Visitors to the Kakum National Park are getting increasingly frustrated by the poor state of the uncompleted part of the Cape Coast-Twifo Praso road, one of the cocoa roads under construction.
Whiles the first twenty kilometers of the road from Abura to Frame has been tarred, the remaining stretch, spanning from Frame to the Kakum National Park, a distance of about six kilometres, is yet to be developed, leaving commuters particularly tourists to the Park no option than to bear the brunt of a bumpy and dusty ride.
The partial reconstruction of the thirty-kilometre stretch from the Abura area, in the Cape Coast Metropolis to the Kakum National Park in the Twifo Heman District, has slowed down due to a directive from the Ghana Cocoa Board in June 2017, halting all cocoa road projects.
Tourists who were at the park, during Citi News’ visit to the place, expressed frustration about the untarred stretch.
“It was very bumpy, and I think they can do better by doing that road because this is a tourist centre where many people come”, one lady complained.
Another tourist, a German, said “We came with a taxi and when the bad road started the driver drove very slowly because he did not want to spoil his car; I think something shouldn’t happen before the road will be done”.
Drivers also complained about how the untarred section has been damaging their cars, especially those that do not drive four-wheel cars.
According to Martin Alfa, the Executive Director of the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust, co-managers of the park with the Wild Life Division of the Forestry Commission, the untarred section has been dwindling patronage of the park over the years.
Data released earlier this year by the Ghana Heritage Conservation Trust indicates that patronage dropped from over 439 thousand in 2014, to around 280 thousand in 2015, while about 114 thousand visited the Park in 2017 as against 141 thousand in 2016.
The road was contracted to First Sky Limited during the ex-Mahama administration, but through a letter from the Central Regional office of the Ghana Highway Authority to First Sky Limited, cited by Citi News dated June 30th, 2017, a directive was issued for the work to be suspended.
The directive, originally from the Ghana Cocoa Board, partly stated that the suspension of work was to “allow for a general review and rationalization of the project with regards to scope”.
Though First Sky Limited continued working even after the directive up to somewhere early this year, the construction firm has now moved all equipment from the site.
When Citi News contacted Mr. Samuel K. Akuaku, the Central Regional Director of the Ghana Highway Authority, he said the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, issued a fresh directive on March 9th this year to the contractor to complete the Kakum National Park stretch.
He was thus shocked to learn that the contractor has left the site with his equipment, indicating that technically, the contractor is deemed to be on site per the new directive.
Attempts by Citi News to get First Sky Limited to explain their decision have been unsuccessful.