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18.07.2019 Feature Article

The Rogue Road

The Rogue Road

Imagine yourself on the Moon.

Now imagine yourself driving on the Enchi-Elubo Road. It's the only trunk road in the municipality, i.e the Aowin District.

It takes motorists three to four hours instead of 45 minutes to complete the 53-kilometer stretch journey. It winds down the rough terrain and literally ends up nowhere.

Trucks, motorbikes, buses get stuck on this road every day and every time. Some tumble off, some run into ditches and some end up disabled in the middle of the road.

It's unpaved.It's filled with potholes. It has bumps and ramps. It's narrow and slippery.

It has manholes, sinkholes and deathtraps.

It's beyond deplorable. I call it the Rogue Road.

It looks like it was carved out of a mountain by Kwaku Ananse and his son Ntikuma. It looks dangerous. So dangerous.

Part of the stretch is submerged by water. Another stretch taken over by sludge or mud and another dotted with tree stamps.

Where does this road lead one to?

A lady in one of the towns along the stretch described the situation as 'very pathetic'.

And I think that's understatement.

It's a euphemism for hell.

I think it qualifies to be in this group--the world's 20 most dangerous roads. Here are a few examples of the roads that have gained bad reputation. First, the North Yungas Road in Bolivia. It's called 'Road of Death' .The sight of accidents is frequent.

Then notorious 'Highway to Hell'. Route 431 through Alabama is a stretch of road that runs through the state. It's dotted with roadside crosses and other memorials.

The Commonwealth Avenue in the Philippines in Quezon City is another dangerous stretch. It's referred to as the 'Killer Highway.' This road has seen many pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular collisions and deaths over the years.

Why has the Ench-Elubo Rd been neglected?

It's understood the Aowin District or Enchi Municipality is the second highest cocoa producing area in the western region.

So what went wrong?

A Ghanaian surgeon based in the U.S who shared his view on the subject a couple of days ago attributed the neglect to this:

"Before the 2016 General Elections government earmarked a total of 628.70 kilometres of roads in cocoa growing areas to be constructed," said Dr. Dan Ampomah.

In addition, he said other projects were also earmarked which cost the Ghanaian tax payer US $150 million.

"The goal was to make roads linking cocoa growing areas a priority. Obviously, that is not the case and that is not what we are seeing. Funds meant for the cocoa roads project ended up in asphalting some roads in Accra, etc," Dr Apomah wrote.

He believes the funds were either diverted or misapplied.

"Misapplication of the fund has resulted in the picture we are currently seeing! Rehabilitation of road infrastructure is a good idea but diverting funds from the CRP is not the best," he stated.

Could politics be blamed for this neglect?

Indeed, you cannot take politics out of this equation. I think it plays a major role, overtly or covertly. Already, the politicians have started the blame game. Former President John Mahama has accused the ruling NPP of neglecting all the projects his administration initiated.

Don't worry we will come back and get them all fixed, to paraphrase his statement. "Yate Abr3,"

Isn't it?

This is how it starts every election year.

And the problem never get solved and the roads never get fixed. In the middle of this cyclical game, who do you see?

The people. Stuck in the middle!

They're virtually used as pawn items.

They (the politicians)need their votes.

But the people get nothing in return.

I'm told this stretch of road was given to a certain contractor 25 years ago. And whoever won the bid has managed to ensure that he gets paid every year with no work done yet.

If true, I suggest the individual and his or her cronies must be brought to book.

The people in this municipality are Ghanaians too and they deserve equal share of the national cake.

Did my people really vote?

Did Enchilites let their guards down or they just don't know the intricacies of this noble exercise? It looks like an exercise in futility.

How about Tarkwaians and Obuasians?

Their roads are very deplorable.

No Voting in 2020

That seems to be the general outcry in the municipality. But would they carry it though.

It remains to be seen. In the meantime, I wil like to appeal to Nananom and the people of Aowin District to consider this'-- your dignities are very important. Therefore, I advised you don't tread that road, because its ramifications could be enormous.

So please vote, but vote wisely and vote for a right candidate. A candidate that will address your concerns and not the one that will think of himself.

Be reminded, there are other things you can do. You can engage in talks with governments, embark on peaceful demonstrations, and continue to press on till you get the required result. Also remember this?

"The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all."-- John F. Kennedy

Can you imagine that?

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong
Gordon Offin-Amaniampong, © 2019

This author has authored 284 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: GordonOffinAmaniampong

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