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Opinions of Saturday, 17 April 2010

Columnist: Awuni, Manasseh Azure

Transportation in Kete-Krachi is a Nightmare

Krachi District, before it was partitioned into Krachi East and Krachi West Districts in 2004, was regarded as one of the largest and oldest districts in Ghana. But the district has not seen any significant infrastructural development since its inception. This state of affairs leaves much to be desired. A legitimate question that could be asked by any concerned member of the area is: if Krachi District is relegated to the background, especially in the area of transportation, what then happens to other infant districts (such as Krachi East which was carved out of the Krachi West)? This question certainly needs to be answered by the authorities concerned. The main hindrance to development in Krachi is appalling means of transport.

Krachi district is linked up with its neighbours by two main transportation systems – water and land. It’s rather unfortunate that none of these is adequately developed to aid free movement of goods and people in, into and out of the district.

The road network constitutes an important aspect in the development of every town. But, Krachi district cannot boast of any motorable road that connects it with the rest of the country. This unfortunate state of affairs has caught the attention of Krachi Students’ Union, (KNUST Branch) to come out with this article. The Union wishes to call on the authorities to rise up to the occasion. The Union is alarmed because currently the Ghana Highway Authority is not carrying out any maintenance works on any of the roads within Krachi. The road network is left to the mercy of erosion during this period of the year. The Union wishes to urge the authorities who matter in the welfare of the district to draw up comprehensive action plan indicating when roads within Krachi would be awarded on contract. We have had enough of the “It’s in the pipeline” and “Plans are far advanced” syndrome. The Union believes that leadership is action, not position. The Union is also of the view that constructing and repairing existing roads would help in removing transport bottlenecks and facilitating marketing of farm produce, since is the main occupation of people in the district. Information available to the Union indicates that improvement in the road network in the district will signal the arrival of more vehicles even in villages and this will in turn make transportation of passengers and farm produce to market centres in the district easier. The Union has also noted that farmers would get better prices for their produce because they will be able to sell their farm produce directly rather than through intermediaries.

The Union is urging the government to fulfill all its promises to the people of Kete-Krachi by making them part of better Ghana agenda. It is Union’s prayer that abandoned conracts within the area are continued. It is usually not uncommon for drivers whose vehicles get stuck in the mud to spend hours or even days on the roads, especially in the rainy season.

The time is always right to do what is right. There is no right time than today to remind His Excellency President J. E. A. Mills of the promise made to put a ferry on the lake. “I am aware of the breakdown of the ferry between Krachi and Kejeji. I can assure Nananom and their people that the first quarter of next year will put that problem behind us.” This was contained in a speech read on his behalf by Mr. Joe Gidisu, Minister of Roads and Highways at the grand durbar of chiefs and people of Krachi Traditional Area climaxing the Denteh Akwanbo Festival last year. The importance of the operations of the ferry cannot be underestimated. The ferry links Krachi with other areas such as Kejeji, Brong Ahafo and part of Northern Ghana. It is abundantly clear that more than 70% of the inhabitants who travel out of Krachi patronize the service of the ferry because Kete-Krachi is a peninsular.

Private individuals who came in with the aim solving transportation problems on the Volta Lake have taken advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant fares. Their activities have worsened the plight of the inhabitants of the area. The union is not in any way against private involvement in the transport industry. We are however against individuals whose actions or inactions undermine the welfare of the people of the area. The economic activities of the area have dwindled since the ferry became defunct since 2004.

The Union reminds the president of the promise he made to the people to restore the ferry within the first quarter of this year. The promise of His Excellency is still fresh in the minds of people. The union is humbly reminding him that the first quarter of the year has ended.

The problem of transportation within the district has affected the functioning of institutions in the area. For instance, qualified teachers, health workers and other paramedics refuse postings to the district because travelling out of the district is more than a nightmare. Kete-Krachi is not accessible.

Kete-Krachi is peninsular and without the ferry, it is practically impossible to travel. The speed boats that are currently operating in the absence of the ferry are not only inadequate but they are also very dangerous, especially in the rainy season. Accidents on the Volta Lake are not new and all we can tell the government and all those who matters is that there is no better time to respond to the call of the people of Kete-Krachi than now.

Credit: The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology branch of the Krachi Students Union.