Passengers carrying body parts blamed for Kintampo crash
survivor of the horrific carnage on the Kintampo road has blamed the tragedy on three passengers whom he claimed carried body parts of dead relatives on the Metro Mass bus.
Charles claimed the three passengers failed to perform rituals such as the pouring of libation believed to be a requirement before transporting body parts. The survivor explained that the bus driver who perished along with 63 others stopped to address a fault on the bus.
According to Charles, the driver could not repair the bus well enough and continued the 200km journey to Tamale. Corroborating other accounts of survivors, he said the bus was running with the speed of a jet. Not long after, the driver hit three cows, lost control of the steering wheel and rammed into a truck carrying tomatoes. The massive impact left Charles suddenly buried under at least five bodies, he said. Before the impact, panic-stricken passengers were frantic in prayers.
Charles said he informed the driver that he was carrying body parts for burial in his hometown where he was heading.
According to traditional beliefs, a family unable to bring back the body of a dead relative for burial in his hometown may cut off some parts of the body such as the hair for final funeral rites to be performed at the deceased’s hometown.
Charles said he carried some nails, hair and other parts and sought permission from the driver to board the bus. They performed some traditional rites before he boarded the bus.
According to him, there were three other persons who carried body parts but failed to respect the tradition declaring what they were carrying. For him, the accident was not because the bus developed a fault but because three passengers failed to perform rituals for carrying dead parts.
This entire year is considered a crucial year. From now till November 7 all political parties principally the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the leading opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) gunning for power would be campaigning for power.
Just as happen during every serious disaster in the country almost all well meaning citizens were stunned over the fatal lorry accident on the Kintampo road which claimed the lives of over 70 people with many others getting seriously injured. Almost all the presidential candidates for this year’s elections expressed sorrow and extended their condolences to the bereaved families of the dead men women and children some of whose bodies are said to be mutilated. Although the government promised to foot the cost of medication of the injured and burial of the dead people most people feel the accident could have been avoided if steps were taken to follow the rules governing the use of the vehicles involved in the accidents. The government vehicle involved in the accident was said to be faulty and overloaded at the time of the accident .
The President John Mahama joined the scores of Ghanaians to lament the poor maintenance of commercial vehicles as well as the reckless driving on roads in Ghana, saying they are the main causes of the many road accidents in the country.
He expressed the desire for stakeholders in the transport sector to do a lot more work to make the roads safer for users. Although the president is right we need to probe further whether the vehicle owners and the intuitions in charge of checking the roadworthiness of vehicles are doing their duties accordingly. Although vehicle owners especially state owned are required to make sure their vehicles are driven by qualified drivers who are conversant with the rules that requires them to stop to seek help when their vehicles. develop serious faults while in motion most drivers do not do that . When most drivers are tired and are required to stop their vehicles midday to take a rest they do not do that. Most vehicles even the governments owned that are running around our nation especially in the rural areas are not in the best of shape. Although the traffic police from the Ghana police service are aware of the faulty vehicles they hardly call them to book largely because of the little monies them extort from the drivers. We are told that apart from the accident at kintampo road many other road accidents have been recorded within the same period .
Mahama laments high rate of road crashes
President John Mahama has joined the scores of Ghanaians lamenting the poor maintenance of commercial vehicles as well as the reckless driving on roads in Ghana, saying they are the main causes of the many road accidents in the country.
According to him, stakeholders in the transport sector must do a lot more work to make the roads safer for users.
The President’s comments came after last Wednesday’s road accident which claimed the lives of over 60 people in Kintampo in the Brong Ahafo Region.
The President, who was speaking at the swearing-in ceremony of the Inspector General of Police, John Kudalor, at the Flagstaff House, said the Police Service and the National Road Safety Commission need to collaborate more effectively to reduce the high rate of road accidents.
“I believe that the Police Service working with the National Road Safety Commission should continue to do its best to see how we can bring down the rate of vehicle accidents.”
President Mahama noted that Ghana has one of the highest rates of deaths from road accidents and this, according to him, is as a result of driver errors and poor vehicle conditions.
“We are reputed to be one of the countries together with several African countries to have one of the highest rates of deaths from accidents, and a lot of them are as a result of driver error out of poor training, and a lot of it is also as a result of technical faults with the vehicles so our standard of maintenance of the vehicles leaves a lot to be desired.”
He also reiterated the pledge made by the management of the Metro Mass Transport to pay the medical bills of the survivors of the accident.
“The government is doing everything to assist them. We have asked that their medicals bills be taken care of at the hospitals they have been sent to. We will see how we can assist to make it easier on the families.”
President Mahama also acknowledged the near-disaster on the Yeji-bound ferry from Makango near Tamale, which was averted due to the swift intervention of rescuers from the Ghana Navy.
He has also directed that new ferries be released for use by commuters to ensure better safety on water ways.
