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Opinions of Sunday, 19 August 2018

Columnist: Vicky Wireko

What kind of people are we?

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A group of us were in a bus the other day for church duties when suddenly, a commuter bus (tro-tro) driver, while holding his mobile phone to his ear with one hand negotiated a U-turn dangerously with the other hand.

He did not seem perturbed despite the danger posed to other vehicles and lives in that traffic. The insensitiveness of this driver prompted one of us instinctively to ask, “What kind of people are we?”, as we all condemned the driver.

The driver’s action indeed is a microcosm of what our society has become. Insensitivities, impunities and lawlessness abound everywhere. For what kind of people can we be where laws meant to moderate life for all of us are casually dismissed?

It is beginning to feel like a jungle where impunities are the normal way of life. How distasteful and repulsive was the news coming from Tamale that some New Patriotic Party (NPP) youth had audaciously gone to the regional hospital to cause commotion. The result is that the hospital staff in protest refused to go to work for a couple of days.

The depressing attitude of society today is mind-boggling, at least for those of us who saw the days of a glorious Ghana. One yearns sometimes for those good old days where we thought going forward would be even better. But no, we are in reverse mode.

Today, all around us are people bent on doing the wrong things even in the public space, with the greatest impunities. Regrettably, laws carefully crafted to regulate safety and order in society are being torn apart with people taking the law into their own hands.

In the news earlier this week, four policemen who were allegedly responding to a distress call while on patrol duties last Saturday night were shot and attacked by suspected armed robbers in a suburb of Accra. If communities cannot go to sleep in peace because those we pay to watch over us are being terrorised, then indeed we need to ask: What kind of people are we?

Our beautiful country seems to be overtaken by impunities and heartlessness where some people wake up each morning with evil plans and actions to disturb the peace of others.

Recently, a brand of feminine hygiene wash was being re-labelled with new manufacturing and expiry dates by some unscrupulous individuals to make the expired product look new on the market. According to a release from the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), their nationwide market surveillance team uncovered the dubious act.

Meanwhile, the expired re-labelled Lavet Feminine Hygiene Wash has already gone into the market and FDA is making frantic efforts to recall it. This wicked action of re-labelling expired goods, including food and drinks, and reselling to unsuspecting consumers is a regular occurrence. Once a while, the FDA chances on them and sounds alarm bells. So what kind of people are we if we can deliberately endanger people’s lives simply for the profit that we stand to gain.

Yet on Sundays, dressed in our best clothes, close to 70 per cent of the population appear piously in church to give praises to God for preserving our lives. Meanwhile, our actions and inactions during the week would pass for murder.

Commercial motorbikes, popularly known as Okada, have unleashed terror on our roads and yet they are outlawed in our country’s statuet books. They are totally out of hand now, doing all the unthinkable; breaking road traffic regulations and endangering lives and properties. Amazingly, new ones are being registered every day, thus increasing the potential danger they cause. What kind of people could we be?

A friend shared with me on social media, a graphic picture of heaps of unsightly rubbish left at a point on the George Bush Highway. Without the slightest prick on our consciences, we throw rubbish in the open and indiscriminately in neighbourhoods. Markets where we go to buy foodstuffs for family meals are littered with rotten smelly food items left for days and sometimes weeks with no one attending to them.

The flip side of this is also a question to be asked of the responsible authorities. What kind of people are we when in the midst of unemployment we have teeming youth on our roads hawking and endangering their lives. Why can we not create sanitation jobs for such youth?

We must have district assemblies bye- laws that bar cattle and other livestock roaming our communities. So, I am asking, what kind of people are we to allow the unsightly and sometimes perilous scenes of cattle grazing in broad daylight in some communities, including residential areas?