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From Land of Fire, “Ogyakrom”

From Land of Fire, “Ogyakrom”

Tue, 13 Oct 2009 Source: Danso, Kwaku A.

–Sunday Morning Lamentation (1 of 2)

By: Kwaku A. Danso

I wrote this in response to a friend, Kwadwo (last name withheld) and have the permission to share an edited version as my Sunday morning preaching or lamentation. This may be a Sermon as good as any from me to share with others:

Things Simply Fall Apart in Ghana /Africa -

It’s midday here, only 85 degrees F outside my door and very humid, but my AC is working indoors as I write. That is good news enough as the electricity was down for 10 or so hours yesterday. You need electricity to power your air conditioning and to power your computer and even charge your cell phone. High humidity and high temperature accelerate chemical reactions and hence rust, decay, and other damages to materials, including electronic products and even ordinary light fixtures. Can you imagine my two vehicles which were not used for over a year were down when I came home. Normally only oil change and battery charge should revive the vehicle. I had to buy new batteries, work on the Air conditioning and Engine work on one vehicle, Air Conditioning and hand brake job on the other, and then I may even need Transmission check- up. The dust in the atmosphere even here with landscaping, clogs the filters. The poor condition of roads shakes every single door panel and component in the car and soon they fail due to shock and vibration. However this is only part of the story. When a million drivers suffer the same or similar fate that can be avoided, we do have a story!

As we drove to Kumasi last weekend, the engine would go into unpredictable cycles of resistance. Ghana and any society where people use “magic” to survive, where people earning $2,000 or less per month drive $90,000 vehicles as government officials, create non-conventional problems and hence may need non-conventional solutions! Both my vehicles need shock and brake valuation also. For most in high government offices, such a test of the brain function may not be needed to wake them up. How do people survive here on salaries that are a fraction of what you earn overseas?

Town and local government had broken down long ago in almost all cities and towns, except perhaps Kumasi, and central government could care less or does not know your problems. People smile as they try to cheat you, but you also see some with no smile and well dressed in the hot sun. Nobody tries to maintain things here in Ghana and the government has simply replaced the eight Split air-conditioners at the Airport entry hall with two new ones. They were still not turned on as people were sweating. Who make rules in this Ghana? I heard they want to save money sometimes and why don’t they try and save money on the $50,000 car loans the President signed for the 200 plus MPs to buy cars? A friend suggested perhaps some government official has taken the Ac units home to service and use in his house. What could possibly cause an air conditioner sitting in one place to fail? Only in Ogyakrom can these things happen! Our Presidents don’t seem to care how government coffers are used to acquire property, and care less how long they last. We just seem to find money as we need them, though borrowing! No matter the Nigerians called us “Ghana-nian Magicians” in the 1970s.

Ghana Roads Dangers –

I wrote a series of articles on road dangers in 2004. Nothing seems to have changed. They are now bragging about a 4 lane Accra to Aburi road – I will go to Aburi this week to see. Where is the non-stop Accra-Kumasi-Takoradi-Accra Highway planned for over 50 years now? How many people live in Aburi and why build a first class 4 lane road to Aburi and ignore Accra to Nsawam to Kumasi? Does it make sense?

It is indeed very disappointing to see that in a society where all roads from Accra through Cape Cost area through Obuasi to Kumasi, and then back to Accra through Nkawkaw and Nsawam (Golden Triangle as it was called during the Kwame Nkrumah days), our Minister and the leaders of the nation cannot even have the decency and common sense of responsibility to require the use of reflective yellow paint dividers and reflective studs for increased visibility and safe driving at night. What kind of leaders does Ghana have? Do they drive on the roads also?

In addition can you believe government allows these hungry-looking and shabbily-dressed black police men and women, in black clothes, to erect road barriers around the residential suburbs of the city of Accra, and along the major roads! Excess traffic is sometimes due to these ridiculous police barriers! It is common knowledge the police use the barriers to take bribes to supplement their incomes. These road barriers are erected at places one can hardly see in the night! Last night I rolled down my windows and told one lady police officer at a barrier in East Legon they have to be careful not to get killed in the darkness. She thanked me and her words indicate they know it’s dangerous.

So who the heck is allowing them to be erecting those road barriers and what is the function then? How many armed robbers have they arrested with these barriers? Why such lack of use of intelligence even if the motive is to arrest armed robbers? If somebody’s son, daughter, husband or wife gets killed on the job at these barriers, a court of competent jurisdiction can rule against the government for criminal negligence! It will be hard for the police to argue the barriers were not government authorized. If my son or husband gets killed due to government negligence, the government is liable, right! And if the negligence was something they should have known , it is criminal negligence! Where are the good Lawyers when you need them!

One wonders if these politicians see these things or not? Are thy not concerned humans, and as intelligent as we claim they are, and we all agree they are? If these NPP and NDC, CPP or other politicians are as intelligent, and concerned, why is it that they don’t talk about these problems and find solutions? How can they simply wait in line to go under the illegal path under the Motorway and claim they are representative of the people!? How? And Why? Where are the men who would want to be President? Dr. Kennedy, Boakye Agyarko, Dr. Kofi Apraku, Dr. Kwesi Nduom, Dr. Frimpong Boateng, and even the old guards like Naka Akufo Addo, Alan Kyeremateng, Dan Botwe, etc., and what are they doing other than seeking power to rule? Question is: To rule doing what? For God’s sake, what do these men want to rule Ghana to do? Tell me! Do they also drive on these roads?

We sure don’t understand this democracy and our leaders are so selfish they don’t care if the citizens who elected them to office perish or not on common roads, or have no access to water. The same roads we all drive on, these leaders don’t even value their own lives as they ignore others. So do we cry or what? How do we resolve this? Do we catch these men and women and skin them alive? Perhaps there are better ways. (To be continued).

Dr. Kwaku A. Danso, East Legon, Accra, Ghana.

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.