GHANA: Quality of Life & Tourism

Sanitation Courts

Since Ghana’s political Independence in 1957, various governments have sought to reconnect and attract home Africans in the diaspora who wished to relocate. Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah set the pace with the relocation of icons like W.E.B. Dubois, George Padmore, etc. Under the government of President J. J. Rawlings the Pan African Festival (PANAFEST) was instituted and the Kuffour administration commissioned the Joseph Project. The current government under Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo initiated and launched The Year of Return in September 2018 in Washington D.C. in anticipation and commemoration of 400 years since the first enslaved Africans arrived in the U.S. in 1619. The program was so successful that government has rolled over the Year of Return into the Decade of Return.  But Ghana has problems that can wholly be resolved through attitudinal change by indigenes: quality of life.

The Akufo-Addo administration in its early stages of reign promised to uplift the aesthetic image of Accra to be among – if not the cleanest – city in Africa. We do not know if there were milestones and schedules developed to execute programs that will enable Accra and indeed major cities in Ghana attain that goal. The current state of sanitation only shows that Accra is miles away from its target as the cleanest city in Africa. The nation’s capital is littered with filth, junk and anything in between. Culverts and gutters, highway medians, transportation and transit hubs in the Central Business District (CBD), recreational places as well as residential and places of worship are saturated with raw sewage, plastic, and garbage. These become haven for mosquitoes and other unwelcome sanitation challenges. The last thing a tourist expects to experience is sickness from malaria fever borne out by stagnated and infested gutters and culverts. Tourists are not enthused by urban blight, and may be discouraged from coming back and/or recommending it to others.  Compromised quality of life compromises potential socio-economic benefits that could have accrued.

One way to confront these health risks and their concomitant social menace is community involvement anchored by a strong and compelling legislation.  District and Municipal Councils should establish clusters of business and residential areas that abut gutters and culverts. Each home, business, places of worship and entertainment centers must be made responsible for a gutters or culverts that surrounds them and ensure the free flow of (waste) water along the perimeters of a given area.  A Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team (MDIT) of sanitation, district/municipal, and environmental officials could serve as a Task Force unit charged with compliance and issuance of summonses to culprits. Special Sanitation Courts that uncompromisingly and swiftly dispense justice for infractions must be set up and act accordingly. Refuse dumping in unauthorized places must be a thing of the past. 

The Tro Tro effect

The role of commuter mini vans known in local parlance as tro tro play in Ghana’s economy and transportation system cannot be overemphasized. It complements intra city/government buses for the low-budgeted. However, the nuisance and risk posed by tro tro operators must be confronted and resolved. In their attempt to beat traffic, they stop, turn, cut in, and cut out unanticipated and unannounced to pick up or drop off fares along roadways. Union officials and appropriate city/government agencies must work together to streamline and coordinate the movements of tro tro from point A to point B. Designated pick-up and drop-off stations as practiced by the Ayalolo buses could be initiated to stem rampant, arbitrary, and risky maneuvers by aggressive and haphazard behaviors on roadways. Driver orientation classes must be conducted to educate and update skills of operators in whose hands are entrusted commuters’ lives. Tourists rent cars for easier movement and the last thing a tourist driver wants to experience is an avoidable accident.

And while at it, we suggest government introduced Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) into the transportation/transit system in Ghana. The fluidity and dynamics of ITS could harness and coordinate vehicular movement in the country and put a premium on transportation efficiency and deliverability. After all, Ghana’s implementation of drones in the field of medicine has gained international reputation. Technology exists to initiate ITS-Ghana and Ghanaian experts abound; after all, ITS -NY was at one time headed by a Ghanaian and currently Chairman of ITS USA Standards (Transit Communications Interface Profile: TCIP) Group.

As Ghana is poised for economic liftoff and exponential surge in tourism, measures must be put in place to continually sustain and improve quality of life. Whether by design or default peoples’ attitude must change – or forced to change – to meet prevailing trends in life.  Otherwise, the goal will be a mirage.

Posted by on Jul 28 2020. Filed under Editorial. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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