The Ministry of Information has published a letter indicating that the government has formed an inter-ministerial team to coordinate the response to the dam spillage-induced flooding of the Tongu districts.
The letter which is dated 13th October, with reference number PB126/171/93 and signed by the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, designated the Chief of Staff as the Chair of the team.
According to the letter, the directive was on the instruction of the President.
“On the instruction of the President of the Republic, an inter-ministerial team headed by the Chief of Staff has been set up to coordinate the government’s response to the unfortunate flooding of some communities following spilling from the Volta dam.”Ministry Of Information
The members of the inter-ministerial committee include the Chief of Staff (Chair), Minster of National Security, Minister of Interior, Minister of Defense, Minister of Energy, Minister of Finance, and Minister for Local Government, Minister for Works and Housing, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Minister from Environment, Minister Roads and Highways and Minister for Information.
Hence Albert Kan-Dapaah, Ambrose Derry, Dominic Nitiwul, Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Ken Ofori-Atta, Dan Kweku Botwe, Francis Asenso-Boakye, Kwaku Afriyie, Freda Prempeh, Samuel Jinapor, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah with Akosua Frema Osei-Opare.
Most of these minister are members of the cabinet. It is thus a commendable show of the government’s commitment to salvaging the unfortunate incident.
However, many people will expect the government to hold accountable, whoever has led the residents of Tongu districts into this mess.
An inter-ministerial committee is a group of senior government officials (usually ministers) from different ministries who work together in an ad-hoc manner to make a decision or enforce a policy.
Public Expectations Of The Inter-Ministerial Team
This act would be certainly welcomed by the residents of Tongu districts. However, government is expected to go beyond rhetoric and urgently act to save lives and properties. Many residents hope this will not be in the interest of public relations but a show of real public support. Also, Ghanaians will expect that this would not become another avenue for running the public purse down unduly.
It is a humanitarian crisis like many have underscored but the experience of COVID spending has created an alertness amongst the public over such coordinated efforts towards disaster management. Some have asked if NADMO were not enough to coordinate government’s response.
Albeit it a good suggestion, this move is a great indication of the depth of destruction in the Tongu districts.
The coordinated response, while being prudent and diligent with state resources, will be expected to first consider the option of slowing down the spillage if it is possible. The slow down may afford unaffected residents some time to safely move to higher grounds.
There are questions to be answered by the authorities of the Volta river Authority. However, this might not be the right time. The team may leave it for when all this is over. After all, this government knows how to “revive economies and not how to bring lives back” as said by the President during COVID. That approach is duly required here.
But it must be noted that, VRA must be held accountable.
Another and most expected effort people expect of this team is relief items. Food, shelter, beds, life jackets, financial supports, schools, among others will be very helpful in the immediate. This might be government’s first response as well.
Very importantly, the time must propose a lasting solution to circumvent a reoccurrence of this unfortunate event.
History must only remember this, the future should not experience this fate.
The composition of the committee is one that has the capacity to outdo these expectations.
As well, the public and all stakeholder, diplomatic community should rally behind this team to lend a helping hand to the compatriots in Tongu districts.