Both Parliament and Flagstaff House are to Blame

Mon, 13 Jun 2016 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

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On the first anniversary commemoration of the nearly 200 citizens who perished in the Kwame Nkrumah Circle flash flood and fire disaster, some parliamentarians were reported to have mordantly lit into the Mahama-led government of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for doing a diddly little to ensure that this avoidable tragedy did not happen again (See “June 3 Disaster: Parliament Insists on Preventive Measures” Classfmonline.com / Ghanaweb.com 6/3/16). By all reliable accounts, however, it clearly appears that both our hybridized legislature and the executive are to be squarely faulted for having done a significant little to ensure that the June 3 disaster will not happen again.

So far, it appears that other than such spur-of-the-moment cosmetic measures such as desilting of gutters and a handful of streams and rivers, not much has been done. We are even told by the Member of Parliament for Tano-North, Ms. Freda Prempeh, that a recent heavy downpour that occurred in the heart of the nation’s capital, within the same location where some 200 people lost their lives, nearly caused a repeat of last year’s killer floods. To-date, the government has yet to publish the full-report of an investigation that is alleged to have been conducted into the disaster. We are told that the undue delay has been partly due to the inability of forensic pathologists to establish a definitive DNA identification of some 50 mortal remains of some of the victims.

That may well be the case, as curious as this may sound coming a year later. What seems equally troubling is that there does not seem to exist any disaster-prevention measures or plans drawn up by parliament or a parliamentary-sponsored commission for definitively addressing the problem. We must also quickly point out the fact that this recurrent problem of flooding is broadly generalized across the country. In other words, our National Assembly Representatives cannot presume to bury their heads in the sand, peacock-style, and expect the executive to single-handedly, and single-mindedly, bail the country out of this dire environmental hazard.

The government also does not appear to have any viable and/or comprehensive measures for managing the disposal of waste across the country, most especially in our large towns and cities, except to cosmetically embark on periodic communal cleaning exercises which invariably appear to have more propaganda traction than any remarkable impact on environmental hygiene. In view of this dismal state of affairs, some have even called for the June 3 disaster victims to launch a class-action suit against the government. But on this score, too, we are all fully well aware of the fact that such legal action would only be tantamount to collecting water from the riverside with a wicker basket. It would only make a dire situation even more desperate.

It goes without saying that the estimated figure of some 150 people having perished in the June 3 flash flood and fire disaster may well have been significantly underestimated, for in a country with a perennially poor culture of record-keeping, there can really be no reliable way of fairly and accurately estimating the exact number of people who lost their lives in the apocalyptic inferno that ravaged Central-Accra last year. We appear to be pathologically addicted to ceremonies as a people than foresightedly and wisely and promptly devising disaster-prevention measures. Thus on the first anniversary of the Kwame Nkrumah Circle disaster, President John Dramani Mahama was widely shown and reported to be laying wreaths at the proverbial Ground Zero, rather than discussing with the people and the nation whatever plans his government had put in place to avert a nightmarish reprise of June 3.

As they head fast towards Election 2016, Ghanaians ought to be soberly asking themselves whether President Mahama and his National Democratic Congress are, indeed, the divinely ordained two-term government that the flabbergasting likes of Prophet Emmanuel Badu-Kobi would have them believe to be their one-touch choice of leadership come November 7, 2016.

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Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame