GHANA HAS BECOME A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN

It didn’t take the Apeatse/Bogoso explosion to prove to us that Ghana is a disaster waiting to happen.

The signs have been there all the time. Our police service is supposed to ensure public safety by protecting the lives of all the people who live in this country.

Yet a helpless 70-year-old woman probably suffering from dementia was caught in broad daylight, humiliated and beaten before kerosine was poured on her and she
set r alight.

The police arrested some people, took them to court twice or thrice, and then –
there was total silence.

Have the police discontinued the prosecution? If so, why? Did they obtain an order of nolle prosequi before discontinuing the prosecution? Does the law allow them to do that without the fiat of a judge?

We have a Bar Association in this country. We have a Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ). We have Occupy Ghana, Fix This Country, and several other bodies ostensibly established to enable our democracy to operate efficiently.

Yet, for ten years and more, none of these establishments, some of whose members must have mothers aged 70 and above, has found it necessary to take steps in the courts, through a prodding of Parliament and the concerned institutions, to challenge the police for denying justice to the family of Madam Ama Hemma, the murdered woman.

Neither has the Attorney-General’s office. The office of the Chief Justice. The Ministry of the Interior. Or the Council of State. Or the National House of
Chiefs. Or the office of the Chief of Staff at the presidency.

How can they ALL gnore the case of a woman whose murder was prominently reported on the front page of the biggest newspaper in this country, the Daily Graphic?

What about our journalists? How many newspapers, TV and Radio stations, have felt the need to constantly ask the police questions about the action – or INACTION– with which they have approached this horrendous case that constitutes a major disgrace to our sense of humanity in this country?

If we, as a society, condone the lack of concern by our institutions, regarding one act of lawlessness, why should we be surprised if other acts of lawlessness occur before our eyes?

The vehicle that was carrying explosives when it became a lethal bomb at Apeatse on 20 January 2022. was supposed to travel ONLY IF IT HAD A POLICE ESCORT – according to the law that governs the transportation of explosives by motor vehicles.

Did it have a police escort at the time of the accident? So far, the answer has been fuzzy.

Should we be surprised if it didn’t have a police escort?

I don’t think so. Because, for all we know, officials of the organisation that transports explosives and the other bodies s involved in that venture, have become “chummy”, with the result that each looks after the interests of the other, at times.

(That situation is not as rare as might be imagined. FOR IF YOU CULTIVATE A CULTURE OF NEGLECT, THE CONSEQUENCES OF NEGLECT CAN CATCH YOU AT ANY TIME, IRRESPECTIVE OF YOUR MOTIVATION!)

Now, listen to this: last weekend, I travelled on the Accra-Kumase road, using the Nsawam road route. I was appalled to see so many potholes on some parts of a road so close to the capital, and parts of which are so straight that drivers are tempted to speed on it.

And then, all too soon, one comes across that stretch of road about 20 miles before Apedwa junction. And one asks oneself: were the road-makers serious? How can you have so many bends and hilly blind-spots on a road that’s the most important in Ghana?

The driver of the vehicle in which I was travelling was sensible enough never to try to overtake other vehicles when we formed a minor queue close to bends or hills. But although everyone could see that our vehicle could go fast if it wanted to, other vehicles passed us whilst we were patiently waiting for a clear sight of the road ahead before trying to overtake the slower vehicles ahead of us!

One asks oneself in astonishment: what do these speeders think we are doing staying behind all those slow articulated trucks and other heavy vehicles? Do they think we do not know how to drive fast? Or do they sup[pose that we don’t want to arrive at our destination in good time?

Of course, there is nothing to check them and make them drive sensibly! For fools can place everyone else in jeopardy if they are allowed to operate unchecked!

For if we were serious about road safety, we would send unmarked patrol cars to join the queues of vehicles and apprehend those undisciplined drivers who think they are the only people in a hurry. But our police either do not have enough vehicles to try and prevent accidents on the roads, or they are using the vehicles for other purposes. So we travel without hearts in our mouths.

Hence it was that one evening a few years ago, the vehicle of a close relative of
mine that was driving along this particular road, was written off after it was hit by another vehicle that had lost control, having been struck by another, as it was overtaking it at one of the many blind spots on the stretch.

It was only sheer luck that saved my kinsman’s life. Now, in any society that cares for human life, the police would have taken a cue from that accident and instituted immediate measures to prevent the same thing happening again. at that spot and others like it. But with our culture of neglect, the accident was no doubt marked down as the usual ”MISADVETURE” CAUSED BY “CARELESS DRIVING”, OR POSSIBLY DUE TO “DRUNKEN DRIVING” .

There are proven ways of ending “careless driving” and “drunken driving” in other parts of the world. CAN’T WE COPY THEM?

Until our MPs make sure that no road accident that causes fatalities can be brushed under the carpet; until they interrogate and publicly shame the road builders who create so many dangerous spots on the roads; until our society learns to prevent potential accidents by reporting careless drivers to the police and following such reports up to see whether the police acted upon them or not, we shall continue travelling with our hearts in our mouths.

BY CAMERON DUODU

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