Former junta head Jerry John Rawlings has never impressed The Chronicle over the years. We have never been convinced over the years that the utterances and general comportment of the former President matches his status as a statesman.
Yesterday, the man, who has ruled this country for 19 years, certainly longer than any leader in the contemporary history of this nation, gave this paper hope that the hard man of national politics is on the mend.
At a durbar of chiefs and people of the Anlo Traditional Area to mark this year’s Apertorku Festival at Dagbamate in the Akatsi South District of the Volta Region at the weekend, Flt-Lt. Rawlings called for stiffer sentences for drivers whose negligence contributes to road users losing their lives.
Read the lips of the former President: “It is not enough for the nation to continue regarding the loss of many lives through road accidents as normal. Tougher punishment must be meted out to any driver who kills anybody on our roads.”
In his opinion, drivers should be held responsible for their activities behind the steering wheel. “Ghanaians should regard road accidents as [a] serious crime perpetrated against humanity, instead of the usual refrain: ‘It is God who gives and God who takes’,” he advised. “No, we should stop thinking like that, for this is a crime.”
The future of this country, he advised, ought to be built on responsible and patriotic citizenry, including responsible driving. The Chronicle buys into this piece of statesmanship advice and invites the Road Safety Commission to consider ways and means of formulating a new legislative, taking on board ex-President Rawlings’ suggestion.
President Rawlings admonition should also interest officials of the Ministry of Transport into considering preparing a draft bill for the consideration of Cabinet, and onward presentation to the House of Parliament, to consider making it a crime for drivers to recklessly contribute towards loss of lives on our roads.
The accident rate in this country is very alarming. Equally alarming is the wanton loss of lives on our roads as a result of road carnage resulting from reckless application of the Highway Code.
We cannot continue to lose lives needlessly on our roads. While we are at it, The Chronicle would like to urge the Road Safety Commission to intensify education on the proper use of road signs and the Highway Code generally. The patrol team of the Ghana Police Service has a duty to reduce the carnage on our roads. It is unfortunate, but the general observation is that most of these patrol officers appear to be more interested in getting drivers to help line their pockets, than securing our roads for the use of drivers and their vehicles.
We believe it is important to consider the suggestion from the former Head of State. There is much to gain from putting Flt-Lt. Jerry Rawlings’ idea to test.