10th Anniversary of Naba Martin Adongo Abilba III

Accra - Tema Motorway: An open Trap?

Accra - Tema Motorway: An open Trap?

After my constant writings as well as those of others on the Accra-Tema Motorway and Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) received no practical solution, but rather a photo-opportunity for state officials to reassure Ghanaians that, all trunk roads would be “dualised” soonest, I had neither appetite nor inspiration to write on the topic any time soon. 

This despondency was/is fueled by the constant question, “do those who are paid to solve problems/effect changes read your articles, and if they do, do they care? Why do you waste your time writing?”

In March 2017, my article “Motorway-Kamikaze-Driving?” was published in the Graphic/Peace FM. It was followed in September 2020 by “Motorway-Beer-Party and Road-Traffic-Accidents!” My third article published on the subject was in September 2021 titled, “Road-Traffic-Indiscipline! No Traffic Lights!”

However, after watching a TV programme on Thursday 7th September 2023 on the current state of the Motorway, I recalled myself from my self-imposed leave on the subject. Indeed, I followed it up by going on the Motorway on Saturday 9th September 2023 to confirm what I already knew.

My article titled “Motorway-Beer-Party and RTAs” started this way:


“Ghanaians have an incredible knack for making light, serious matters with amazing ease. When a truck carrying beer got involved in an accident on the Accra-Tema Motorway recently, an immediate beer party started!


Asked how many bottles of beer he had drunk that early morning, a man replied, “only six!” A woman declared she had just started with two bottles and was making steady progress! It was also reported that a few people came with chicken to have a complete breakfast with the beer!

Unfortunately, not all accidents can be treated with such lightheartedness.

Indeed, on Saturday 19th September 2020, six youth footballers of the Ghana Football Association died in an RTA at Offinso.”


In all three articles, I discussed RTAs in Ghana and made recommendations to stem the tide!

7th September 2023

The report on TV showed drivers painfully going through pot/manholes on what is supposed to be the Motorway. However, some big truck drivers carelessly use the Motorway as a racing-track speeding their way through potholes. Indeed, on Sunday 3rd September 2023, an accident at the Accra end of the Motorway tollbooth resulted in deaths and injuries. Earlier accidents had also been reported at the Tema entrance to the Motorway, particularly at night as streetlights do not work.

Reactively, the following day came the announcement on Radio/TV that the booth at the Accra end of the Motorway were going to be demolished. Did it have to take almost two years of death/injuries to ordinary Ghanaians for such a decision to be made? Also, what happens to all other abandoned booths all over Ghana?

A former lady toll-both operator at the Ankobra tollbooth in the Western Region reminded Ghanaians that, following a directive by the Roads and Highways Ministry on 17th December 2021, tolling on all Ghanaian roads stopped. They were laid-off the following day. Among others, Ghanaians were told that the tollbooths would be used as toilets. Meanwhile the operators, mainly physically challenged were laid off.

Many hawkers who plied their trade at the tollbooths selling to travelers also lost their jobs because the requirement for vehicles to slow down/stop had been removed. Rather, vehicles now sped through sometimes with fatal consequences.


In my 2017 article titled “Motorway Driving Kamikaze,” I stated as follows:

“As a little boy living in Michel Camp with my parents in the early 1960s, I had the pleasure and privilege of being one of the early users of the newly constructed Accra-Tema Motorway, taking rides with my parents anytime they came to Accra.

The 19- kilometre solid concrete road was modelled on the German autobahn and was intended by President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah to be the first of many such motorways to link major cities in Ghana. It was simply an amazing construction and I loved being driven on it. There were telephone booths at regular intervals for emergencies and solid ground reflectors/lights for night driving.

Today however, in my retirement, even though it is the fastest way of getting to Accra from my home, I avoid the motorway like a plague. Why? It has become a death-trap with accidents occurring frequently. People drive on it at top speed like Jehu, overtaking every vehicle in sight, while criss-crossing and zigzagging to avoid potholes! Indeed, some drive like World War II Japanese pilots on a Kamikaze (suicide) mission!”


Has any cost/benefit analysis been done by the Roads and Highways Ministry/any institution to tell Ghanaians the net gain to Ghana financially of the closure of all toll booths since 18th December 2021? Why do huge foreign haulage trucks that leave our ports for neighbouring countries pay nothing for the maintenance of our road?

 Ghanaians were told that, the toll booths created traffic jams. With the booths abandoned, now drivers speed through with accidents and fatalities recorded. Apart from the operators losing their jobs, hawkers who hawked around toll-booths to eke a living have gone destitute!

In all this, has there been any financial loss to the state?

At the AGM of the Ghana Pharmaceutical Society from 3-5 September 2023 in Takoradi, Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast Dr Sam Jonah said

“Any society which creates conditions for politics to become the easiest and by far the most lucrative means of enrichment and self-aggrandisement is a society that is doomed.”

Leadership is meant to solve problems, not explain why problems have not been solved.

FIX THE MOTORWAY, and other roads-and-traffic-lights to prevent Ghanaians being sent prematurely to our maker!

Leadership, LEAD! Fellow Ghanaians, WAKE UP!

The writer is a former CEO, African Peace Support Trainers Association, Nairobi, Kenya and Council Chairman, Family Health University College, Teshie, Accra      

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