On January 20th, 2022, there was a reported accident on the road in Appiatse, Ghana, involving a truck carrying dynamite explosives, a motorbike, and unreported vehicle causing at least 17 people to perish and over 59 injuries. Videos taken during the collision shows a large blast in the Appiatse area, near the city of Bogoso about 300 km (180 miles) west of the capital, Accra. An entire town was diminished to piles of wood, brick, twisted metals and rubbish. The transportation agency of a mining company decided it was safe for a vehicle carrying explosives to drive on the main road during the peak of traffic causing several casualties.
The biggest concern that arises is that the accident was avoidable had the promise of an improved infrastructure been fulfilled to develop more roads. There should be entirely separate roads for trucks carrying heavy loads of products and especially explosives. It was stated by local community members learning of the incident that the materials should have been airlifted just as gold is airlifted once mined. Are government officials and corporations making a statement that gold is more valuable than its citizens that it has vowed to protect?
Allegedly there are two accounts that have been taken for the accident; one of the accounts fault the motor-biker for crashing into the truck with explosives that was on route to the Chirano gold mine, ran by Canada based Kinross, however, the motor-biker reports a vehicle behind him crashed into him causing him to go under the truck carrying explosives used in mining. After being hit, the motor-biker had to be rushed to the hospital and the driver of the vehicle also was able to get away before the explosion.
Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah stated that, "A total of seventeen (17) people have unfortunately been confirmed dead, and fifty-nine (59) injured people have been rescued." The deputy director general of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), Seji Saji Amedonu states that about five-hundred (500) building had been destroyed. The incident occurred 140 km (87) miles from the mine.
The citizens of Ghana and all across the continent must prioritize road safety for effective socioeconomic development. The road safety issues in Ghana are immense and efforts should be aimed at contributing to national policy development, stakeholder engagements, public safety education on road traffic collision, and safety campaigns. The inadequate road infrastructure and ineffective safety policies, policing and transportation systems poses a great threat to the citizens of the country and its development. Human-induced disasters are on a rapid increase as the rate of death through road traffic collisions per every 100,000 people is highest in Afraka with 24.1 deaths per a 100,000 population (World Health Organization WHO 2018). Statistics from the National Road Safety Commission shows that Ghana loses about 1.7 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) every year to road collision in addition to the loss of lives (U. Sheriff. 2019).
The first solution is to have officials working in Road and Highways Authorities and all agencies vet authorities to discourage corruption in the form of bribes. Training officials and the public extensively on in-depth knowledge on general safety, road safety and fire safety issues is imperative for there to be understanding and innovation across the country and continent. In addition, there should be revised traffic laws that are instated to ensure these incidences are avoided and the government must prioritize its citizens by building roads without the taxation of citizens but corporations that come into the country to extract resources. Mining companies and transportation companies should ensure they avoid putting citizens at risk by utilizing aviation for the transportation of dangerous products until roads are built and have insurance coverage. Improper vehicles should be taken off the roads and there should be preventive measures taken to avoid road collisions.
Institutions of Ghana must become unified in upholding the equity, justice and security of its people. The Ministry of Road and Highways, Ministry of Transport, and all government offices must identify coordination between and within institutions to improve institutional challenges that are observed in the system. The institutional challenge of the mismanagement of funds makes it difficult to build roads, however, those authorities must account for the mismanagement of funds all other transgressions. It is mandatory for a nation to safeguard the lives and welfare of its citizens. It is the sole responsibility of the government to construct, develop, build, and invest in roads, and to ensure their proper utilization and maintenance. These efforts of investing in roads, laws, education, and road maintenance would guarantee an improved economic future for the people in the country of Ghana.
However, the government of Ghana gives the impression that the concern about public safety is political propaganda and if this is the case the citizens of Ghana and Afrakans around the world must hold these institutions accountable at all cost. If we do not, where does it leave our children and their children? All things we fight for now is for the children, thus, we must not fail.
Any crooks and/or personnel in positions of authority exposed by institutional investigations as having been corrupted by power and authority they wield, must be thrown out and treated with the contempt they deserve, before such institutions imbibe their deformed characters.
J. J. Rawlings