Since the miraculous escape from death of Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and others following the fatal accident which happened along the Bole Bamboi highway, I have not yet mustered the courage to call the gentleman on his cell phone to express my pity. Anytime I even tried to send him a text message something kept asking me, “what are you going to tell the man?” In short, I have lost all words to speak or text simply because I am too shocked.
God has really been very kind to Ghanaians because we would have been forced to start wearing ‘se asa’ funeral cloths and ‘damirifa due’ T. shirts. God is indeed merciful, dependable and Almighty. The last time I saw Dr. Bawumia was when he presented a PowerPoint explanation of why the petitioners were at the Supreme Court to challenge the legitimacy of John Dramani Mahama as the President of Ghana. The presentation which took place at the Regent Hotel at Sunyani mesmerized everybody at the venue. As he went to board his car on his way to the Northern Region, people watched him with wonderment as if he was a man from the moon. I heard one old man shouting on top of his voice: “Agya Akoa yi aben” (The guy is damn clever) Ghana would have lost a gem if the unthinkable had happened that fateful day.
Those who were insulting Mr. Owusu Afriyie a.k.a Sir John, the General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party when he said he smelled rat following the fatal accident do not know the modus operandi of the NDC, an off-shoot of the PNDC. History is always there to guide us. During the revolutionary days people were killed in similar manner and so it stands to reason that it could happen one more time. In those days when Bishop Palmer Buckle took on the powers that be, they decided to wipe him out of the surface of the earth. The assassination attempt failed badly when another man of God with beard similar to that of the holy Bishop was shot and killed at the beach in Accra. Similarly when the late Vice President of Ghana, Mr. Ekow Nkensen Arkaah parted ways with Rawlings and started spilling the beans, his car was jammed and he died sorrowfully. Up till today, the Pick-Up and the driver who committed the heinous crime have not been identified. In those wish-to-be-forgotten days, tipper trucks loaded with sand and stones were used to crush cars of enemies of the so called revolution. Many dissidents died through this modus operandi. Is it not surprising that the two tyres of a brand new V8 car could bust at the same time?
Sir John was absolutely right when he said he did not believe in the police. These party police men and women will pretend to be investigating the matter and end up with a result that the whole issue was a mere accident and it should be treated as such. Case closed! In other jurisdictions high profile accidents like that of Arkaah and Bawumia would be referred to private investigators. Why is the government silent on the issue? All that we heard was the infantile explanation given by Mahama Ayariga that Bawumia’s driver did not check the tyres of the V8 car before setting off. Was he in the same house with Bawumia that day when they set off? How did he know that the tyres were not checked? The Akans say: Se wo we kwakuo tire a na wo so ho dei (If you eat the head of a monkey, you always dream of it) And there was this NDC communication team member who calls himself something Anthony who also propounded a silly conspiracy theory that the driver was going at a break neck speed hence the busting of the two tyres at the same time. In the face of all these provocations, I would like to plead with Sir John to ignore them and concentrate on the Supreme Court case because in no time the opportunity will come for us to reopen the Bawumia accident saga.
The Magic of Air Bags and Seat Belts
When tragedy strikes, it changes our perspective on life. It tests our strength and sense of duty. Sometimes tragedy hardens the heart; at other times it makes a kinder person. Everything we have taken for granted, we re-examine to decide what is most important. Tragedy has a way of making things different for all of us. What happened to Dr. Bawumia should be an eye opener to all Ghanaians. No wonder the sages say prevention is better than cure. It is tragedy that makes us understand God and move us closer to Him. When we don’t experience tragedy, we take things for granted. We eat, drink, laugh and smile our ways to the banks and think nothing would happen one day.
There is this thing called air bag. When a car crushes and you are behind the wheels or sitting in the front seat, the air bag will open and cushion you so that you are not seriously injured. Engineers say the air bag technology has saved several lives. Before the introduction of the air bag technology heads were smashed against wind screens and chests broken on steering wheels anytime there was a car crash. Sometimes drivers behind the wheels are thrown out of the car and crashed on the road simply because the vehicle has no air bag fixed in it. Sadly, many second-hand cars imported into the country today do not have air bags fixed at the front seat leading to many deaths which could have been avoided. Those who are supposed to insist that cars imported into the country are fixed with air bags prefer to sit in the comfort of their offices, receiving bribes and kickbacks. After all, do they care, their cars have air bags.
There is one also called seat belt. We have them in airplanes, fast trains, and cars. If you sit in a plane you are instructed by the air hostess when the plane is about to take off at the runway to fasten your seat belt. It is when the plane is airborne that the air hostess instructs you to unfasten your seat belt. In fact, when the plane is about to land on the tarmac you are also instructed to fasten your seat belt. All these procedures are to save your life in case of a plane crush. In some cases the air hostesses go round to help passengers fasten their seat belts. So you see the seriousness attached to the fastening of seat belts?
When you sit in your car and fail to fasten your seat belt, it is indicated on the dashboard. If you refuse to obey the instruction on the dashboard, you do so at your own peril. In other jurisdictions when you are arrested for not wearing a seat belt, the punishment is severe. In fact, the punishment for not wearing a seat belt is similar to the one meted out to a person who attempted to commit suicide. Here in Ghana, personnel of the MTTU treat the issue of seat belts with kid gloves. They mount road checkpoints, stop drivers, collect one Ghana Cedi notes but refuse to see whether the driver and the passengers are wearing their seat belts. As for private car owners, the police do not stop them at all.
When Dr. Bawumia granted an interview to Mr. Boadu of the DAILY GUIDE what really touched my heart was the advice he gave to Ghanaians not to take the issue of seat belts so lightly. The astute technocrat told us that in the first place he thanks God for small mercies and went on to say but for the seat belts that he and his colleagues were wearing, the situation could have been different. I wonder how many Ghanaians took notice of the advice. We gamble with our lives as we go about our duties. We refuse to heed to simple instructions and end up killing ourselves eventually. The time has come for the road safety campaign people to sit up and refocus their activities. These people wait until we are approaching Christmas or Easter before they start disturbing our ears. In view of the daily carnage on our roads, the issue of road safety campaign should be a daily activity but not a nine-day wonder.