You are here: HomeNews2021 09 15Article 1357429

Opinions of Wednesday, 15 September 2021

Columnist: Wonder Ami Hagan

The 4 big ‘sins’ that should be criminalized in Ghana

Systems need to work in Ghana Systems need to work in Ghana

It’s crazy in this part of the world, how indiscipline is a very ‘fashionable’ trend. Very unfortunate, indeed, very disturbing.

Ghana is a developing country and has its only cracks and loops but the attitude of its people is one of the biggest problems we have if you asked me.

Everyone does what they like, citizens barely worry about existing laws because the enforcers rarely are strict.

Laws are broken and people walk around free. Oh and do fines work anymore in this country?

So, ranting is usually not my style but I choose to in this piece; the trigger? a disgusting scene I witnessed this morning.

A woman alighted from a bus I sat in and upon getting down, looked left, right and then let loose an awful amount of fluid from her salivary glands onto the ground. Like a flash, “Ptui” and it landed with a thud, right onto the ground at the bus stop.

“Eeew!” I said in my head whilst thinking deeply how this can be stopped and when this will ever end.

I had read some time ago, with keen interest, how spitting in public is frowned upon in countries like Japan and how one can easily be charged for spitting under the Minor Crimes Act. Surprisingly, it works!

So I thought, how about Ghana looking at criminalizing some very disturbing practices some members of the public have adopted over time; practices that are more harmful than helpful?

They are many but the big 4 for me are indiscriminate spitting, indiscriminate urinating, littering, and open defecation.

Some of these may already fall under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) but I dare to say they have been regularized to the detriment of you and I.

Give me a few seconds, let me build my points on each of these ‘disgusting’ practices and explain why they need strict enforcement of written laws to be ridden off in society.

Indiscriminate spitting:

The ordinary citizen who walks on a daily to get to their various destinations must diligently watch the ground to avoid walking in a tiny ‘puddle’ of spit or dodge the remnants of the throat secretions from people’s mouths when they spit from their cars, especially trotros.

Aside the fact that this is very disturbing to the eye, it has very serious health implications. There are several diseases that are spread through the air. Airborne diseases mostly are spread through saliva, sneezing, coughs etc.

Now we have coronavirus to deal with but even before this, illnesses like Flu and hepatitis can easily be spread from this.

Indiscriminate urinating:

This one! Oh goodness! And it is easier for guys than ladies because all they have to do is take out their manhood, face the direction they want to and release.

Anywhere and everywhere, you see people peeing. I was shocked to the bones the last time when just around the under-bridge on the N1 highway, I saw a man peeing right on the pavement. Of all places, on a highway? I asked.

This will not stop until the laws make a big deal out of it.

Littering:

This one, we all see. In real life, videos, pictures, EVERYWHERE! The argument has been that there are not enough bins around for people to put waste into but what stops you from keeping your pure water sachet, or orange peels, neatly tied in a poly bag and kept in your bag till you get home?

Besides, there have been many cases where right beside bins provided for waste, people dump rubbish. If you doubt it, wait for a rainy day, then tour through the streets right after, you’ll see the amount of waste that has poured on the streets from the drains. The bus stops are even worse.

Open defecation:

‘Shit and throw’ – I heard about this term way back in the secondary school. It simply means defecating in a polythene bag and disposing of it anywhere in the public.

It still exists and now it’s our beaches and ‘forests’ that suffer. ‘We want fresh air’, ‘it is less stressful than going to the public toilet to pay’, ‘the public toilets are not kept clean’, these are some of the excuses I’ve heard people give for squatting in the open and ‘pooping’.

It is not an uncommon sight mostly in the communities that live by the beach.

There are a lot more to talk about but I choose to focus on these 4 for now.

Government must come together with city authorities including the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to find a way of making sanitation by-laws stricter.

Criminality must be attached to the laws they make for these offences, it is the only way some of these things will stop.

Now the people to enforce them must be disciplined and unbiased.

Yes! our prisons are full and may be more appropriate for ‘hard’ crimes but these petty offences can be criminalized with the punishment for such being strict community service.

Join our Newsletter