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Opinions Thu, 2 Nov 2017

Enemies of progress, unnecessary, clever and deliberate stealing destroying Ghana

For the purpose of this article, clever or deliberate stealing in Akan refers to "nyansa kronoo". It is an unnecessary act of stealing that defies common sense. Those who engage in clever stealing are enemies of progress, just like those who engage in big-time corruption. They can all be classified as nation wreckers. The security and peace of the country will depend on how well these smart thieves can be controlled. Western countries are very particular about how to control smart thieves. Most of such crimes have rendered city planning very difficult. There are several ways of preventing or fighting against smart or clever thieves: the first way is through active police surveillance, public alertness and arrests.

When Rawlings was in power, he improved the road networks at several places in Ghana. Of special mention are the roads from Accra to Nsawam and the road from Cape Coast to Takoradi. International standard road signs and giant blue aluminium road signs placed were high on the motorway. They were very beautiful to behold. This brought the roads in Ghana close to those in the developed countries.

Ghanaians woke up one day and in their amazement and utter disbelief, found that all the giant signboards across the motorway had been sawed and removed by criminals! One patriotic Ghanaian alerted the police and a heavily armed police team went into the forest where those criminals were busy making buckets from the aluminium sign boards. These enemies of progress were all arrested.

During the period between 2013 and 2014, the city of Accra was infested with cholera. This was due to dirt and garbage that was threatening to devour the entire city. Gutters were choked and it was, indeed, nightmarish when the rains poured down heavily.

The threat of cholera has become very prevalent in Ghana mostly in the major cities including Accra and Kumasi. The metropolitan authorities entered into an agreement with Zoom Lion to clean the cities and place large garbage buckets at vantage points in the city to collect garbage which are otherwise thrown in the gutters and on the ground. During 2014 when the policy came into full force, It worked perfectly for the first few days. On the 20th of December 2014, less than a week of usage of the buckets, Ghanaians came to the city to discover that all the garbage have been poured on the ground and the buckets stolen. About forty buckets were stolen that day alone. Enemies of progress! The management of Zoom Lion decided to punch holes under the buckets so that it would seem less attractive to the criminals. Despite the new measures, the buckets were stolen again!

I am sure you have heard about fake police and military recruitment agents. The years between 2008 and 2016 was a period in which Ghana experienced her worst unemployment situation. Students who completed universities and other institutions of higher learning could not get jobs. The unemployment situation became worse when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) placed an embargo on employment. Rumours of vacancies in the police and military service began to spread. A man who professed to be a recruitment agent collected monies from the unemployed including graduates. To be employed in the police attracted GHc3000 and those who wanted to enter the military paid GHc4000. More than 500 people paid and they were waiting to be called for an interview. The next time they heard about the agent, he had travelled out of the country and it turned out that neither the police nor the military were recruiting new personnel. Enemy of progress!

The next in line are the network cable thieves. On the 10th of May 2017, two men, Daniel Adeto and Dodzi Amekudzi, entered the underground cable pit belonging to Vodafone Ghana and made away with large quantities of underground cables without bothering about the consequence and the interruptions they would cause in the regular network of Vodaphone. The Police Commander, Mr Samuel Odame who is a District Superintendent of Police (DSP), confirmed that an eyewitness saw the two accused persons entering the underground cable pit belonging to Vodaphone which is located near Ritz junction in Accra. An alarm was raised by the eye-witness. The two thieves were arrested. Enemies of progress!

Several Commissions, agencies, police and concerned individuals have all arrived at a common conclusion that petty and deliberate crimes can wreck a nation and slow down the development of the nation. The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAG) is of the view that there is the need to encourage Ghanaians to report acts of corruption and other crimes going on in their communities. Rev Prof. Martey also added his voice. He was of the view that stiffer laws against crime and corruption must be put in place. He also suggested that regular seminars and conferences on crime and corruption must be held regularly as a means of finding permanent solutions to the problem.

Columnist: Stephen Atta Owusu