Conveners of the #FixTheCountry movement on Saturday, December 31, 2021, marched some 250 homeless citizens to be resettled at government’s abandoned Saglemi Housing project site.
The exercise however was stopped in its track by officers of the Ghana Police Service.
“Earlier today, the Ghana Police Service unlawfully interrupted the resettlement of over 250 homeless citizens including women and children who have been mobilized by #FixTheCountry to repossess the abandoned and now rapidly deteriorating Saglemi Housing Project.
“The citizens were interrupted while they were in the middle of a massive clean-up exercise to make the premises habitable. The interruption which took place over a four-hour period after some political party activists from one of the homeless communities tipped off the Ghana Police Service about the presence of the group at Saglemi,” the group wrote in a statement.
Despite the police action being described as peaceful by the group, it said the police engaged in an unlawful act by stopping them from resettling the homeless there.
“While the unlawful action by the Ghana Police Service was peaceful and did not lead to any casualties, #FixTheCountry considers their actions as contravening Article 41 of the 1992 Constitution, which places a burden on the citizens of this Country to protect and preserve public property and expose and combat misuse and waste of public funds and property,” the group said.
The group noted that it has in the past four months as part of its activism towards tackling homelessness and the practice of abandoned government projects, undertaken reconnaissance activities at Saglemi.
The purpose according to the group was to assess the state of the over 150 flats built as part of the Saglemi Housing Project.
“Our activists have taken over a 1000-pictures and have recorded several hours of video footage over the four-month period in preparation for our resettlement of homeless Ghanaians in various abandoned public properties. The pictures and videos show the deplorable state in which a project which cost the government over 200 million dollars was left abandoned and now in a serious state of deterioration.
“During the four-month period, our activists have mapped out all facilities which were left abandoned at Saglemi, including buses, power plant, polytanks, streetlights and all kinds of furniture and fittings. We have also taken note of the ongoing theft on a massive scale of all these furniture and fittings at Saglemi. We also observed that contrary to claims made publicly, Saglemi was not at any time during the four-month period under any surveillance or protection that suggests that the Government has every intention to abandon the properties,” the group said.
Grounding their action in the 1992 Constitution, the group said it will not cease in its efforts to protect public property and the right of citizens to decent housing.
“In the next few days, we will be holding a press conference to address the public on our enduring commitment to Occupy Saglemi; and to release the pictures and videos. We want Ghanaians to see the true statement of our democracy and the wickedness of those we call our leaders,” it added.
About Saglemi Housing Project
In August 2012, as part of moves to alleviate the housing deficit of this country, the then President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama signed a $280 million deal to construct 5,000 housing units at Saglemi in the Ningo-Prampram District.
Then the Government changed hands.
Under the new administration, the first phase of 1502 flats was said by the Works and Housing Minister, Samuel Atta Akyea (now replaced) to be being made available to Ghanaians by December 2020.
But the project has since been saddled with controversy as the current administration accuses the Mahama administration of supervising a corrupt deal that shortchanged the public purse – allegations appointees of the Mahama administration deny.