Things fall apart even when we die!

BY: Collin Essamuah
 Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, The Asantehene -- He must be congratulated on bringing peace to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, The Asantehene -- He must be congratulated on bringing peace to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)

“Please be informed that mortuary workers intend to go on an indefinite strike from next week.

So if you want to die next week, please postpone your death until further notice.’’
 
The above is a quote I cannot in all honesty, attribute to anyone in particular online.

But it captures the intrusion of black humour into our social interactions and discourse in these hard times. Since this would be gone to press prior to yesterday’s much-heralded budget, I should be forgiven if I miss out on some of its highlights in today’s column.

The Asantehene must be congratulated on several fronts for bringing peace to the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The students are to return to campus today for lectures and other academic work to be resumed next Monday.

I am on record here as opposing chieftaincy as a national institution because the overwhelming majority of our chiefs are enemies of spatial development of Ghana.

I must confess, however, that if the chiefly position of the Asantehene assisted in the amicable resolution of the issues that led to the violent demonstration of October 22, this year, then we all can be grateful for the institution.

I say this in spite of the fact that the other public and private universities have no chiefs in comparable roles.
 
The government eventually caved in on its own demand that all institutional representatives on the university council be changed.

It rather changed its representatives as the statutes allowed it so to do.

It would be interesting to dissect the source of the ridiculous idea that these changes were necessary or even invited by the chancellor himself.

The attempt to have the vice chancellor replaced has effectively been arrested in its tracks.

Sallah case

When the Sallah case in the Supreme Court was lost in 1970, Prime Minister Kofi Busia was prevailed on by several leading members of his government and party to make the ‘’No court’’ address to the nation on radio and television because those members claimed the general public could not understand why the government should be defeated in so spectacular a manner by a court.

Of course, if the government had just announced that it would obey the court’s orders by paying compensation to EK Sallah for wrongful dismissal with regard to the 1970 case, the matter would have been closed, but the address changed the image of the Progress Party government regarding the rule of law and allied matters.

It also stamped in the public memory, the image of a party in government willing to dismiss from the public service non-party members for no justifiable reason, earning the infamous description of the whole exercise the unfortunate name of Apollo 568.

Footbridges

Who was it who priced the Adentan footbridges at the whopping sum of 30 million cedis? We have already been told more than 50 per cent of the work on the three, now six, footbridges have been completed? Who is watching the public purse? And if it was not completed in the time of the President Mahama regime, why has it taken so long in the succeeding one to be fixed? Obviously, the Mahama regime did not make it a priority because it had not become the killing zone then.

The question of roads quality as we gradually get better roads and access to our cities, towns and villages and to the homes and workplaces within, has become a flashpoint for political mobilisation.

Last Saturday was the 142nd speech and prize-giving day of my alma mater, Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast.

The gridlock that developed beyond Kasoa around Buduburam was heart-rending as parents and other well-wishers struggled to break through just to be able to make it to Cape Coast on time for the ceremonies, and connect with their children.

And our speech day held the second Saturday in every November for over a 100 years now, is the first in Cape Coast in the academic year so we may be certain that more of such incidents may be in the offing the rest of the year for the other prestigious schools in Cape Coast.
 
The problem here is that the bitumen road through Buduburam is potholed so badly that commercial drivers prefer the narrow shoulders for navigation and drive through.

We must remember that nearby not too far off are the two places that the Member of Parliament and Deputy minister of communication and the seven years old boy, were medevacked in separate accidents to Accra hospitals a week previously.

In the event, some of those travelling west to Cape Coast and beyond last weekend, had to turn back.

In addition, we must not forget that in Cape Coast and Elmina are our two most valuable tourist sites, and that making the ride to these places pleasant and comfortable and safe, is not too much to ask of government.

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