The state of Accra's trotro: Apology to Kantanka

Tue, 27 Mar 2012 Source: Mensah, Solomon

By Solomon Mensah

Back in my youthful days at Dodosuo, my village, we wouldn’t sit on our fathers’ “Adwoa-bye-bye,” Phoenix bicycle to farm. We children will ride our own “cars” to the farm, we will tell them. I can bet with my last penny that the VWs were nowhere near our handy-made vehicle. The vehicle, a light weight stick of a reasonable length with two tyres carved from “mpampuro” fixed at one end of the stick. This was driven by leaning it on one shoulder. At the level where the stick seemed touching our chest was a shorter length of a stick as the steering wheel. During girls hunt at night, lighted string of tyre nailed somewhere on the stick was our headlight. Where were you when we were we?

Frankly, I thought less that another Ghanaian somewhere outside the woodlands of Dodosuo was also into the manufacturing of cars better than ours. That Ghanaian is Apostle Kwadwo Sarfo Kantanka who I will be referring to as Kantanka in the subsequent lines. Today, cars produced by Kantanka have rendered Accra’s trotro nothing better than my vehicle of the good old days. In fact, cars that ply on the streets of Accra as trotro cannot stand on the same scale with that of Kantanka. Simply put, Accra’s trotro do not befit our capital town neither the poor farmers at Dodosuo. But sadly, our own manufacturer is thrown into the dustbin of inexperience. Jesus said it right in Mark 6:4, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” Indeed, honour has eluded “Prophet” Kantanka in his own hometown called Ghana as urine has eluded mother hen.

For the past years, the country has witnessed a number of Kantanka made cars exhibited on our television screens. At the 27th Annual Charity and Technology Fair at Awoshie in Accra, his Obrempon 1 and 2 were exhibited at his church. These cars as well as the earlier made ones come with its comfort to choose and cruise.

So how bad is the state of Accra’s trotro that it still triumphs over Kantanka’s? Looking from its outer side of view, it is tilted on one side like the Ghana map: old and rusty. It is either entered from behind or on its sideways. One sitting in its bowels sees horrible sceneries from the driver’s seat being chalked with stones to ropes tightening doors. Moreover, passengers’ seats are often as shaky as the hand that holds a glass of akpeteshie, spaces between these seats does not allow one a comfortable seating. Once in a trotro from Kaneshie to Kwame Nkrumah Circle, I could not believe seeing the road through a hole like my head at the floor of the car. If you intend committing suicide (which I am not telling you to), just push your head through the ropes that tighten these trotro’s doors when alighting. This is just the mental imagery of the state of Accra’s trotro.

Knowing this horrible state of Accra’s trotro, Ghana is not ready to help in flushing out this fleet of trotro for Kantanka’s. Perhaps nothing good can come from Nazareth. Sheer talks and promises of using Kantanka’s cars are enough. We must not wait for a particular period of time before accepting that which is good. In 2008, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, the then flag bearer of the Conventions People’s Party (CPP) calling a spade a spade and not a big spoon said, “It was an exciting ride and I would wish to own one.” Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom said this when he rode Kantanka’s limousine labeled Obrempon on his promise of riding in a presidential car manufactured in Ghana. But the question is why should Dr. Nduom and the rest of Ghana wait for tomorrow before using cars manufactured by a Ghanaian? Is it that we do not know the benefits that would come with it? Aside the huge employment opportunity that it will give to our able but unemployed youth, we should not forget taxes that will be collected from his manufacturing plant will redeem us from the sin of unqualified begging. Again, the fumes of tick smoke that engulf our capital city from the exhaust pipes of this rickety trotro will be curtailed and relieve us from toxic infections.

These and many more benefits will come only if we will call on Kantanka to replace Accra’s trotro with the likes of the quality standards he has shown us. Many of our friends and family members have unknowingly died of the toxic fumes, and the tetanus metallic body of our trotro. I think at this juncture of our discussion, we must bow like camels waiting to be loaded and say “we apologize to you Kantanka for you have been our much awaited messiah.”

The writer is a student-journalist at the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

Email: nehusthan4@yahoo.com

Columnist: Mensah, Solomon