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When voter register is more important than the lives of the citizens

Accident Seen File Photo

Wed, 11 Mar 2020 Source: Prince Abugri

The beauty of democracy is that it affords people the opportunity to choose a leadership that would assume the reins of power and works in their interest.

Democracy is assumed the best alternative so far for any group of people in the world today but of what benefit would it be if it does not serve the interest of its people.

An elected government in a democracy and for that matter the elected president swears an oath to protect and safe guard the lives and livelihoods of the people. On January 7, 2017, President Akuffo Addo swore an oath to make the Ghanaian his priority.

The BIG question now is whether the Ghanaian is the priority of this government. I believe that if the government considered the lives of the Ghanaian people that important, its actions towards the lives that are lost on our roads, in our hospitals and communities would have been more reassuring, intense and targeted.

How can you tell me the government is committed to its people when it prioritizes new voter register and for that matter election more than the lives of the people? I wonder if the government and politicians realize dead people do not vote. Within a period of just one year, over 2000 precious Ghanaian lives have been lost in preventable road accidents, some burned to ashes. Wow, I just cannot believe this is happening in the 21st century.

But in the wake of all these unnecessary preventable deaths, what has been the reaction of government? What plans have the ministry of roads, transport, interior, road safety commission and others put in place to prevent these preventable deaths? In my opinion it would have been forgivable if these deaths were inevitable or unpreventable.

But the sad reality is that these in most cases are preventable. Those paid with taxpayer’s money to safe guard the citizenry are much more concerned about winning an election than saving the lives of the very people who vote during the elections.

Many party people including the government after reading this piece would quickly jump to the defense of government and outline the many things they are doing with regards to the numerous needless deaths on our roads. But the question is whether there is a plan to tackle this canker and how has this plan been communicated to the rest of the citizens and what role the general public will play in achieving this plan?

How much money has been released to state institutions to executive this plan? What are the timelines and results we expect to achieve? I am very much convinced that after talking plenty and Road Safety Commission needlessly defending their failures in the previous accidents, nothing much had been done.

However, compare the seriousness with which the government, state institutions and other stakeholders attach to the upcoming elections and the precious lives lost so far. There is a comprehensive plan, timelines and budget for the elections. We are told when a new voter register would be compiled and that an amount of over 400 million Ghana cedis has been allocated for the new voter register alone.

Can you imagine the results we would have achieved if this same commitment was devoted to ending road accidents? With just 20 million Ghana cedis I believe this recklessness on our roads would have been minimized to an acceptable level. Stakeholder workshops and conferences are organized to discuss new voter register. Eminent and prominent citizens including men and women of God, chiefs among others are constituted into committees to oversee the smooth implementation of a voter register and elections in December.

But the same leadership does not think losing over 2000 lives in just a year calls for national consented efforts at reducing the carnage on our roads. When a government cares less about the lives of its people, it would make available 400 million for a new register and complain there is no money to tackle the needless deaths on our roads.

As a citizen, I was again shocked to the core when I heard there was no money (just about 35 million Ghana cedis) needed to comprehensively position the nation adequately against the novel coronavirus. Would the government have given an excuse if this 35 million Ghana was needed for an election or for the new voter’s register? We cannot find money when it comes to the lives of the very people we claim to lead but there is 400 million Ghana cedis for a new voter register.

What is our priority as a nation? Is it because the politician directly benefits from the election that would be conducted? Well does the country in which we live in. A country where prominent people and the so called middle class refuse to criticize because they may be neck-deep in this kind of fruitful democracy we claim to practice.

How can a nation develop when its citizens, the most important resource for its development are treated like trash? In other nations, the life of a single citizen is as important as the lives of the entire nation. Just last year we saw how Canada marshaled its military to secure the safety of 2 young Canadians who were kidnapped in Ghana. A similar action was taken by France to secure the lives of 3 citizens who were held by terrorist in the Sahel region. A soldier even had to sacrifice his life in the rescue mission.

This is the value right thinking nations place on the lives of their citizens. But what do we see in Ghana? People are perishing daily on our roads yet we have decided as a nation to spend over 400 million Ghana on a voter’s register and the same citizens are supporting this kind of expenditure. If we the citizens recklessly support such reckless expenditure, the resultant effect is the preventable deaths the ordinary citizens are suffering now.

It is my prayer and hope that we as a people would get our priorities right and commit to work hard to achieving them. May God help us and make our nation great and stronger!!! Thank you.

Prince Abugri

(Public Health Specialist based in Bolgatanga)

Contact: 0205066762 and abugriprince@gmail.com

Columnist: Prince Abugri