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Barima’s Beefs: Insights into current affairs, social life and politics

In his début blog for Asaase Radio, our man Barima wonders why security should be reserved for one class of people – and takes to watching the sky

We should all be safe

Around 1am on 9 October 2020, news broke that Ekow Kwansah Hayford, the MP for Mfantseman, had been shot dead while on his way back from a campaign tour. According to an eyewitness, robbers descended on them as they drove along a road where the armed men were stopping cars.

The driver of the car attempted to run through the robbers, but he was shot and lost control of the car. The passengers were then ordered out of the car. The Graphic Online said that “the MP reported introduced himself when the suspected robbers asked which of them was Ekow Kwansah”.

The attackers went on to declare that the MP was one of the individuals making their lives unbearable and shot him dead.

Help yourselves

This unfortunate affair brings to the fore the problem of highway robbery and security in general. It was my hope that the incident would prompt our legislators to launch discussions about insecurity in Ghana and how to curb the menace.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. I was incensed to find out that there were rather calls by MPs for them to be assigned police escorts.

To say that this is self-serving would be an understatement.

The energies of our legislature would best be spent thinking of ways to improve state security and work on other security challenges such as minimising the proliferation of firearms in Ghana and related crimes. If that is done, there would be no need for MP to put themselves in a cocoon in the first place.

It is not hard to grasp the concept: ensuring state security will also ensure your safety. I certainly hope that our MPs focus on what is good for the country and not what is good for themselves.

Ghanaians are watching.

****

Will Accra end in tears?

Like clockwork around this time of the year, there are floods in parts of Accra. Last Saturday, 10 October 2020, was no different. Suburbs such as Adabraka, Adenta, Weija and so on were affected. Some areas were submerged by the mounting waters.

Accra floods, rainy season

These floods have become de rigueur in Accra at start of every rainy season. Over the years, politicians on both sides of the divide, while in power, have pledged to deal with the menace but little has been done to deal with it. One would have thought that, with the formation of a committee of inquiry after the 3 June 2015 disaster, firm steps would have been taken. But no, we are still where we are.

Admittedly, under the current government, modest efforts have been made to demolish structures in waterways – a significant cause of the floods. For example, in 2018 Ningo Prampram District Assembly demolished structures situated on waterways. Buildings in Old Fadam were also razed earlier in the year to enable the dredging of the Korle Lagoon. However, such efforts are nowhere near adequate to tackle the problem.

If in doubt, reattach

Evidently, one large cause of this problem is poor urban planning, which can mostly be blamed on the disconnect between the Town and Country Department (TCPD) and traditional rulers, who often sell off land indiscriminately, without any regard for the department’s plans.

The desire by chiefs and other traditional authorities to profit from land assets has rendered the TCPD’s plans for urban planning irrelevant. Hence, sites set aside for purposes such as green space and sewerage are used for commercial and residential purposes.

Until there is a working partnership between chiefs and town planning, we will continue to suffer these annual floods.

The question is: can such a partnership be established? Is there sufficient political will to do what is necessary and erase the problem once and for all? I need not venture an answer. The actions of our past governments should tell you what you need to know.

On that note, see you again, Deo volente!

Barima Peprah-Agyemang is a student by day and writer by night. Follow him on Twitter at @fremebarima.

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