Fire Outbreaks in Ghana. Na Who Cause Am?
It is a fact that during the dry season in Ghana and extreme summer heat in most
parts of the world, farms and forests easily catch fire and burn down. When it
happens, it is normally associated with human errors. It has also been proved that
some megalomaniacs deliberately set farms and forests on fire as has been happening
in the U.S.A, Australia and many parts of the world.
Can we also say the same thing to what is going on in Ghana? Several markets in
Ghana have experienced fire outbreaks. What immediately comes to mind are the fire
outbreaks at the Makola Market, the Kumasi Central Market, the main market in Tamale
which destroyed goods and properties worth millions of cedis. Investigatons revealed
that all these outbreaks were caused by illegal wiring. Have the traders and the
electricity company taken action to redress this situation? That will be there for
all to see.
During the PNDC/NDC era, there was a fire outbreak at the archives department of the
Ghana Broadcasting Corporation which destroyed all the football documentaries of
Osei Kofi, Baba Yara and Aggrey Fynn era. The Osofo Dadzie shows and several others
including all the films and documentaries of the excesses of the Rawlings revolution
were also lost. During that era, women were laid on the table by soldiers and lashed
between their thighs until most of them bled to death. Rumours were rife that the
fire was a deliberate act to dispose of all the cassettes whose contents revealed
the atrocities of the Rawlings' revolution. Imagine the harm this fire outbreak
caused to GBC and Ghana as a whole.
Not so long ago, the multi-storey building of the Foreign Affairs Ministry caught
fire and burnt down completely while the ill-equipped fire servicemen stood there
helpless. Was the fire deliberate to bury certain suspicions or just by electrical
fault? The truth will one day be there for all to know.
This fire outbreak was immediately followed by another one at the Ministry of
education which was brought under control. Here too, what caused it? Did any of the
thousands of computers get destroyed in the fire? If not which schools have
benefitted from these computers donated by Microsoft? There are more questions than
The last straw that broke the camel's back was the fire outbreak in the house of the
former president of Ghana and the founder of the National Democratic Congres(NDC),
Mr J J Rawlings. Some years ago, he had complained to Mr. Kufour to get him a new
residence that befitted his status as a former president. This was never done. Does
it also mean that when his party came into power, Prof. Atta Mills also closed his
ears to his demand? A lot of rumours began to circulate. Some felt Rawlings himself
burnt down the house in order to make it possible to get a new house. One Mr. Dakwah
boldly came out to say that as he drove by Mr. & Mrs Rawlings house he saw some men
loading some domestic items onto a truck. Two days later the house was set on fire
and according to his assumption, by Rawlings himself. The man was arrested
immediately for defamation of character and he is still undergoing trial. A team of
investigators went to the burnt house but came out tight-lipped. One would have
expected the investigators to list burnt items like the remains of burnt
televisions, fridges and deep freezers, washing machines and so on. None of these
were reported by the investigators. Na who cause am? Aye huuhuuhu!!
It is hoped that the arrest of Mr. Dakwa will not be translated as the arrival of
the Culture of silence. In a democracy it must be possible for the citizens to
freely express themselves without fear of arrest. However, we should draw a line
carefully between insults and freedom of expression.
It is also important to note how much these fire outbreaks are costing the nation.
In some of the fire outbreaks, it will be important to invite foreign fire experts
and investigators to go into the causes of the fire outbreaks and announce it to all
Ghanaians. If this is not done, we will never know which Ministry will be the next
Written by Stephen Atta Owusu
Author:Dark Faces At Crossroads