Tema ‘White House’ rots away while decentralized departments have no offices

The ‘White House’, one of the iconic buildings in Tema, is rotting away and needs urgent refurbishment to provide office accommodation for the various decentralized departments under the Tema West Municipal Assembly (TWMA). The two-story building which looks solid and attractive from afar has not seen any major renovation works since its construction many years ago. Checks from the Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), the mother assembly of the TWMA revealed that Tema ‘White House’ was named after the USA White House to mimic its importance and power when the revolutionary officers hijacked it after it was built to house the TMA in the early 1980s. Mr. Frank Asante, Tema Metropolitan Public Relations Officer told the Ghana News Agency that, the building was constructed to house the TMA, as part of the Tema Ministry Enclave. He said the area also has the offices of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS), Audit Service, Labour, Rent Control, Health Directorate, Ghana Revenue Authority, Environmental Protection Agency, and Agric Department among others. Mr. Asante added that however during the coup in 1981, the revolutionary officers took over the building and used it for their activities including the summons, and adjudications. He said with that, Nii Armarh Ashitey, opted for the construction of the current office of TMA at the business central area to house the Assembly, making decentralized departments to occupy it after the officers vacated it. In 2010, the then Tema Metropolitan Security Council (MESEC) toured the building and took the decision to relocate the Electoral Commission, and the Tema Magistrate Court from the second floor which had serious structural cracks with the concrete ceiling falling off on workers. Thirteen years after, when the Ghana News Agency visited the ‘White House’ which is now under the TWMA, it was observed that even though the first and second floors have been vacated, the ground floor still houses the Tema Metro offices of the National Service Secretariat, Non-Formal Education, and Co-operative Department. Two of the offices have also been recently painted ready to house the Tema West Office of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). Climbing to the first and second floors of the ‘white house’, revealed that there were deep structural cracks, with fungal-infested walls. Deep holes have been created in the ceiling as the concrete has fallen off over the long years of non-maintenance, the iron rods holding the concrete roofs, were exposed and rusty an indication of corrosion due to contact with water coming from leakages from the roof. One of the offices have household items with the door locked with a small padlock, the GNA gathered that a woman who was ejected from her room around the area took over the place and was using it as a home. Yousif, a Burkinabe haulage truck driver’s mate, the GNA spotted charging his phone in one of the most affected rooms which used to house the Magistrate Court, said the woman often went out in the morning and returned at night to sleep. Ms. Afia Mansa, a food vendor operating on the compound of the ‘white house’, said she was the unofficial caretaker of the building as she updated officials of the TWMA whenever they visited the place on the happenings there. Ms. Mansa said day in and day out people came around to look at the possibility of renting the place. Meanwhile, checks at TMWA revealed that the engineers recently visited the ‘white house’ and preparing to renovate it.

Source: Ghana News Agency