My cousin, Clifford Emmanuel Kwesi Aboagye (aka American Man), was knocked down by an unlicensed motorcycle, and subsequently run over by a green Mercedes-Benz bus, at Mendskrom, around 9pm, on the 15th of September 2010. Since that hit-and-run green Benz bus had a full complement of passengers, the painful question I have asked myself several times over, after identifying his body at the Police Hospital mortuary, has been: Where was the conscience of all those on board the bus that night, who must surely have realized that it had hit a human being – an injured man desperately struggling to get up and move out of the way of on-coming vehicles, after being knocked down by a reckless motorcycle rider, whose motorbike, I gather, neither had a headlight nor sported any registration plates? In knocking down my cousin, and running over part of his head, that bus driver in effect murdered the son of an elderly widow, who has already buried two of her five offspring within the last thirty-five years – and will now have to bury yet a third in the evening of her life. His African-American children have also lost a father – and his surviving blood-relations, as well as his friends and acquaintances, have all been deprived of someone they cared about.
I shall not rest until all those responsible for his death are apprehended and prosecuted for manslaughter, resulting from reckless driving. Henceforth, I shall also work tirelessly to ensure that that new menace-on-two-wheels, the infamous Okada taxi, are banished from roads in our country quickly and permanently. It is a dangerous new fad that has been added to the mix of negative factors that result in the daily carnage on our roads – and is a dreadful idea apparently imported and copied from Nigeria: in which foolhardy motorcyclists pick up equally foolhardy paying pillion passengers. I only learnt of its presence in our country, after the death of my cousin. This personal tragedy has also made me realize how urgent it is that a media project-idea, which I have been mulling over for some time, is brought into fruition as soon as it is practicable to do so – and definitely before the December 2012 elections. For some time now, dear reader, I have asked myself, why; when it is so obvious that Ghana needs a newspaper, which serves as an example to other newspapers in our country, do I not leverage my personal network, to enable me launch just such a newspaper?
I aim to make the National Review a newspaper that will command the respect of discerning minds; inspire the brightest of the young generation of Ghanaians; strike fear in the hearts of the corrupt, the crooked, and sundry lawbreakers within our midst; materially benefit all those who write for it and work for it as support staff, as well as help distribute it; fights for the national interest at all material times; champions the rule of law and the maintenance of the democratic system of government in Nkrumah's Ghana; and is widely acknowledged as being a force for good in Ghana and a positive influence in Ghanaian society. I will dedicate the paper to the memory of all those unfortunate individuals in our country, who have their lives stolen from them and cut short, by callous and careless individuals, some of whom should never be allowed on our roads in the first place – but do so and end up killing their fellow human beings because of the shortcomings of certain public officials in the road-transport sector.
If the traffics lights had been working on the day he was killed, for example, I am sure that my cousin Clifford (and the many unfortunate souls who have lost their lives in similar fashion at that particular portion of the Mallam-Kasoa highway at Mendskrom), would not have died in such gruesome fashion: As he would have pressed the button on the metal pole carrying the traffic lights, that is designed to move the lights to red, in order to stop on-coming vehicles, and enable pedestrians cross the road safely. The question is: Who are those who are responsible for ensuring that traffic lights in our country work – and on a daily basis? How come they have been allowed to get away with their third-rate performance as engineers for so long by successive governments? What was that motorcycle doing on that road when it did not have registration plates, and did even not have any headlight to make it visible in the dark? In a nation whose citizens constantly demand that violent crime, such as armed robbery, is curtailed, why are those who ride unregistered motorcycles, and drive unregistered vehicles on our roads countrywide, not promptly arrested by the police, whenever they come across such law-breakers?
Why, when our homeland Ghana is no banana republic, do the individuals whose job it is to prevent such indiscipline on our roads, not lose their jobs for being so negligent? At the New Weija District Police Motor Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) office, I saw a board with photographs of police officers using black polythene bags as substitutes for rubber gloves, to collect body parts and move accident victims unto vehicles transporting their corpses to the mortuary, at the Police Hospital. Why should that happen in 21st century Ghana, I ask, dear reader? Will it not be shocking, if it were the case that the Ghana Police Service, does not budget for such an essential item needed for the protection of its officers – in a nation in which millions do not know their HIV/AIDS status: and every accident victim is thus a potential carrier of the virus? Come to think of it: Just what sort of allowances, do the police officers who have to undertake such stressful tasks, receive, if any – and do they ever receive any counseling to prevent them eventually ending up with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), years hence?
Furthermore, is any regular screening carried out at all, by the Ghana Police Service, to ensure that no serving officer in the MTTU suffers from PTSD whiles on active duty: since that could make them dangerous individuals in a job that gives them access to guns? Surely, we have reached a juncture in the history of our nation, when Ghanaians must demand that all public officials actually do the work for which they are paid on a regular basis by the Ghanaian nation-state from hapless taxpayers’ funds – and that they are dismissed from such jobs when they fall short of expectation, and their inaction results in tragedies, which rob our homeland Ghana of some of its sons and daughters: through preventable road accidents for example? If that were the case, dear reader, is it not likely that on the day my cousin Clifford died so painfully, yet another preventable death at Mendskrom, on the Mallam-Kasoa highway, would not have occurred – because that callous Benz-bus driver would never have qualified for a driver's license to enable him drive anywhere in Ghana, and that Okada rider would not have dared to venture on that road at all: as all the relevant officials concerned would have done their respective duties properly? Hmm, Ghana – enti yewieye paa enie? Asem ebaba debi ankasa!
Tel (powered by Tigo – the one mobile phone network in Ghana that actually works!): + 233 (0) 27 745 3109 & the not-so-hot and clueless Vodafone wireless smartfone: + 233 (0) 30 2976238.