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05.12.2007 Feature Article




IT COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE. Inflate the balloons, uncorked the champagnes. Let's celebrate the President's new lease on life. Thanks to our President's 'insecurity' apparatus (sarcasm intended).

This much is known: our President was involved in a motor accident and he was saved by good Samaritans. The floodgate of road accidents is opened widely that even our dear President is not an exception. That the stunned-bruised nation which has been robbed of its most scarce resources (human capital), for so long is trying to make sense out of the senseless accident.

Things happen for a reason--no pun intended. While we can't make fun of this sad episode, we should be able to learn a lesson from it. We have all known that deaths on our roads are no more news, because we are somehow becoming so used to it to the extent that we care very little about Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs). In the face of this recklessness, our politicians who are the managers of the State only pay lip- service to finding solutions to RTAs. The statistics of road accidents are so alarming that I wonder how the average Ghanaian feels before boarding a taxi or shoves into a vehicle. From a personal account, I always fall on my knees praying and hoping that I don't get any scratch on my body each time I visit sikaman.

Now that our President has had his share of recklessness on our roads to the extent that he has to be assisted by Samaritans--of both Jew and Gentile origin--I hope he is going to use the rest of his time in office to find a permanent solution to this menace. I know it is not going to be easy, but that would be a great legacy for his administration.

Personally, my take on the accident is different. The accused driver is not the issue. I have a personal beef with the system which collapsed and let that accident to happen. Thank God, President Kuffour does not have too many enemies of (“Osaman”) Osama origin.

This also brings us to the security (the insecurity arrangement) set- up which was to protect the President. Maybe, the incident of that fateful day should help us to over-haul our (very, very important people) VVIP Security system. The incident should also provoke us to find a permanent solution to the carnage on our roads.

I don't know much about Ghana security personnel details, but I have the feeling that security details are designed by the party in power. In other words, whichever party is in power designs its own security arrangements. I suspect a person with an extensive experience in security details will not be allowed to utilize his skills just because he or she is not a member of the party in power. With this kind of thinking, it is most likely any new party coming into power will have to deal with an amateur security personnel, who do not know the difference between protecting VVIPs and guarding a warehouse.

The full detail of the accident is very sketchy and will take a long time to emerge but I have the feeling that those who are responsible will have to go back to the drawing board. They should also have some heads rolling very fast. The entire personnel should be fired right away.

Alternatively, since we want to copy everything the United States does, why can't we have our own Secret Service Agency? This proposal will allow the country to have trained security agents to protect our Presidents, foreign dignitaries, our monetary institution, most importantly the Bank of Ghana. In the U.S the Secret Service does not only protect the President and the Law makers but it is also the arm of the Treasury Department. This means the Secret Service has additional responsibility to protect the dollar from being counterfeited and mishandled. By the way, whose responsibility is it to protect our newly- minted cedi?

Sometimes, when I think of events in Ghana they make me wonder how lucky we are as a nation. Where on earth did you hear or read that a President who was involved in a car accident and was rescued by Samaritans? We must have our own personal God somewhere who is on stand-by and always ready to deliver us as a nation anytime we let our guards slacken.

It reminds of a story of a man I met in Ghana on my last visit. I was questioning the rational behind the Presbyterian Church putting up a huge building but lacks a common refrigerator for the congregation to enjoy cold water during the hot days. His answer to my deliberation was, “This is Ghana, we think differently.” Yes, indeed, it is “only in Ghana.”

Is it only in Ghana that the police look helpless in the face of gross road mis-use? Is it only in Ghana that the Police do not have towing vehicles to pull long vehicles which are abandoned in the middle of highways? By the way, do you know how many lives were lost out of the fact that police stations along major highways do not have multi-purpose vehicles to tow broke-down vehicles, which are recklessly packed in the middle of the roads? Couldn't we have avoided some of these deaths? Perhaps we are waiting on Onyakropon Twereduapon to do that for us.

Mr. President, congratulation on your new lease on life! Please don't take chances with your second life because your nation still needs you...

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi

*The author is a social commentator and the founder of Adu-Gyamfi Youth Empowerment, Educational and Apprenticeship program of Asuom in the kwaebibrim district.

Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi
Kwaku Adu-Gyamfi, © 2007

This author has authored 191 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: KwakuAduGyamfi

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