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17.10.2017 Feature Article

What Goes On In Wassa

What Goes On In Wassa
LISTEN OCT 17, 2017

We are living in unnecessary bureaucracy. In that regard, nothing has changed in Ghana. I went on a trip to the Registrar General Department during the week. When you live on McCarthy Hill, any journey into Accra Central is a long trip and a major event. For some reason there have been very long traffic queues coming in from the George Bush Highway especially at the Kwashieman and Awoshie intersections, where we planned pedestrian crossovers and then failed to make exits on either side of the road. A modern city way to get the fatter types to exercise by legging up over the wire mesh and jeopardising their lives as they stumble over into the traffic lanes.

We build roads with no side paths for people to walk on and then start screaming at urban and highway planners to stop hawkers who are plying back and forth, providing an unbeatable cheap Chinese goods service for those of us too lazy to drive to the supermarket and park to walk.

One thing that has happened though is a drop in the youth in the hawking space, as many of them have just suddenly discovered that they did not finish their education since senior high school became a free reality.

And the Registrar General market is still teaming with Goro Boys, as someone tried to sell me company registration forms because he did not think I could speak a native language. And shocked he was when I opened my mouth to sweet 'fante'.

But it has been a week of sadness, seven people dead and another one hundred and thirty injured from burning gas flames, which was definitely a preventable accident.

We have now gone past the JoyFM sensational 'chichinga' fireman and forgiven Kojo Yankson for his foible as he identified the now famous 'chichinga'(khebab) stand as the source of the disaster. His regrets trumped those on any other social media chit chat I have ever had to read as we looked back at the institutions, which could have been sanctioned except we didn't and I am left wondering if any one of the injured will sue the gas station or other person for negligence.

I hear a group of badly burnt persons from the June 3rd disaster are planning to sue the government for negligence of that fire. I suggest they add the filling station and leave the person said to have thrown a lit cigarette into the flowing fuel, which caused that huge loss of life.

The real question is, when are the institutional heads, all appointed by Government going to stand up to the politicians and do what is right by the people?

We have suffered the pain of the polluted water from galamsey operators, while the Ghana Water Company and the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission looked on helplessly together with the minerals Commission and the Environmental Authority and had we, the people of this country not risen to the challenge and given Nana Addo the feet to stand firm, I doubt we would ever have seen any more clean water in the country.

And they are not the only ones. We have terminated the head of the Criminal Investigations Department for inertia and a side look at what is happening in the land situation in the country. We still up to now, even after all the money spent on mapping the lands in the country, can't seem to dislodge the chiefs and political players from manipulating the land ownership problem.

And my simple analysis of what happens there is within a microcosm of how we have convoluted the two state controls between the traditional system and the modern state.

I can't believe that a chief in Wassa Amenfi ordered a journalist to kneel in the sun for three hours as punishment for expressing a view that the chief was shielding a China man who had shot and killed a couple of people. What puzzled me more than anything is that the young journalist actually obeyed the order and took the punishment?

Therein lies our problem. An educated young man who should know his left from his right and be aware of his rights in society, actually knelt in the sun, punished by an authority who would have no right to punish him for exercising his right to free speech.

If he did not understand his right to ignore that punishment, where do we come from expecting that institutional heads can refuse to obey orders from politicians, religious leaders, influencers in business and other so called “big men”. And this was admitted by a former head of one of the leading institutions in the country, after which he waited for applause. SmH.

So this piece from Amarkine Amarteifio titled “A Double Double Ghana” did the rounds on social media and captured everything I want to say on this matter. With his permission, I reproduce.

“A DOUBLE DOUBLE GHANA!” By Amarkine Amarteifio. 9th October 2017.

The politicians tell us so proudly of the roads they have constructed. But the rains come down to show us the type and quality of roads they speak so proudly of.

Our city authorities tell us Accra is the millennium city and the former mayor, the best in Africa. A few hours of rain tell us the real and actual city we have!

It's so difficult to hide who and what we are!
Our drains and gutters double as rubbish and human waste systems.

Our streets double as markets, where the youth as well as advertising billboards have priority over road safety and directional signs.

Our schools and classrooms double as churches.
Our city doubles as a large public urinal.
Our capital doubles as a slum with several places doubling as kraal for cattle.

Our beaches double as tourist sites and open defecating spaces.

Our streets double as permanent mechanic workshops.

Our junctions double as taxi ranks and lorry stations and spaces for small-scale tabletop yam and “kelewele” fryers.

Our pavements and sidewalks double as trading places for hawkers.

Our market places double as open-air churches, while foodstuffs are displayed and sold from the dirty muddy ground.

Our gas and petrol filling stations double as restaurants, which we all patronize. And then when there is an Armageddon at Atomic junction, we all pretend we never saw the coming together of the social sulphur and brimstone that causes an inferno!

So many of our politicians double as public servants and sophisticated thieves.

Our pastors double as evangelical entrepreneurs selling the gospel to a desperate generation of young idiots.

There are just too many parallel countries within Ghana!

Why can't we have one country we all can see so clearly?

The doubles are too many and confusing!
Meanwhile, Pentecostal Christianity has become a double and a good front for business and madness. Many of our so-called men of God, if we are to describe what we know of them by their fruit, are more like psychiatric patients who have ran away from completing their treatment and are out there, forming and leading churches and using their psychosis in the name of Jesus to frighten and threaten a gullible generation into obedience to the will of a god created in the image and likeness of their psychosis. Maybe, we need to scrap the Narcotics Control Board and replace it with a Religious Control Board. Or just let them double too!

As for our independence, I'm struggling to understand why we still can't stop it from being a double for dependence!

And I think he says it all beautifully. I salute you Amarkine.

Ghana. Aha a yƐ dƐ papa. Alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come.

By Anamoa Casely-Hayford, [email protected]

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