Many Ghanaians including myself have begun to ask desperate questions relative to the ghastly murders on our roads. "is it a curse to have good roads? Is it safe travelling by road any longer?" these are but a few of the many queries that presently confront us.
The history of road accidents, I believe, can be dated back to when good roads were constructed. This logic is imputed because it is unlikely for vehicles to over speed on feeder roads or heavily damaged roads and this can be supported by the recorded locations of road accidents in the country. These road murders have contributed to the tragic loss of prominent citizens, astute technocrats, the labour force, breadwinners and loved ones.
Several Medical Officers, Politicians, Musicians, Actors, Police Officers, other scarce professionals, etc have been killed through road accidents but unfortunately, the figures keep rising at such an alarming rate that suggests to me that the country is helpless in dealing with the occurrence.
And the saddest part is those road accidents is gradually becoming one of the usual norms in this country and everyone seem to be comfortable with this threat. Only yesterday, 22nd day of March 2019, the country witnessed an outrageous decimation of our population. Over eighty (80) lives were unjustifiably killed in two separate gruesome accidents in Ekumfi Abor in the Central Region and Kintampo in the Bono East Region.
Loudly, I ask again, "Is the state helpless? What are our stakeholders doing?" the Ministry of Roads and Highways, the Road Safety Commission, the Driver, Vehicle and Licensing Authority, the Police and other subsidiary organizations have the authority of the state to ensure that our roads are safe for transportation but it looks as if they have done very little to mitigate or erase this menace whilst the citizenry quietly look on.
"What is the state not doing right? What are the stakeholders doing wrong over the years? Are we still issuing out driving licenses to unqualified drivers? Are we still accepting bribes and other monetary favours from offending, dangerous and recalcitrant drivers? Are damaged roads with potholes left unpatched? Is there any regular evaluation of road safety from all the stakeholders?" I know these queries will forever remain rhetoric until perhaps many many more prominent Ghanaians have been lost.
Whilst I still lament, I believe it is very important to bring to the attention of all Ghanaians the adverse effect of these road accidents on our society. It must be Clearly understood that we lose our professionals with special skills and it incurs huge sums of money and longer years to train new ones, sometimes abroad and by this means, the economy is impaired. It must also be noted that Orphans are created in homes and they may have to bear untold hardships forever- their education and future may be truncated.
In addition, lovers are prematurely lost and grief may have to tarry in some hearts and homes for a very long time when a father, a mother, a child, a friend or a fiance is lost.
To this end, I urge the Government of Ghana to radically act on this subject matter with all urgency. Civil society and Religious groups must get involved with the proportionate courtesy and empathy to reverse the constant, heartbreaking and disgusting perils on our roads.
This opinion piece is written in memory of Constance Asante Opong, a former student of the University of Ghana and a Chartered Accountant who died in a road accident on the Nyinahini-Bibiani Highway on 2nd December 2018.
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