Archives for posts with tag: Ghana

There have been so many thoughts running through my mind that, getting the sanity to sit and write this article have been proving a difficult task to accomplish. Since last week, June 3; my perspective on life as a Ghanaian citizen living in Accra has changed drastically. Why? Maybe, I was severely affected by the floods, maybe the scenes and stories of people who lost their lives in the twin disaster has been so horrifying, maybe I have been so disappointed at the institutions and systems in Ghana, maybe; just maybe…..

Today marks exactly a week since, Ghana and specifically Accra, was shaken out of it’s normalcy to a twin disaster of flood and an inferno. Over 150 lives were perished, several properties amounting to millions of cedis were destroyed and thousands of citizens have been rendered homeless and traumatized. I can count my own family to the latter. However, as we count our lost as a country, with a memorial service being held for the victims who lost their lives; this is the perfect time to reflect on our actions/in-actions that resulted in the disaster that was preventable.

Some flooded streets in Accra

Some flooded streets in Accra

 

Another unfortunate situation that must be addressed, is the indiscriminate way most citizens in Accra have taken advantage of the open- drainage system in the city and turned it into a refuse dump. Most gutters and drainage system in Accra before the floods, were choked with plastic waste and sand; blocking the free flow of liquid waste and water that it is suppose to carry. I once had an encounter with one grown man, who took advantage of the fact that it was raining to dump a whole sack of refuse into a gutter in front of a shop where I with a group of other people were seeking shelter from the rains. I was surprised when no one, took the right step to prevent the man from his indiscriminate act . I then volunteered to do so and the man who had no iota of shame, got the impetus to insult me; with no one coming to my defend.  Too sad, most of Ghana’s laws especially on sanitation have been reduced to a toothless written document in a book.

some horrifying aftermath of the disaster

some horrifying aftermath of the disaster

One other issue that needs mentioning, is the way filling stations have been erected just anywhere in the city. A 15 minutes walk on some major roads in the city, and one will count not less than two filling stations on that particular stretch. Most residences, have now been pulled down to construct filling stations, which seems to be the popular business in the country in these recent times. The inferno that accompanied last Wednesday’s floods, razed down a filling station killing more than 150 people who were seeking shelter in and around the filling station located in a busy area in Accra. The floods led to the leaking of petrol on the surface of the water which caught fire somewhere and exploded the filling station. Just a day or two after this regrettable disaster, the country is now witnessing the closing down of some filling stations that were apparently operating without permit and/or are in bad shape and are a disaster in waiting. Should  laws like this be drastically enforced after havoc has been caused?

The explosion of the filling station

The explosion of the filling station

Ghana should be up and doing. Wednesday, June 3, 2015; should be a wake- up call. Lot of havoc have been caused, lives that can never be ever again, properties that can not be retrieved and the trauma that will take a long time to leave. Despite all these, we as a people have great lessons to learn and the best tribute we can pay to the lives lost due to our collective negligence; is to repent and plan effectively for the future.  Government, institutions and departments tasked with the duties to make and enforce laws in order to protect lives and properties as well as to make citizens located everywhere in the country to live in peace and dignity; must do their work well. They must be made accountable to the mandate they serve. Citizens must be gate- keepers at the grass-root, to live by the laws and to keep authorities on their toes. Natural disasters are natural yet we as humans, play our parts to ensure the extent to which we are affected by natural occurrences such as heavy rainfalls.

Dorcas Tiwaa Addai

Dorcas Tiwaa Addai

Dorcas Tiwaa Addai, BA, is a writer, blogger, volunteer, MUNer and a youth activist. I am passionate about women empowerment, youth development, other human rights issues and International relations and Diplomacy. Currently, I ‘m a volunteer with African Rights Initiative International (ARII) and an intern with UN Refugee Agency.

 

 

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“There is this beautiful town with a very neat and clean environment, abundance and readily available nutritious food for all its people as well as clean water that runs through the taps at every corner of the town. This not withstanding, all young people in the town have access to primary and secondary education, and are gainfully employed after schooling. In addition, the health needs of these town folks are well catered for. From infants to old people; good quality healthcare services are at the disposal of everybody. The justice and security system in this town is fair and transparent, as people in this town are always able to move about in their daily routines with limited fear of insecurity , and where people are aggrieved, they always have access to a fair and transparent justice system that operates without fear nor favor, dealing with everyone on an equal platform . ”

The above is the exact if not more, of the world; most Ghanaians and others around the world would love to live in. The safe haven, we would all appreciate to inhabit and live our lives to the fullest. However, and unfortunately there is no vacant place around the planet earth; with this world we want waiting for Ghanaians to come and live in. We would need to make our home, the territorial boundaries of Ghana, the world we want. Ghana should be the place, where all it’s citizens and non-citizens alike who come into the country, feel a sense of homeliness, calmness, peacefulness, and progressiveness.

In as much as the governance of a country is a shared responsibility of each and every individual in the country; people at the helm of affairs at the various government agencies take the lead in making and implementing various decisions that affects the lives of people as well as the development of the country. Political and civil leaders with the mandate to lead the people, by representing their views and implementing them, most of the time do the opposite. Rather than serving the very people who put them in office by making laws and implementing projects that reflect the collective voice of the masses, most government officials pursue projects that serve their selfish interest and that of a selected few.

The United Nations (UN) have however taken the positive lead to get as many people as possible to be involved in charting the post-2015 development agenda.  The UN has launched the MY World survey that allows people across the world to tell the United Nations, and in particular the Secretary General’s High Level Panel, the most important issues they would like the post-2015 agenda to address.

This survey has allowed about 7 million people around the world to be active participants in the post-2015 development process voting and emphasizing on changes that would make the most difference to their lives.

60,668 Ghanaians have participated in the MY World survey, with 34, 899 of the total number being the youth between the ages of 16-30 years. They have added their voice to the world they would like to live in, the kind of changes they would like to see in Ghana to make positive impact upon their lives and help them live their lives well. The top six priorities Ghanaians who have participated in this survey voted on are as follows;

  • A good education
  • Better job opportunities
  • Better healthcare
  • Affordable and nutritious food
  • Protection against crime and violence
  • Access to clean water and sanitation

It is the hope of most Ghanaians to see the above changes effected in the country and the world at large. Government officials must be willing and ready to help implement these changes in order to make 2015 and beyond a period of accelerated development and inclusive governance that will bring growth and prosperity in all aspect of our lives. This is the world we want, what about you?

 

 

DSCF0499Dorcas Tiwaa Addai, BA, is a writer, blogger, volunteer, MUNer and a youth activist. I am passionate about women empowerment, youth development, other human rights issues and International relations and Diplomacy. Currently, I ‘m a volunteer with African Rights Initiative International (ARII) and an intern with UN Refugee Agency.