16.03.2018 Feature Article

The Beasts On The Roads (1)

The Beasts On The Roads (1)
16.03.2018 LISTEN

A very well-known pastor is reported to have said that he does not watch local TV because all what one gains from the local TV is always a hot debate dealing with NPP and NDC. He rather prefers to watch Animal Kingdom. At least he learns from the animals security and safety measures. I presume Animal Kingdom he was referring to is shown on the DSTV network. I was wondering why he should spend his money paying to watch something which we experience everyday around us. After all any first time visitor to this country will think he is in a big Animal Kingdom. But the pastor has a point to spend his money the way he thinks fit. After all from the TV Animal Kingdom, he learns some safety and security measures. However in the real Animal Kingdom we experience in our everyday life as a nation, the animals do not exhibit any sense of safety and security.

I used to stay in an open space with some plants around me. During those days I used to spend minimum money on my dogs visiting the veterinary officer. Occasionally, when I notice some changes in the dogs, I observe them moving in the shrubs searching for some plants to eat and presto they soon become well again. Then I moved to a walled compound and I have to spend more of my money on the dogs taking them to the veterinary officer. In my new place, some birds always congregate inside my compound in the morning expecting me to feed them on bread. They know that I am their friend. Yet at any time they see me drawing near to feed them, they will fly away and perch on the trees or safe distance, wait for me to throw the pieces of bread on the ground, watch me move away before they swoop down to eat the bread I offer them.

The sense of safety of the Ghanaian is so minimal, it is very frightening. Our behavior on our roads depicts clearly the lack of sense of security and safety and draws a massive distinction between the Ghanaian and that of the animal in the Animal Kingdom found in the forest. The statistics of road accident and the resulting fatalities are so frightening that if the government does not take corrective action immediately, the country stands to lose all the products of the free SHS students in the next foreseeable future through road accidents. The basic reason or the remote cause for the numerous road accidents lies in the attitude of the Ghanaian not to respect queues and the Ghanaian's intolerant attitude in waiting for his or her turn. The Ghanaian does not believe in forming queues and appropriately waiting for his or her turn. This negative attitude is displayed by almost all Ghanaians irrespective of class, profession, status and wealth.

There is nowhere this deplorable uncivilised attitude is displayed more than on our roads. If the Ghanaian driver is on the road, while he or she will make every attempt to speed past the driver in front of him, he or she will resist every attempt on the part of the driver behind him or her to overtake him or her. This results in an unnecessary Formula One competition on our roads cumulating in unnecessary overtaking and road accidents. Add to this intolerant attitude of the Ghanaian towards his or her neighbour, the deplorable state of our roads, the lack of adequate maintenance of many of the roads, the use of second hand spare parts and tyres by many of the vehicles on the road and untrained drivers many of whom cannot read or write and pronto you have the type of carnage taking place on our roads. Additionally include the wanton glee of the policeman or the policewoman on the road to exploit the driver to maximum effect by taking bribes with impunity and the cacophony of disasters on the roads become supreme and understandable.

Why do we still allow second hand tyres into the country when tyres also have expiring dates? Why do we not budget for funds to maintain our roads, especially the simple mechanism of retouching the white road marks so that drivers do not have to make value and mental judgement to decide whether they are in their lanes or not? Why can we not solve the long-standing problem of who should pay for the street lighting systems so that we can have functional lights on our roads? Why do we not make recalcitrant drivers and their insurance companies pay for the street lights, road railings and road signposts they damage when they run into them so that they can be quickly replaced? Why do we not remove all the policemen and policewomen holding the so-called speed guns which they use as armed robbery guns to extort money from drivers on the pretence of checking over-speeding? After all, there is an unspoken alliance among all drivers to warn other drivers of the presence of these state legalised extortionists in black and white uniform so a lot of the time many drivers escape from these criminals. What is worse, once these speeding drivers pass the police, they continue with their speeding as if nothing has happened.

This is a nation of one big Animal Kingdom. We live in hypocrisy. We display little IQ in our everyday life. We do not understand safety and security. The education we have had has made us big time criminals and nowhere is this grossly displayed than in the statistics of road accidents and fatalities and yet we turn deaf ears and closed eyes to this national disaster. May Allah save us all, Amen!

BY Kwame Gyasi

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