As I begin to write this post, I first want to take a second to remember the victims’ that perished and extend my condolences to their grieving family members. Secondly, this accident was completely avoidable if the proper road planning, safety measures, and maintenance had been rendered.
Writing this from the confines of my office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in the USA, I may have a different perspective than many that reside in Ghana. I drove to my office this morning on roads that may be considered very well maintained by some in Ghana. However, I know that our average roads don’t compare to the average roads that I have seen in parts of Europe. All things aside, Ghana’s road network is certainly in desperate need of an overhaul for the safety of our nation, to attract the type of investors Ghana craves, and overall to allow for efficiency in the transporting of goods, labour, and people. Ghana has many models it could follow to achieve this aim, primarily the American interstate highway system which was influenced by the German Autobahn system. (As an aside, isn’t it amazing that the German autobahn has no speed limits on majority of their road network, but fatalities are much lower than other places that have limitations on speed?) The George-Bush “Highway” that was constructed in Ghana some years ago is more reminiscent of an inter-city road normally seen in other parts of the more developed world. Why do Ghana’s political class need to be spurred by their constituents before acting in the best interests of the State? This issue is a national defense issue, a public health issue, a security issue, and a safety issue. Funds needed for this type of project can readily be obtained from various lending sources (PPP has gained fashion in Ghana lately). However, consoling the victims after the wake of this tragedy, and pacifying the families with small gratuity is not in the spirit of having the people’s best interest at heart.
The evolution of Ghana’s nascent democracy hinges on the development of infrastructural services that benefit all; not merely an increase of GDP that doesn’t seem to be evident in the basic human services that are inherent rights of its people.
I task the bold lawyers in Ghana to make this case a precedent-setting case by pursuing damages for the victims’ families against the responsible parties. The publicly owned bus company, the manufacturers of the bus and/or truck, the truck company ownership, and all parties that may have had some form of responsibility in this devasting accident. Though I am not familiar with Ghanaian laws regarding negligence and tort, the acclaimed lawyers in Ghana should be able to decipher the legal issues and possible claims.
Let us not sit back and continue to provide illegitimate reasons why things can not change; rather let us analyze the continuing impact of these fatalities on countless victims’ whom may have had the course of their life altered with the loss of a provider.