It was 3:00 am, Monday dawn; a day after I had arrived in the Capital (Accra) to begin my working career in banking as a compliance officer. My sister woke me up and requested that I get ready for my orientation scheduled at 10AM in the conference room of the bank. Why should I leave the house at dawn for a program taking place mid-morning? No need i thought. Her answer was simple – “TRAFFIC”. By 4:30AM we boarded a trotro (transport van) heading towards Accra Central. Interestingly, I sat next to a 10-year-old girl in her school uniform. I asked where she was going to, at a time when she is supposed to be sleeping. I was shocked when she told me that she was going to school. Why? I asked, and she answered – “TRAFFIC!!!”
In less than an hour, we had joined a long queue of cars and vans on what seemed like an unending road full of vehicles in traffic. As curious as I was, I asked the mate why our bus hadn’t moved after a long stationary period. With a stern face, he answered – “TRAFFIC”. Oh, I now understood what my elder sister and the young girl meant by TRAFFIC.
Traffic is a global phenomenon predominant in many capital cities all over the world. But in Accra, the situation is rather dire. Successive governments have done little in tackling the menace. The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) last year launched Operation free flow agenda, but little has been heard about it since – Most likely because it simply didn’t bring substantial results. Currently, national service personnel assist the Motor Traffic Transport Unit (MTTU) in directing traffic at various congested locations in the capital. Truth is, these policies have achieved little to no results. Million of Ghanaians get locked up in vehicular traffic way too much. Wasting precious time, increasing frustrations, and unnecessarily consuming fuel, which is ever-increasing. Government has paid lip service over the years to solve this menace, hence has been hypocritical about it.
As our bus moved gradually I observed other road users, a middle age man was taking his breakfast while driving, a young nursing mother was watching her baby through the rear-view mirror in the back seat while putting on makeup. The construction of the Accra Mall off the main road also didn’t help. While deep in thought dripping with sweat, I heard a siren behind our bus. What seemed like a minister in his/her tinted windowed Toyota Land Cruiser V8 swiftly passed by led by a police escort. In the midst of heavy vehicular traffic members of the government made their way to work, leaving thousands of its citizenry to their fate. I wondered, if they don’t sit through the traffic with the people, how will they be able to resolve the issue if they never experience it- to learn deeply about it and how to resolve it permanently. Because certainly, there seemed to be no resolution in sight for miles.
Per the social contract theory citizens agree to surrender their right to government in exchange for protection of those rights. Has the executive honored its contractual obligations by protecting and seeking the wellbeing of the citizenry in this case? Until permanent solutions are implemented, citizens would have to hassle and waste precious time in traffic
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