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Opinions of Thursday, 25 February 2010

Columnist: Appiah, Gifty Andoh

From my lay point of view

Hope for the motorway?
It had been a long tiring day after doing lots of running around at work. All I wanted was to go home. Here I was, on board a very familiar means of transport; “trotro”, waiting for it to be full. After a long wait, it was and the sound of the vehicle as it moved, reminded me of a TV3 news item on rickety vehicles. It was however the least of my problems at that moment. I just wanted to be home. Besides, the troskis are almost all the same and if I complain openly, I will definitely be an odd object in the troski. Not that I mind, I was just not in the mood for that.
A long queue of big and small vehicles was before us, thanks to the traffic light. Whether it was I who decided to take a nap or the “violent” nap took me by force, I really cannot remember. What seemed like a commotion woke me up and checking with my time, I realized I had been in the “trotro” for the past three hours or more. We were close to the first toll booth (from Accra) on the motorway and dozens of vehicles were lined up in front of us.
A “thousand” had already fallen on both the right and left sides of the road, to enable them move faster. As for the few police men around the booth, with their eyes only could they watch; it was a helpless situation. My “trotro” driver was either law abiding or perhaps just acting so he kept to the main road which was virtually stagnant. The passengers on the other hand did not fall in love with his action and then the argument started. The talk which often results in the usual blame of government of the day. For me, it was a usual thing which really didn’t travel very far so I blocked my ears with an ear piece, “perhaps some good music will be better”, I thought. Suddenly a gentleman stood up and pointed outside, talking loudly. I became curious and took off my earpiece to listen.

The gentleman was so aggrieved at how pieces of land around the motorway had been used. Buildings seem to be scattered everywhere and most importantly very close to the road. So close it looked like an extension of the toll booth. For him it was sheer wickedness, lack of vision and selfishness on the part of the country’s leaders both past and present to give out such a place which could be used to extend the motorway. What seemed to annoy him most was his own foresight; that in some few years to come, if ever the thought of extending the motorway crosses the minds of those in charge, owners of these buildings will have to be compensated with huge sums of monies for the buildings to be demolished.
Within a few minutes, every soul in the “trotro” had bought the idea and agreed with him totally. He on the other hand seemed to be enjoying his disciples’ attention and got even more aggressive in tone. So inciting was his message that even I, who wasn’t interested in the beginning got agitated because what he was saying sounded so right. I begun asking questions; who monitors how close these buildings get to the main road? Who sold the lands? How much were they sold for and what were the terms? What considerations were made before these sales were made? And more importantly, (maybe to the tax payer) what was or will the money be used for? These were some of the things running through my lay mind. I did not take the pain to find the answers in my lay mind because I knew I could not.
Talking about the motorway, from my lay point of view, there are so many things that makes it a dangerous alternative of road transportation The illegal routes linking the motorway to lashibi and its environs which is now widely patronized, the crowds crossing, the potholes, as for the street lights, I have not yet counted the malfunctioning ones because it seems they all are and it saddens me that many of the accidents were preventable. With the sky rocketing toll fees now, let us act to save the motorway and the lives at stake.