Live from the Woods: NPP Invincible Forces and Kintampo Waterfalls tragedy

If discussions about the Kintampo Waterfall accident bring a sense of deja vu, it’s because Ghana has been here before – there are countless disasters that have been recorded. Ghanaians are fiery talkers who’re deficient in action with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo being the guiltiest.

The Kintampo Waterfall accident has yet again exposed the many wrongs in our country and how the supposed sane people behave. It highlights our pathetic safety measures as a people and the acrimonious nature of our politics. Obviously, death is the last thing you will want to wish for anyone especially after sickness. But no words can describe how troubling it is to hear about the death of a total of 20 revellers largely students on Sunday. We’ve lost students whose contributions toward national development could have made us better thinkers.

But in this, I believe there’s no better time to talk tough in this country than when tragedy strikes and when we’re united in thoughts. We’ve always deferred actions that hold the power to save lives. The parable-like messages won’t provide any shelter for our government. God knows for how long we’ve put up this nauseating and disappointing ostrich behaviour.

How did we get here?

It has emerged some men who are part of governing New Patriotic Party (NPP)’s security apparatus known as Invincible Forces are those in charge of management of the centre at the time of the tragedy. These men who are untrained, unprofessional and unlicensed operators took over the place after sacking the original managers following their party’s victory in the 2016 elections. We’re three months into the new government and these people have been in charge of the place for same months.

A member of the group confirmed the takeover to Joy News, hours after the disaster. Abdul Razak said about 30 members of the group are managing the Waterfalls – a place they seized three days after the Electoral Commission (EC) declared then candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as the President-elect.

He said they charge GHC5 from Ghanaians, GHC10 from foreigners, GHC2 from students and GHC1 from children who visit the centre. Razak added at the end of the day, they handover the proceeds to their constituency chairman who deposit it into an account they have created.

These unlicensed people, with no knowledge about management of a tourist site, but rich in political revenge, are those operating the centre estimated to attract hundreds of revellers in a day. This is one of the low sides of our politics.

But the party and the President have not found any reason to talk them out of the act. The NPP has rather endorsed their action. NPP deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri-Boahen, told Joy News what the youth did was a sweet revenge on the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) whose members did same in 2009.

How do we expect these men to prioritise the safety of revellers especially after the weather changed? And did we expect them to provide any useful help to the students after the huge tree fell on Sunday?

This is the sort of despicable level of impunity we’ve encouraged in the country. Mr Obiri-Boahen’s justification will provide a festering ground for the act to continue anytime we have a change of government.

I have insisted that the problems Ghana faces are political. We have so many people in politics that don’t deserve to be there. These people, with faulty thinking, are unable to differentiate between national and selfish-partisan interest. On issues they’re required to sound nationalistic, you will hear them advance arguments that seek to divide the nation. Unfortunately, the citizens are caught in this vicious cycle by the way they follow these people whose behaviour is responsible for our lack of progress.

Ghanaians lack the national consciousness essential for the development of any civilise country. The presence of this trait in the Western countries explains their level of development and our underdevelopment. Every American President and politician knows there are issues that require a holistic national approach and those that are purely partisan. They don’t mix them up as well as confuse one for the other because the system has been built to support that.

But not this small country replete with leaders who are themselves the problems and solutions we desperately seek. But for our insensitive politicians, our nation would have moved beyond our current development doldrums.

The President has been a disappointment from the day he was sworn. He has failed to show the leadership Ghanaians want – the leader who is not afraid to call his party supporters to order. At best he’s repeating recycled attitudes of former President John Mahama, who was humiliated at the 2016 presidential poll because of his many political sins.

It appears President Akufo-Addo enjoys the havoc his party supporters are causing across the country. The many forceful takeovers and the harming of innocent Ghanaians are unlawful things you would have expected the President to condemn, but not Akufo-Addo. His silence has been an endorsement of the lawless behaviour of NPP hooligans.

Ghana is in crises and these are self-inflicted, created and perpetuated by the political class with the support of ignorant citizens. Our only way out is through patriotism.

We need citizens who will stand for the country’s interest at all times even if their position goes against that of their political party.

The President hasn’t strike the right leadership chord yet since his investiture and I reckon it things will stay that way, until he sees the reason to raise the bar which was lowered by the previous government.

Call your party supporters to order Mr President. Period!

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The writer Austin Brakopowers works as a journalist at Joy99.7FM and could be reached via Brakomen@outlook.com or www.brakopowers.com

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