If there is any issue that has caused so much public stir, then it is the rampant occurrence of acts of violence in our country in recent times. Media report on acts of violence has been frightening, to say the least.
The level of violence and notoriety that took place in KNUST has for some time now still perplexed the minds of the general public. students revolted against the school authorities in protest over what they say was inhumane treatment and heavy-handedness by the authorities. After these students went on a rampage and destroyed properties, authorities of the school confirmed that the cost of the destroyed properties was a between GH¢1.6 and GH¢1.7 million.
After this violent protest against the authorities, the government immediately attended to the needs of the students. So where was the government all this while??
One would have thought that the violent episodes witnessed at KNUST would have been the last.
Quite unfortunately, it never ended there. Just recently, the actions of the residents of Madina and Adenta attest to the undeniable fact that those in authorities are becoming numb to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian and do not understand any other language apart from the language of violence. That over 190 deaths have been recorded on the Madina-Adenta highway in 2018 alone.
But the last straw that broke the camel’s back was when a car knocked down a teenager of the West African Secondary School. This act infuriated a group of protesters who burnt tyres in anger following the incident.
It will interest you to know that hours after this unpleasant episode, the government announced that work is to commence on the uncompleted footbridges on the Madina-Adenta highway from next week following the death and the protest on Thursday. Should we always wait as a nation and record numerous deaths before offering solutions to problems???
If it will take violent protests and deaths to draw the attention of the authorities to something they are expected to do, then Ghana as a nation is in danger.
Not only is it sickening but also disheartening to note that after this protest, police officers were on the road helping people to cross the road. The question on the lips of many a people is that ” couldn’t the police officers have done this beforehand to prevent such deaths from happening? So you see? This goes a long way to attest to the fact that the “highway deaths” has never been a money problem or a footbridge problem it is rather a problem of wisdom and the lack of proactive intervention on the part of those in authorities.
Forgive my lack of decorum, but if this i-don’t-carism attitude of those in authorities continues, then a chunk of the population and even those in rural and deprived communities will have to resort to violence in order to express their grievances to the government. This will never augur well for the holistic development of Ghana as a nation.
The eleventh-hour intervention of government after such chaotic protests brings to light two things;
First, waiting till people protest before initiating an important project as a government depicts that there has always been money to do such projects but government is only waiting for the public outcry before such projects are being done.
Finally, it also sends a wrong signal that violence is the only way to get the attention of our leaders who are in such positions for the general welfare of the Ghanaian populace.
I am not a prophet of doom but if such violent protests to catch the eye of those in authorities are woven into the natural fabric of the lives of Ghanaians, then we are heading towards danger and doom as a nation. We cannot continue to quantify human lives as a nation. If something was done in the early stages, the untimely deaths of over 190 people wouldn’t have happened at the first place.
There is no gainsaying the fact that vviolent protests are gradually assuming a major preponderance in Ghana and these acts are symptomatic of the lackadaisical posture of those in authorities towards the problems of the masses, so to speak.
The government should therefore develop proactive measures rather than reactive ways in seeing to it that these series of mishaps plaguing our country are being prevented before their occurrence. Death is inevitable but certain deaths can be prevented through good systems and good infrastructure.
A stitch in time, saves nine.
The writer, Elvis Effah is a Student of the University of Cape Coast .