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Opinions of Sunday, 8 January 2012

Columnist: Danso, Kwaku A.

Dying on Ghanaian Roads and from Environmental Filth

Our Ghana Leadership Union forum became extremely activated this week as a letter was posted regarding duties and taxes on vehicles and a reported talk of Hon. Sherry Ayittey calling for a ban on old vehicles, whiles government imposes 45% to 200% duties and taxes on used vehicles. This is a sore point for many Ghanaians who have gone through the experience and wonder why vehicles are so expensive in Ghana. It was later reported that this was not well reported and she did not say any such thing. I received this letter from Hon. Sherry Ayittey and reproduce her letter and my response for discussion for our nation as many lives are lost daily due to preventable causes such as poor road designs and hazardous environments sanitation issues such as open sewage, toxic dumping in our rivers and burning of trash in Ghana.


From: Sherry Ayittey
Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2012 8:33 AM

Dear Dr. Kwaku A. Danso,

Thanks for your comments. Figures released from the National Motor Transport and Traffic Unit gives statistics as follows:-

1. Total Accidents for 2011 ..... 17,799 vehicles involved
2. An increase of 2.29% over last year's figure
3. 12,004 persons injured
4. 2,083 lost their lives
5. 2,056 pedestrians knocked down
I believe you may call this love for the ordinary man.
We need not fight each other as leaders, but let’s find better alternative solutions.



Dear Honorable Sherry,

Thanks for your mail. I do not know why you or your Secretary sent me this statistics of deaths on Ghana roads due to accidents, but I do agree with you that “We need not fight each other as leaders, but lets find better alternative solutions”.

You also wrote: “I believe you may call this love for the ordinary man.”

Honorable, may I humbly ask if you have any training in Science, Engineering & Technology, and your ideas or plans for reducing or solving such deaths? These casualty statistics have been increasing over the years, and it seems government officials like you have no solutions (no offense intended), but just reporting them every year. Ghanaians are dying in the hundreds of thousands for decades due to (1) poor road and highway designs (2) poor sanitation and environment and (3) open sewage. Period!

I am not discounting the drunk drivers and possibly defective vehicles – however those are what you call fixed variables in an equation. No matter what you do, a few fools in society will drink and drive. However, the solution by government is (1) the design of good and safer roads and highways, (2) enforcement of strict laws against burning trash and vehicles with defective catalytic converters, and (3) creating underground sewage.

So, please don’t tell me to go and buy new cars (smile – I heard you were misquoted).

For your information and for real love for country, Honorable, we all need to find solutions and not just produce statistics. Let me share with you some of my background and what I did for my studies of Ghana, part of which I used for my PhD in Organization and Management specializing in Leadership, and on our problems in Ghana. If you want to know more about me, please do a Google Search, or search Ghanaweb, or you may also contact my old friend, your brother Prof. George Ayittey.

Honorable, not to belittle your experience compared to mine but I do not think you have any training in Science, Engineering, Technology and Management and problem-solving skills that can match mine, and I hereby humbly submit to you a few pictures to illustrate why so many people are being killed in Ghana on our roads and highways? And why some of us are not happy with the performance of our government in the last few decades, of which you are a part. With all due respect, it is unfortunate that many Ministers in Ghana are often appointed without the requisite qualifications and may lack problem-solving skills. Another problems is that you the appointed Ministers also don’t seem to consult qualified engineers, Scientists or technologists, until they are in your Political party! It appears that most every policy is politics in Ghana and you all forget the nation!

Another factor, as many suspect, is the criminal collusion between the engineers and the government officials to fleece the nation and produce poor quality roads and death-trap highways. The last and most important factor is the apparent lack of real love and concern for the real people of Ghana. I am hoping you may be an exception and Yes, GLU and I will be glad to work with you if you are interested and genuine. It is the duty of Ministers like you to find solutions.

Let me illustrate with a picture story: