In July and August this year, when I visited Ghana, the first time in 17 years, I critically remarked on the glaring fact that apparently the architects and contractors who constructed that first-rate stretch of highway between Madina and Adenta, in the Greater-Accra Metropolis, did not seem to have taken the safety of pedestrians into account.
I am therefore not surprised to learn that some parents and guardians who care about the safety of the school-going children have decided to withdraw these children from schools located across the highway rather than unwisely risk getting them killed by reckless motorists.
We are also informed that in at least one recent incident, a parent who was walking her/his child to school across the highway was fatally run over by a speeding vehicle (See “Madina-Adenta Schools Suffer as Parents Withdraw Their Wards from School” MyJoyOnline.com / Modernghana.com 11/7/18).
In such a high-density populated area, the 50 MPH signs posted on the shoulders of the Madina-Adenta Highway, by the Ghana Highways Authority (GHA), is rather much too high. Here in New York City, for example, the standard speed limit posted for motorists in residential and school areas is 25 MPH, which means that motorists are required not to travel at speeds higher than 35 MPH or they risk getting a speeding ticket for traffic violation and possibly a court summons, if they are caught by traffic police or the state’s highway patrol agents. Interestingly, though, the foregoing was not the most significant problem that I noticed on the stretch of highway under discussion. It had to do with the presence of too few pedestrian walkways or overpasses across the highway. I recall telling my brother-in-law, Mr. Frederick Kwadwo Henaku, who hosted my family and me, that at least there needed to be a pedestrian walkway or overpass at intervals of every quarter mile on that obviously dangerous stretch of highway.
For instance, it was common to see desperate and frustrated pedestrians skitter across the highway and vault over three-foot lane dividers. This is where hip-shooting politicians and social critics like Mr. Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, the media operative and the ruling New Patriotic Party’s Member of Parliament for Assin-Central, in the Central Region, need to focus their social criticism. It is also significant to point out that Kencity, the headquarters of the multimedia network owned and operated by Mr. Agyapong, is located smack at the midpoint of the Madina-Adenta Highway. I have also yet to see or learn about the presence of any locally based think-tank that focuses its policy purview on the quality and safety of road transport in the country. The same intellectual lack of vigilance pertains to the healthcare delivery industry in the country, a critical problem that I intend to highlight in the offing.
*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs
By Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., PhD
English Department, SUNY-Nassau
Garden City, New York