Tour guides could not have saved victims of Kintampo Waterfalls

Sat, 25 Mar 2017 Source: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame

By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

As usual, in the wake of the Kintampo Waterfalls disaster that took the lives of some 20 students from the Wenchi, Brong-Ahafo, Methodist High School on excursion to this geographical landmark, politicians and supporters of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) have resorted to predictable bouts of incrimination and recrimination (See “Untrained Invisible Forces Managed Kintampo Waterfalls During Disaster” MyJoyOnline.com / Ghanaweb.com 3/20/17). The globally reported accident occurred on Sunday, March 19, 2017.

Shortly after the news of the tragedy broke, conflicting reports emerged one of which indicated that the victims had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. The Principal of the Wenchi Methodist High School was reported to have said that the students were rather supposed to be at the Mole National Park, located in the Northern Region, at the time of the accident. If so, then whoever chaperoned them has some explaining to do. But what is also rather bizarre about the accident is the fact that the excursionists are reported to have gone skinny-dipping or swimming either shortly after a heavy downpour or a rainstorm or both, or during the same.

This has some critics, most especially supporters and sympathizers of the main opposition National Democratic Congress, blaming the Akufo-Addo-led New Patriotic Party government’s affiliated militia group called the Invisible Forces for sacking the tour guides who had been manning the Kintampo Waterfalls shortly after the party won last December’s general election. There is absolutely no substance to this allegation for several reasons. One, there is precedence going back to at least 2008, indicating that had tour guides recruited by New Patriotic Party operatives been manning the Kintampo Waterfalls and the National Democratic Congress had won last December’s general election, the NDC operatives, namely, the Azorka Boys militia group, would have summarily sacked the tour guides and taken over the Kintampo Waterfalls as the new managers.

But even more significant must be underscored the fact that tour guides are traditionally not trained to rescue endangered or drowning swimmers. This first-responders’ job is traditionally executed by Life Guards. And there is clearly no evidence that any life guards or professionally trained rescuers were on hand at the Kintampo Waterfalls. Thirdly, there is also no mention of Forest Rangers, which leaves one wondering what successive Ghanaian governments have been doing the entire temporal span of our Fourth-Republican dispensation.

Instead, we are told that the first responders to the site of the disaster were personnel from the Ghana Fire Service (GFS) and the Ghana Police Service (GPS), and we are not told whether these life-and-property protectors and peace officers even had the proper and adequate equipment on hand. The National Democratic Congress’ politicians who are trying to make hay or have a field day over this tragic act of Nature ought to be deeply ashamed of themselves. For even as of this writing, we are told that at least 80-percent of the staff of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), which had been under the control of the National Democratic Congress’ operatives for nearly a decade, until last December’s general election, have absolutely no professional training whatsoever.

The foregoing state of affairs does not square up with the imperious pretense to moral self-righteousness on the part of the NDC leaders.

By: Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., Ph.D.

English Department, SUNY-Nassau

Garden City, New York

E-mail: okoampaahoofe@optimum.net

*Visit my blog at: kwameokoampaahoofe.wordpress.com Ghanaffairs

Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame
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