Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Tragedy of Melcom

I do not want to play the blame game so early after this tragic incident.Trust me, this is not something that anyone in their right mind should use to score points against anyone! When I first heard about it I feared for my mum's safety because Melcom is a well patronised company and I know that she goes into town often for many reasons. After finally making contact with my mother and thanking God for her life - she had intend to go their yesterday after missing opening hours the day before - I read more about the situation.

What startled me more than anything, more than those emotional pictures taken by Bob Pixel Photography, was the speed with which the Melcom company tried to distance themselves from responsibility. According to them they rented the place from a Mr. Nana Boadu and had been there for 10 months. Regardless of that, Melcom must take some responsibility for the incident as must the landlord and the city authorities. From what I know (Ghana rules may vary), tenants must do their own surveying of a property to point out any maintenance issues that arise. If at the point of signing everything is well, the tenant must be vigilant to make sure that the building is kept. The landlord - it being his asset afterall - must do the same. With this being a public building the need for these checks are even more paramount. It is clear, now, that this did not happen. I would expect a law suit from the government brought against Melcom and the landlord for negligence. People have lost family and loved ones unnecessary and must be compensated substantially by action brought by the full force of the government.

With that in mind it worries me that the President can come the the disaster scene, with no safety equipment on (no protective hat, or visible jacket) to speak on the negligence of safety procedures on the part of the authorites. The most ironic thing he has done in the past four years. The Mayor of Accra has also come out to say that the building had no permit, but if that is the case, how can he say this with a straight face? Everyone knew that the building was there so the Mayor must answer, if it did not have a permit, how was it allowed to stand for so long and then be occupied for 10 months by one of Ghana's most prominent stores. This wasn't a small illegal shack hiding in the shadows somewhere, it was a 6 storey occupied building that none of the authorities including the Mayor did anything about.

Ghanaians, dare I say it, we need to get angry about some things. Genuinely put pressure on people to do their jobs properly. The floods came last year and the authorities found someone to blame. Fires break out and then there's "the regulations aren't being upheld", disease has a mild outbreak and "regulations aren't being upheld" buildings collapse and "regulations aren't being upheld". Meanwhile when we realise this, post-incident, no one is held accountable, no one loses a job, loses money (by way of compensation), loses freedom (jail time for death by negligence, I think is fair). It must suck being the President of a nation that doesn't implement or follow any rules and doesn't face any consequences in the aftermath. You would think that after 4 years of being Vice President and then President of such a nation, JDM would put his foot down and start changing things for the better. I'm tired of Ghanaians dying because our government is too lazy to manifest the simple law of karma on regulation shirkers!

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