THE ACCRA METROPOLITAN ASSEMBLY (AMA)
History Of The AMA
The first attempt to set up a town council dates back to 1859 under an Ordinance, which was repealed in January 1861. In 1898, however, the Accra Town Council was formally established under the Town Council Ordinance of 1894.
The first meeting of the Council was held on 14th February of the same year. In 1943, the Accra Council was established under the Accra Town Council Ordinance of the same year.
In 1944, a new Constitution came into being after the Accra Town Council had existed for 46 years with an elected membership of seven – five appointed by the Government and two by the Ga Native Authority.
The Constitution was again revised in September, 1953, thus increasing the membership from 14 – 31, and establishing the Accra Municipal Council; 27 representatives for the Wards and four representing the Traditional Authority.
After Ghana had attained Independence, an amendment to the 1953 constitution removed traditional representation completely. The Council thus became a wholly representative institution.
The Accra City Council was the first of the 58 District Councils to be intergrated under the New Local Government System to promote efficiency in the administrative machinery of the Council and to meet the ever-pressing demand for amenities and essential services by the rate payers. Six Area Councils were created under the new system. They are Ablekuma, Ashiedu Keteke, Kpeshie, Okaikwei, Osu-Klottey, which are semi-autonomous.
On 29th June 196, Accra was declared a City and the Council thus became the Accra City Council. A further development took place in March, 1963 with the establishment of the Accra-Tema Development Corporation with responsibility for certain functions that were formerly carried out by the Council.
The Accra City Council was dissolved in August 1964 and the Greater Accra Area was created and a Special Commission appointed. The Special Commission was made administratively responsible for the Accra-Tema City Council. In the same year, the Executive Chairman of the Accra-Tema City Council was appointed.
Histroy Of Accra
Accra has been Ghana’s capital since 1877, and is today one of the most populated and fast growing Metropolis of Africa with a population of about 1,695,136 million people and an annual growth rate of 3.36%. The capital was transferred from Cape Coast 125 years ago.
Accra is derived from the Akan “nkran” meaning “an army of ants”. It is apparent that the name “nkran” or “nkranfo” is attributed to the thousands of anthills, which dotted the Accra plains.
Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, declared Accra a city – the first city of Ghana, in 1961. Accra is not only the seat of Government but also the capital of the Greater Accra Region. Its outlets and inlets cover sea, air and land including rail and motorways.
Thus, links to the outside world and the other parts of the country were created. Accra is set to play a unique role. Accra opens like a huge page against the sky, showing its tropical and lush panoramic setting. There are about 44 foreign embassies in the city of Accra.
The growth and development of Accra could be attributed to the building of three European forts as trading posts. The first of these was Fort Crevecouer, built by the Dutch in 1650, which was later renamed Ussher Fort.
In 1661 the Danes built the second, Christianborg Castle at Osu, about three kilometres from the centre of Accra. Fort James built by the British followed this in 1673. For several years, the Christianborg Castle was the official residence of the Governors of the Gold Coast. After Independence, however, it was renovated in a manner befitting the seat of the Ghana Government, and renamed THE CASTLE.
It will be recalled that the ashes of the late George Padmore, a great Pan Africanist and freedom fighter were interred in the walls of this castle. Dr. W.E. Du Bois, father of Pan Africanism and before his death, Editor of the Encyclopaedia Africana was also buried within the precincts of the Castle. However his remains have been removed to the Du Bois Centre.
The other two forts in Accra were converted into prisons, the James Fort and the Ussher Fort Prisons. Another interesting feature of the former is that Dr. Kwame Nkrumah then leading the struggle for Independence from British colonialism was held in jail in the James Fort prison for nearly a year.
The Origin of the Indigenous People of Accra
Some historians believe that the people of Lante Dsan-We were first to settle in Accra. Another school of thought has it that the first settlers of Accra were probably the Guans or the Obutus from Western Ghana.
However, it is traditionally believed that the ancestors of the present inhabitants of James Town (Ngleshie) were believed to have migrated from Nigeria, probably in the beginning of the 15th century. The Ga Mashie people – meaning indigenous Gas followed them.
These people first settled in Accra Central – James Town. They were later followed by other settlements at Nungua, La, Osu (Christianborg), Teshie and Tema. The settlements of Ewes in some parts of Ga Mashie and Osu is manifested by the similarity in customs or indigenous names, and especially the traditional Homowo feast which is also celebrated at Anehor in the Republic of Togo.