“We believe that we should take a look at the safety of our ferries… we have new ferries that I have asked to be deployed immediately so that we can be sure that our people are safe and secure, when they have to cross some of the many rivers that we have.”
Angry Kwabena Donkor wants Yeji ferry ‘accident’ pro
Dr Kwabena Donkor, immediate past Power Minister
The immediate past Minister for Power and Member of Parliament for Pru East, Dr. Kwabena Donkor, has lashed out at authorities of the Volta Lake Transport Company accusing them of taking the lives of people who resort to the lake as their only means of transport for granted.
The MP, in whose jurisdiction over 500 travelers were rescued in a near-sinking of a ferry in Yeji, has thus asked the Ministry of Transport to institute an independent investigation into the incident that could have claimed the lives of over 500 people but for the swift intervention of rescuers from the Ghana Navy.
“I have called on the Minister for Transport to institute a probe into the circumstances leading to the incident. We want an independent probe into the circumstances leading to during and after, to serve as a blueprint going forward,” said the MP.
The passengers on board the Yeji-bound ferry from Makango near Tamale, would have perished on Wednesday evening.
The ferry, believed to have been overloaded with about four cars, other cargo and over 500 passengers, started sinking due to a leakage.
But fortunately for the travelers, some naval officers who were engaged in a training exercise within the jurisdiction, went to their rescue.
Dr. Donkor attributed the incident to what he called the poor maintenance of ferries and called for immediate measures to rectify the problem.
“…My concern is that, the signals have been there for a while, that we are poorly maintaining the ferries. Not just the one at Yeji but also the one at Dambai and the one at Krachi. There will be danger if they are not properly maintained. Some of these ferries are about 40 years old but that per say isn’t negative if it is properly maintained.”
He also tasked the Ghana Maritime Authority to ensure the safety of the residents who are also his constituents.
“I believe Volta Lake Transport is not taking the lives of my constituents as being important. We underplaying the lives of citizens and these are Ghanaian citizens. I am also calling on the Ministry to get the regulatory body which is the Ghana Maritime body to ensure safety. Too often we only run there when lives are lost, make a bit of noise and then after that we go back to our old ways.
This is a serious incident, we thank God that there were engine boats around… but we cannot continue this way,” he warned.
‘Let’s Set Up a National Public Safety Office’
For some time now Ghana has been suffering from fire outbreaks and such other disasters in our markets, neighborhoods, governments and other buildings. As a result of the disasters, the affected persons have suffered financially leading to social and psychological problems for them.
Because we have refused to think through to find reasons for the calamities befalling us, most people are divided on the reasons for the fires. While some people blame it on arsonists, others claim it was the city authorities who are setting the fires in order to take over the markets in Accra.
A serious study of the situation shows that all of these people may be wrong. Today just as the markets that caught fires in the past especially the past one month alone in Accra, more than 200 other markets are in danger of catching fires shortly, because the markets have poor structures, with illegal electrical connections with live electricity wires hanging across stores.
Unless we are given concrete evidence to the contrary, the fires are caused in the night when the market women and men have closed and left to their homes far away from the markets.
The question to ask is, should there occur electric faults or naked fire set by someone at night would there be a person around to put off the fire or raise alarm?
As a result of the calamities, the nation has also been forced to donate tax payers’ money to rehabilitate the damaged properties. The fire service which also is in charge of putting out fires also spends huge sums of money on their exercises. The disaster has been occurring because we either do not have maintenance plans or have not been paying attention to good preventive measures to deal with the problems leading to the disasters.
Apart from fires rainfalls have also caused havoc in our markets and some neighborhoods making them no go areas for customers and some traders. We have done all we could in reacting to disasters but it is not good enough.
A study of the conditions of our markets and other buildings shows that most of them are at risk of catching fire. Some of them are at risk during downpour of rains. The markets are not constructed to acceptable standards with most of them not properly connected to electricity and other utilities.
We therefore suggest strongly the setting up of the public safety office to take steps to audit the structures including more than 200 poorly built markets in all parts of the country with the view to putting right all that has gone wrong in accordance with building regulations in Ghana. We suggest that the body to be established should work with all organizations concerned such as the Ghana Fire Service, Insurance Companies’ Banks, NADMO etc to take care of public safety.
After all the buildings concerned have been rehabilitated, a special corps must be established to man them throughout the day and night to ensure the proper use of electricity especially at night. The corps should be trained to detect the building of structures on waterways and prevent them from being built.
We suggest that Regular inspection of the buildings be held in order to discipline all those who break the rules to be set for them.
All the buildings concerned that follow the rules will be insured against genuine disasters. All such buildings that follow regulations would be compensated when affected by fire outbreaks while those who flout the rules laid down will be sanctioned with fines and will not be compensated when they get into trouble.
You would find attached a proposal on the PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICE
You may get in touch with us to elaborate on the issues raised in the proposal
ALHAJI A ABDULAI