PARLIAMENT has sent its “deepest condolences” to the bereaved families of the at least 80 persons who perished in the gory accidents on the Kintampo and Mankessim highways last Friday.
Wishing the injured speedy recovery, the House is demanding that government took steps to minimise if not eliminate the carnage on the country’s roads.
Ghana went into mourning mood over the weekend following the separate accidents involving five vehicles; resurrecting national discourse about road safety in the country.
The House on Monday came under criticism for overlooking the accident victims when it paid glowing tributes to the victims of the Cyclone Idai which has struck the coast of Southeast Africa and the terror attack on a mosque in New Zealand.
In three separate statements read on the floor of the House by Felicia Adjei, Member of Parliament (MP), Kintampo South, Dr Kojo Appiah-Kuni, MP, Atwima Kwanwoma and Governs Kwame Agbodza, MP, Adaklu, the House observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the two accidents.
Madam Adjei in her statement described the accident as “a national tragedy and government must treat it as such by holding national memorial services across the entire country for the victims and also declaring at least three days national mourning for the victims.”
Suggesting what should be done to reduce accidents on Ghana’s roads, the first term MP said government must take steps to dualise all roads and provide same with traffic lights.
“The Road Safety Commission must ensure that enough signages are placed on strategic and dangerous portions of the road to caution drivers about the nature of the road to ensure safety” she said advocating that government established a Fire Service Station and a Trauma Centre between Kintampo and Techiman to give emergency services to accident victims ciao sideline the spate of crushes in the area.
Mr Appiah-Kubi, on his part said “the two accidents should wake up our national conscience about the rising carnage of road accidents on our roads…..but the high number of the dead and injured people involved should also reignite a serious conversation about the consequences of road accidents.”
Calling for a stakeholders’ dialogue on the increase in road accidents over the years, Mr Appiah-Kubi said Ghana loses over US$230 million annually to road accidents, a resource he said could have been channelled into other areas of national development.
Kwame Agbodza in his statement appealed to the Gender Ministry to liaise with the Finance Ministry to explore the possibilities of absorbing or enrolling some defendants of the victims on the cash transfer programme under the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) to bring them some respite.
He emphasized that “the effectiveness of measures of the state to deal with the carnage on our roads is inextricably linked to the consciousness of every Ghanaian to assume responsibility for their own safety.
“Individual passengers must not be mute when the driver of the vehicle they have boarded is drunk, over speeding, disregarding traffic regulations or appeared to be sleepy.”
The Speaker, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, referring the statements to the Roads and Transport Committee for action decried what he said every Ghanaian was at risk of hence the need to find a solution to the menace.
According to him, alcohol was now being sold at lorry parks, a phenomenon he said could lead to drunk driving.
He decried what he said was the unpatriotic nature of some Ghanaians who have removed road signage and use same as scrap for the personal parochial interests at the expense of the state.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI