Doing the same and expecting different results
As a people, Ghanaians generally believe that God’s hand is upon us. We even boast about this sometimes when disasters happen elsewhere.
We are quick to say that “God will not allow this to happen to us because he loves us dearly”.
To a large extent, it is not a bad thing to proclaim the hand of God is upon us but so also is his hand upon every other nation.
The Japanese may experience their Tsunamis, the Filipinos their cyclones, floods, landslides and volcanic eruptions, and some parts of the US, wildfires.
But do these make them less loved by God? I guess it is just a matter of location and geographical factors.
In any case, we also experience our own kind of disasters except that in ours, they are mostly man-made.
These include the May 9 Sports stadium disaster where more than 120 people died, the June 3 floods and fire at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, a series of gas explosions from Kumasi to Trade Fair to Atomic junction in Accra which claimed many more lives.
As for motor accidents, the least said about them the better.
Hardly does a week pass without one big accident happening.
The cost to the nation in terms of death and injury can be any body’s guess. What is mind boggling is the way we all condemn, rant and promise to mend our ways and ensure that such accidents do not happen again.
Sometimes, fact finding committees are set up to unravel the cause of such accidents but hardly are such reports ever made public and in no time, the matter is put to sleep.
But if truth be told, do we need experts from the US for instance to come and tell us why our markets keep burning?
Or who does not know that when gutters become refuse dumps and buildings are constructed on watercourses, the results are floods after a little down pour?
Or do we need experts to tell us that with poor road networks, not well trained drivers, poorly maintained vehicles, poorly lit roads and a certain kind of police service, the accident rate is bound to be high?
Buildings continue to be constructed without regard to the building code and fuel and gas stations keep springing up indiscriminately.
We all watch these and pretend all is well.
Even statutory institutions mandated to check such wrongs also look on, complaining of the lack of everything to do their work including funding and logistics.
Ours have become a society of perpetual accidents and a recycling of disasters.
Nature is interesting and as the saying goes, you can only reap what you sow.
If we sow filth then certainly diseases such as cholera and typhoid will be our lot.
God will continue to do his part but we must also do our part as a people. We have so many fine laws on our statute book but our problem has been enforcement.
The reason why a citizen in Rwanda may not litter is that he knows the consequences of doing so would not be palatable.
Why do we continue to spend so much money clearing filth from the Odaw for instance only to watch people dump more filth inside?
How do we watch one driver do a very long distance without stopping to rest when he is only human?
He may be doing this every day and getting away with it but in just one day, we are very likely to hear unpleasant news.
We need political will to tackle some of these problems.
A leadership which would not be so occupied with winning elections to the extent that it fears that taking certain decisions for a long-term good of society would cause a loss of votes at the polls.
Anything short of this and we will continue to experience the avoidable accidents that plague our society. We cannot continue to behave the same way and expect different results.
That is against the principles of nature.