Albert Einstein is widely credited with the saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.” But few others do not credit him with the saying. Whether it was by Einstein or another person, the truism in the saying cannot be doubted.
Anytime I think deeply about the saying, I tend to wonder if the writer was thinking about Dr Kwame Okro’s homeland before writing down those words. Be it education, health, governance, corruption fight, flooding or road accidents, we keep on doing the same thing and hoping for a different result. For the purpose of today’s discussion, I will limit myself to only road accidents.
Last Friday, the country was greeted by the news of a terrible accident which occurred at Ampomakrom on the Techiman-Kintampo road – killing 50 people and leaving others with various degrees of injury. Before one could make sense of what had happened at Ampomakrom, our ears were inundated with the news of another accident on the Cape Coast-Winneba road, which left 10 dead and many others with varying degrees of injury.
Typical of us, the deaths and injuries from the two accidents have pricked our conscience. The carnage on our roads is now the most topical issue in the country. Being a nation of talkative persons, we will lament and sing the same old hymn for a week or two and then go to sleep till another carnage wakes us up from our slumber.
I was particularly shaken because I had planned to travel to Tamale by road that very Friday but was compelled to postpone due to an exigency at home. “Would I have been a victim if I had travelled that Friday?” I soliloquized when news of the accident first reached me.
April 10 will be exactly three years since I saw three men join their ancestors in Samanfoland through a gory accident on the outskirts of Suhum. An inefficient fire service and an almost non- existent ambulance service colluded to make sure the victims never had any chance of survival. The mention of the word 'accident' brings back those horrible memories.
Abusuapanin, we all know the main causes of these gory scenes on our roads, don’t we? Do we not know that there are thousands of killers sitting behind driving wheels because they fraudulently obtained their driving licence? Do we not know that some of our roads have 'gullies' and not potholes because of fraudulent contractors and corrupt politicians? Is it not true that recklessness and drunkenness on the part of our drivers contribute to many deaths on our roads? Is it not an open secret that greed on the part of our law enforcement personnel has allowed many killer-drivers to ply our roads with impunity?
As I write, a tenant of mine is a bus conductor, popularly referred to as “driver’s mate”. I know for sure that he does not have a driver’s licence. Yet I’ve seen him on countless occasions driving his master’s Benz Bus 'tro-tro' with unsuspecting passengers in it. With many of his kind found across the length and breadth of the country, one cannot help but wonder if the traffic police deserve their monthly paycheck.
Truth be told, successive governments have not given the carnage on our roads the attention it deserves. I do agree with the assertion that the road accident menace is a national security matter and must be treated as such.
Lest I forget, I hear the government has indicated its preparedness to bear the medical bills of victims of last Friday's accident which occurred at Ampomakrom. A good move, if you asked me. But what about victims of other road accidents? Don’t they deserve the country’s pity and support? Or are they not Ghanaians enough?
Such selective tokenism by successive governments is not only annoying, but also show how confused we are as a country. Instead of tackling the road accident menace head on to reduce the number of fatalities on the road, we fold our arms for it to happen before we come promising to take care of medical bills.
It is even more annoying to see a former president, who woefully failed to tackle the road accident menace, pointing accusing fingers at others. Ah, very nauseating to see an unrepentant harlot preaching morality!
See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!
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