Within the last six months Ghana has experienced two major disasters. First was the tidal waves that swept through parts of the Keta township in the Volta Region. The marauding waves from the Atlantic Ocean, left in its trail, serious bruises to the status of the ancient town. Residents and other indigenes lost their landing properties and other personal belongings. It’s been a perennial occurrence, yet there is no political will to deal with it, once and for all.
The National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO) put up a façade of relief measures which did not measure up the least, to the grief that the waves had caused the Keta people. Who can blame NADMO? They operated within their means and resources. As an agency of state, they should be seen as sharing in the grief of the Keta people. And they did just that. But in reality, they simply do not have the capacity to deal with ignominious disaster as that that hit the Keta people.
They serve only as relief suppliers under the circumstance. Aside, it has shown in successive governments that NADMO has instead of being public agency, have been used as an avenue for party foot soldiers. And so even in extreme scenario that they had the resources, they simply do not have the human capacity to deal with disasters of such magnitude.
The other disaster occurred last week at the village of Apeatse, near Bogoso in the Western North Region. A truck carrying explosives used to break mineral deposited rocks caught fire and extended to the townsfolks, killing thirteen people in the process with other multiple injuries. The difference between Keta and Apeatse lies within the means of the transmission of the disaster. While Apeatse was through blazing fire, Keta was at the wrong end of a fierce tidal wave.
Obviously, the pain of the human loses and the annihilation of the Apeatse community has thrown many parts of the country into a state of mourning since the tragedy. In the case of Keta however, since it’s a perennial occurrence, the people in and around the coastal area know perhaps, how to deal with the situation. And that could maybe explain why there were no human loses. But there is always the “When” that is left in the lurch. No one knows when such a disaster will hit Keta again.
Indigenes of Keta were displaced just like the people of Apeatse farming and mining community. In the case of Apeatse, they immediately enjoyed alternative arrangements. Neighbouring villages, by the orders of government, opened their classrooms and churches to the affected victims. Keta on the other hand, had no neighbouring good Samaritans to turn to. Their potential hosts were not under any government-induced obligation to accommodate them.
And so there was no element of compulsion on the part of anyone within the Keta catchment area to offer support for the unfortunate ones. Keta’s ordeal had been a perennial disaster that has been ducking over ages; Apeatse, on the hand, and no matter the pain, was experiencing for the first time a disaster of such magnitude. As a global iconic company, Maxam, is obliged and covered by enough insurance to ensure it re-builds the little village.
Keta has only government to turn to; yet politics has been the major determining factor whether Keta would be attended to; or not. Unsurprisingly, people like top businessman, Ibrahim Mahama has sent all manner of materials to help with the re-building process at Apeatse. Presidential hopeful, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor of the NDC, has promised to build the community town all by himself. The Vice President of the Republic, Alhaji Mahmudu Bawumia was first government official to make a quick dash to Apeatse to help with the rebuilding efforts.
He did that at the instance of his boss, the President of the Republic of Ghana. The President himself has sent a heart-warming condolences to the Apeatse people, while Keta indigenes lick their wounds and wallow in their pain. Till today, the President has failed to visit the Keta people. Former President Mahama has been the only high-profile politician to visit the Keta victims. There is not even a commiserate words from the President to the Keta victims.
So doesn’t Keta matter at all? Energy Minister, Mathew Opoku Prempeh has sworn to campaign against his own government if they attempt to build the Keta Sea Defence Wall to curb any further occurrence of tidal waves in Keta. He claims the old Mahama administration had the funds to construct the sea defence wall, but refused. So who is to be blamed? Almost every official of the previous Mahama administration is still around, so which Minister in the past regime accessed the funds, but refused to build the sea defence wall?
Many Ghanaians are still waiting for Opoku Prempeh to expose that official. Or was it former President Mahama himself? This is an answer most Ghanaians are waiting on Napo to provide answers. But it does seem his rhetoric is part of the political juggernaut we often engage in to douse serious national matters. So what is the crime of the Keta people? Is it because they identify more with the opposition NDC? Folks, Keta also matters just as any parts of the country.
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