soon shrivel into irrelevance. God be with u my brother.”
ODARKOR TETTEH (CHORKOR)
“ I do not take this affordable housing project as a surprise because it is for these reasons we elect governments every 4 years. It is our taxes they use in pursuing these programmes but I would congratulate the President because of the vision and the direction he has decided to channel our national resources. Others would have built Presidential monuments and bought private jets whilst the majority of the people have no access to basic amenities like housing and clean water. They have deceived us for long and this is an opportunity for President Mills to make a difference. The unnecessary increases in the price of fuel and other utilities must also be brought to a complete halt because it is killing the already impoverished Ghanaian.”
ERNEST DROEPENU (CHORKOR)
“ I support the affordable housing scheme for the fact that the many students who come from the hinterlands or rural areas to study in Accra do not have proper structures to accommodate them whilst they are here and for that matter this project must be applauded. However I need someone to explain to me what they mean when they say the houses are affordable because for me that term is relative. There are some people who can afford to pay GHC500 a month for the payment of those houses and others cannot, so what exactly do they mean when they say the houses are affordable? Certainly the shoe shine boy who makes a little over GH5 a day cannot afford to buy these houses. All I want to say is that if there is not a deliberate attempt at sheltering the very poor and destitute in society, given the monies involved, they can never dream of owning these houses we are made to believe are affordable. Is the rich and affluent again going to add this to their tall order of wealth? President Mills there are very poor people in this country so please listen to their plight for they have found refuge in you.”