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Opinions of Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Columnist: Adofo, Rockson

What makes the Proprietary of a Public Toilet a Lucrative Business?

As it was in the olden days when the Whiteman scrambled for Africa, so it is in the present day Ghana where the NDCs are viciously vying for the occupation of public toilets as probable Sakawa proprietors. The Whiteman partitioned Africa, weakened it by so doing, and was able to explore and exploit it to the maximum. The Whiteman was able to achieve his target of full exploitation of Africa due to the policy of divide and rule thereupon implemented. This policy of exploitation is still at play to our detriment despite our much hailed but derisive independence. Similarly, the second advent of the NDC at the helm of the Ghanaian politics has witnessed an upsurge in public toilet seizures. The seizures are sometimes executed in the philosophized Rawlings' style of infliction of maximum brutality on the victims, in which case they are the NPP activists and sympathisers. This manifestation of what may be a bestiality in the Ghanaian as elucidated by the uninformed NDC cadres is most unfortunate. In some instances, these NDC brutes have inflicted gashing machete wounds on those from whom they are forcefully taking over the toilets. There may be instances where such cutlass wounds have culminated in the deaths of the victims. Does this inherent backwardness of some NDC activists not reflecting badly on the Ghanaian? Does it not vividly portray us as still stagnating in the antiquity of the Stone age? Our attitudes should rather portray us as living in the 21st Century but not in the 1st Century. While these animalistic brutalities are committed in the guise of creating jobs for the NDC cadres as wished by the Former President Flt. Lt. Jeremiah John Rawlings, a seemingly devil incarnate, His Excellency The President of the Republic of Ghana, Agya Fiifi John Evans Atta Mills looks on as demential as ever before. Oh, what a Ghana we live in!

The warped conceptualization of the NPP folks as being the authors of anything evil in the Ghanaian society is regrettably unfortunate. It is only in the darker minds of the NDC that the NPP are viewed as evils when compared with their own obtrusive crimes. Confused as the leaders of the NDC are with the implementation and realisation of their much tooted electioneering manifesto, they find succour and solace in goading their so-called cadres to becoming conservancy labourers. This may explain why the leaders look on unconcerned while their numerous fanatics are egged on by the sycophant Rawlings to seize toilets in a revolutionary style. Why do they now, all of a sudden, want to become conservancy labourers or toilet proprietors, the very occupation Rawlings entreated them to shun many years back, one may ask? By forcing the Northerners, especially the Frafras, to give up their then most preferred occupation of being conservancy labourers; they became, and are still, endeared to the course of the NDC. They do claim that Mr. Rawlings by that gesture has shown them an accord of humanity, as being a conservancy labourer was quite demeaning. Why then this abrupt U-turn, where not only Northerners but many others are vying for that once perceived degrading job? Read on for the answer.

They find the toilets as diamond or gold fields able to rid them of poverty if they are meticulously exploited. Or else, what can be the motivating factor behind this madness of theirs to killing or brutalising fellow Ghanaians only to take over the management of toilets from them? I was in Ghana from March to April and by curiosity, or, on fact ascertaining mission, did visit some of the public toilets.. I did go to the much hyped and incident-prone Agbogbloshie Market or Station toilet. The unsanitary condition; loads of newspapers used as toilet papers to clean themselves had been scattered all over the place. There was a constant puddle of water on the toilet; water that had been used to wash hands and cleaned themselves, especially by our Muslim brothers. One will ask what work at all is being done by these NDC and other persons managing the toilets. Are they only interested in the money being generated for their selfish use?

How is the money, the fond of which has triggered the violence in the NDC cadres generated, one may wish to know? There is always a guy sitting at the entrance of the toilet who issues a toilet paper to visiting people for a fee. A page of say, The Ghanaian Times, Daily Guide, or The Graphic newspaper is divided into two, and half given out for a fee. Who checks to know how many such halved-pieces have been issued out in a day? Who supplies them with the newspapers? How do they verify if a visitor did not take a paper from them but went with his own as I always did? Going with your own toilet paper notwithstanding, one has to pay the full fee. Those people manning the toilets keep over two-thirds of the daily proceeds. As there is no reliable mechanism or way to check on them to ascertain how much money has been generated a day, the toilets have become a source of wealth generation in what may be a silent SAKAWA.

I suggest the management of the toilets be taken over by the Municipal and the District Assemblies. They should employ their own personnel devoid of any political partisanship to attend the toilets as done by the then conservancy labourers. These labourers are not to manage the toilets nor are they to collect tolls but to clean them as may be required. The poor electricity supply in the country may not make the installation of toll turnstiles a possibility to curtail the fleecing of the money being generated from the use of the toilets. In this regard, the usage of the toilets must be free and an alternative source sought to raise money to compensate for this loss. Income tax on houses and buildings can be slightly raised. Poll tax can slightly be augmented. The stealth stool land tax currently in operation in Ghana can rather go into the management and maintenance of the toilets instead of going to enriching the selfish chiefs and kings at the expense of the masses. The better the sanitary conditions of the toilets, the healthier the environment will be. And the healthier the environment, the lesser the preventable diseases, but much healthier the citizens will be in the end. This will resolve the problematic propensity at which the NDC may want to be on rampage in a bid to lynch fellow Ghanaians all in the name of politics and a quest to get rich quicker. All those scrambling for toilets with the ulterior motive of getting rich quicker in what is reminiscent of SAKAWA, shame on you?

Rockson Adofo