Business in Ghana

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A Load of Rain. Critical News, 20th May 2012

Posted by Business in Ghana on May 20, 2012

Sydney Casely-Hayford,

We had a rainstorm this past Saturday.  Normal for Kumasi, but a real tropical howler in Accra.

I was somewhere in the Central Business District (CBD) as we call it and I did not feel most of the storm until much later in the afternoon.  When I did get into it, the first event that caught me was a dislodged brick from the top of the Ghana House Building (which is where I was) landed on the back windshield of a red Toyota saloon car and shattered it completely.  It was raging like crazy.

Going from Ghana House back to McCarthy Hill I was very conscious of the mayhem I would encounter.  As I drove through mainly the major streets, I anticipated the flooded streets and soaked pedestrian walkways.  I was not disappointed.  I hit the first major rivulet around the corner of the Stanchart head office and ploughed through at least nine inches of dirty water, praying that my old beat up Peugeot would not hiccup and die on me.

Turning the corner, I carefully guided myself to the middle of the road, not sure what potholes were lurking under the mini streams on the side and debris that was creeping out of the choked up gutters and sideways.  I got to the corner of the timber market turning just as some boastful Pajero with what looked like a load of foot soldiers shot up a full load of water, spraying me on the driver’s side, showing off their massive 4×4 wheels without a care for me and pedestrians.  They got a full load of insults as I joined the chorus of pedestrians to do them a Ga soliloquy most of which I felt proud to know from my Ga mother’s side.

Past the Fire Service training station, on towards Korle Bu and then right onto the mortuary road, disaster!  Cars were broken down on both sides, passengers were soaked and waiting out the rain in trotros and most of the cautious ones had parked on the side, hoping that the water would somehow magically recede.

I keep to the upper right side, driving in first gear and still parrying all the debris and mess from the sewers.  Then right there in front of me, a tree, uprooted completely is sitting two thirds of the road full.  Futilely, a group of good citizens (not the NADMO type) are making all efforts to move it.  I thought about joining, it took only two seconds to discard the idea as I cleverly navigated to the left and moved on.

Now I am anticipating two real challenges.  Obetsebi Lamptey Circle and Mallam junction.  Obetsebi did not disappoint me.  It was full all around the roundabout and at least five cars were stuck in the middle of it all.  A handful of police were there to direct traffic and I waited my full thirty-minute turn to enter the circle and hoped that I would not be car number six.  Finally through, I heave a sigh of relief and head for Kaneshie.

Dead!  Traffic lights are out, head pans are floating on the road.  I can see tomatoes, bread, plantain, cassava, baskets and just about any other poverty sentiment streaming down the road, heading for the Odaw and Agbogbloshie market.  Again I wait and navigate patiently through the next forty-five minutes and I am finally through and heading towards Odorkor and Sakaman.

Now the traffic is light, but I am not fooled.  Mallam junction when it rains is a fast flowing river with lots of dangerous carnage.  In my lifetime, I have known Mallam junction to be a four-hour drive from central Accra and I am dreading the hold up.  The last thing I want is a reminder of what travel was like before the interchange was completed.

I can see the traffic lights ahead, but no traffic?  What?  Mallam junction is smooth, no cars, trotros and trucks?  Clean as a whistle I pass through and relief, thanks to the Millennium money, some good work done.  I am home and it took me two hours and seventeen minutes.  In this kind of storm, I am grateful.

So why all this diatribe?  It is the rainy season and the pain is on its way.  When I turned the corner to the house, I suddenly thought, why is it so dark here?  Hah, the Dom so, Dom so Company had been hard not at work.

I finally got some ECG power back thirty minutes ago and I can write this article.  Time now is 7.15 pm on Sunday.  I live on McCarthy Hill, I work in Accra, in Ghana.  And all this is what unprecedented is about.  One side can only see achievement, the other can only see delusion.

Now on 15th May, JJ Rawlings again tried to rewrite history.  For the first time I heard that May 15 was all about the 31 December Women’s Movement.  Another sad day for us.  Well, the radio talk shows took him on, and rightly so.  The umbrella saga from last week has fizzled out, so also the Kofi Adams/NDC debacle.

Former Attorney General Betty Mould Idrissu was back in the news, this time on the CP 90-million euro payment.  The Government apparently knew nothing of the payment.  I think this will gather legs soon, her lawyer Nana Ato Dadzie will certainly fire a salvo back at Government.  Ah!  Woyome was postponed again in the Commercial court.

Finally, Mo Ibrahim index was released and Ghana stands as the 7th best governed country in Africa.  For real.  We scored 66 points out of 100.  Not bad.  I will do a detailed piece on this next week.  I think there is some devil in the detail.

Did I mention Obama’s statement on Gays last week?  Our own anti-gay President Mills was at the G8 to hobnob with all the others, who also have no problems with gay rights.  He looked pretty comfortable on the front page of the Daily Graphic sitting with the opposing views.

Ghana, aha a ye de papa! alius valde week advenio. Another great week to come!

One Response to “A Load of Rain. Critical News, 20th May 2012”

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