Dear Honorable MCEs,
I am fully aware the content of this letter should have been ordinarily addressed to the Ministry of Roads and Highways. Nonetheless, it is not totally outside the purview of your mandate as MCEs. You are key players to ensuring sanity prevails on the streets of our various Metropolises by directing appropriate offices that are concerned to act accordingly.
I believe the balloon of buoyancy with which the "War Against Indiscipline" pioneered by the City TV in Accra has obtained is worth emulating, and must not be left in the hands of that media organization and the remote-controlled police personnel alone. It is a giant leap in the right direction. And can be a very lucrative source of income for government, if for nothing at all, the fines accrued from it could be used to supply firewood to the Free SHS cooks.
For me, when President Akufo Addo and his governing party on the campaign platform in 2016, said Ghana has the resources that it needs to operate, and does not need to rely on borrowing, I didn't take a pinch of salt.
In fact, one of the "goldmines" that could be a source of income for government aside the bauxite, the gold, the cocoa, the crude oil, is our mountain-size of indiscipline on our roads. Especially, streets of various Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies. Reckless users must not get away with such dangerous crimes. They must be fined. Recalcitrants who continue to disobey and pay (DAP) will eventually respect traffic rules and regulations at least to save their cash.
For the record, if I may use my own Metropolis for example, let me say that Tamale is not the cocktail of everything bad, but as a Metropolis that has a little regard for traffic rules and regulations, government could have made more money from traffic law breachers. And the same thing could be applied and replicated in the rest of the Metropolitan Assemblies in the country as it is being done in some parts of the capital by city TV.
In fact, government could have mobilized more funds through indiscipline on our streets alone to undertake some of its pet projects.
As a MasterCard Foundation Scholar who has been trained to find and fight social evils such as bad governance, and other social cankerworms, I recently suggested to the vice President of the republic, Dr. Mahmud Bawumia to have a look at what city TV is doing in the nation's capital. So that government could strategize to replicate this beautiful idea throughout the country in order to clamp down the yawning lawlessness on our streets and roads, and in effect, raise some funds as fines for the government.
The vice President thanked me for a nice idea suggested. But perhaps he binned the supposed nice idea thereafter. I waited to hear government's announcement to borrow a leaf from city TV to heal the nation's lawless, careless, reckless, and senseless road and street usage that keeps causing carnages on our roads, but to no avail. More than two weeks I didn't hear or see any official communique from government to that effect.
I believe the vice President could have been too busy with equally serious economic matters that took his attention from spearheading such an idea.
So, I turned to my own MCE, Hon. Iddrisu Musah Superior who is adjudged as one of the most successful Mayors in Ghana, if not in Africa. I wrote a letter to him as a well known harbinger of discipline, to consider this brilliant idea of instilling discipline on our roads, more especially, streets of the Metropolis (Tamale).
Like the vice President, the Honorable also lauded the idea with assurance to call me back for more discussion on it. Almost two weeks now the silence keeps deepening and widening. The Honorable has not said anything yet. That's the reason for this open letter.
I think as a government that is committed to alleviating the longstanding pain of the masses, such a brilliant idea must have been adopted with alacrity and not be foot-dragged.
And if we really are serious for development as a developing country, we must look beyond ideas we always think can help achieve what others have achieved already. Rather, we have to now be looking out for ideas the already developed countries did that brought about their development. And we mustn't look far. Of course, I do know that citizens' differences in different jurisdictions counts. However, there are basic things every serious country that has already developed or still yearning for development must consider. Such basics are discipline, patriotism, and hardworking as a foundation to any nation's development.
In Ghana, partizan politics has rendered these timeless values valueless and useless. So, it is difficult to find public office holders working for the interest of the republic. Their immediate families are always considered first followed by their political parties. The national interest is often eroded by these two interests (families' and political parties').
Could this be the reason for their silence on a brilliant idea like the War Against Indiscipline. I don't know.
In such cases, where majority of the citizenry lacks these fundamental values such as discipline and patriotism etc., it is the absolute preserve of government to ensure and instill these values among citizens through exemplary leadership. And where the citizens still don't cooperate, in spite of the display of exemplary leadership, the coercive apparatus of state are often employed to forcibly enforce and ensure them.
Nevertheless, as a result of lack of captivating exemplary leadership, our governments are often afraid to undertake projects of public interests that entail some degree of sacrifice. For fear of becoming unpopular as a government, the right but tough and sacrificial form of projects that could readily orchestrate our development are always jettison and abandoned!
I nearly directed this epistle to the president of the republic, His Excellency President Akufo Addo for consideration because it appears as the highest ideological godfather of the governing party, he probably must intervene to literally teach Regional Ministers and various Metropolitan Chief Executives (MCEs) with what to do in their Metropolises.
Be that as it may, I believe this idea is not injurious to government with its supposed or anticipated awaiting dire consequences that may cost them votes for fining citizens who breach traffic law.
My point is simply that, this initiative must not be seen as effort of government to inflict citizens with more hardships they claimed to have come to alleviate if not eliminate.
The UK and USA and all serious countries have effective traffic laws, and breachers are either fined or even handed ban driving.
Government of Ghana can be serious and strict on citizens who constantly disregard our traffic rules and regulations in order to curb lawlessness on our streets and its accompanying carnages, and to more purposely raise funds for government out of it.
If government is afraid to device means of taxing the masses (from the informal sectors), citizens who expose the lives of other road users to danger must not go scot-free!
God bless Ghana,
God bless Africa.
The Writer, Iddrisu Abdul Hakeem, is a MasterCard Foundation Scholar @ KNUST, Department of Religious Studies.
E-mail: [email protected]
Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author(s) and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."