wpid-firemarket3.jpgBy: K. N. Johnson

Ghana our happy homeland of rich resources is on the verge of becoming an economic powerhouse in Africa in the light of our democratic gains and recent economic boom. However, the country is also being targeted by anti-progress groups and individuals who would like to portray Ghana as a promiscuous land of lawlessness.

Business24

It?s about time that the citizens of Ghana demanded concrete answers to the recent fire outbreaks. Undoubtedly, one cannot disagree that, there are jejune minority who are fixed in the mind on making our beloved country ungovernable. Amongst the machinations currently being employed is causing chaos and destroying properties. The recent Makola Number 2 Market fire outbreak is a typical example.

I am clear about the ongoing debate on the rise in the frequency of fire outbreaks; conversely one cannot go without saying that, the state security apparatus have in the first place failed to recognise their responsibility in this matter.

Indeed, the excuse of illegal electricity connections as the main cause to these fires goes as far back as one can remember in Ghana: hence, the phony inkling being peddled around that the former is the chief cause of the recent fire devastations of the assets of many is ludicrously callous, irresponsible and utter nonsense. Why is it that thousands of kiosks that have been illegally connected to the electricity grid are not burning? Why is it that only the big markets are blazing? Why are these fires happening after market hours?

Others have also argued that these fires are being deliberately set by saboteurs to make the government seem weak. As citizens our focus should be on how to make our government stronger in order to foster civil liberties, protect lives and properties. I am drawn to the school of thought that argues that, majority of these fire outbreaks are entirely orchestrated by some iniquitous underhand whose aim is to make Ghana appear ungovernable. Currently, the statistics indicate that there has been about 1500 fire outbreaks recorded in Ghana for 2013 alone, and this worrying figure is expected to rise if we fail to tackle this with urgency as a national crisis. President Mahama must be commended for his decision to bring in experts from other jurisdictions to help with investigations. It is worth noting that, Accra alone has witnessed about six reported major fire outbreaks affecting commercial sites such as markets within a month and this is unacceptable. I think the police force and national security apparatus are not being swift and proactive enough in tackling crime particularly in this regard and this has a dire consequence for the security of our country.

We also have on record that certain individuals have made categorical pronouncement of their intention of making the country ungovernable by planting bombs in schools, burning markets, as well as to strike fear and panic in the heart of the public. These individuals naturally should have been at least invited for questioning and if possible charged and prosecuted for making these pronouncements.

If as a country, we are unable to arrest arsonist and fascist groups for their wrong doings then one can easily fear for the absolute security of our elected president, statesmen and the ordinary citizens.

Modern intelligence gathering has changed considerably, but it seems that our security forces are still using the mundane approach which provides undesirable results. Ghanaians thought that, after the introduction of single spine salary scheme and awarding of market rate bonuses to these institutions the regime of proactive security will be the most appropriate productive results for Ghana. Unfortunately, this hasn?t happen. ?Identifying the alleged possible cause of fire and not making any arrest doesn?t solve the problem. Businesses are suffering and families are being displaced as a result of non proactive crime prevention measures.

Ironically, in other countries such as the UK, the Metropolitan police have in recent times used social network sites such as facebook and twitter to arrest individuals who they considered dangerous to society or may be connected to ongoing cases. The MET Police do not take orders from the prime minister?s office before making any arrest, because they are truly independent and proactive. On the contrary, the Ghanaian police and security forces seem to like the idea of being told what to do. This practice is very awkward and not the best for confidence building.

I am using this medium to appeal to the security capos to wake up and start doing what is right to make Ghana safe. We cannot continue to hear the hackneyed arguments that fire disasters are as a result of illegal electricity connections. One also expects the parliamentary committee on national security to consider establishing independent fact finding mission and make their report public. We have only one Ghana and we do know that people affected by these fires come from various political backgrounds. So let us fight this menace as a united country regardless of our political affiliations and interest. Allowing diversionist to have their ways on the sidelines under this republic will not work because it is absolutely undemocratic and deplorable.

One cannot also rule out the level of hypocrisy amongst some government officials who are aiding the selfish interest of certain individuals to see the president fail. These persons must recognize that the radar will soon fall on them. The concocted disruptions won?t help anyone, but rather destroy national interest and thereby derail progress. ?It is my hope that, these evil actors who have schemed to destroy lives and properties will be found and made to face the full weight of our justice system.?

By: K. N. Johnson

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