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Oh No, Not Again!
 
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09-Sep-2011  
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It was not the first boat tragedy to be recorded on the Volta Lake, as previous ones had claimed dozens of lives.

Last Wednesday’s recurrence of what is regrettably becoming a feature of the tree stump-riddled lake might not be the last, should the lackluster attitude of officialdom towards addressing serious issues persist.

Many hours after this latest tragedy, the precise number of the dead eluded both the media and government officials close to the subject. It is an indication of the inefficiencies involved in managing this large man-made lake in the world. While some media establishments posted over 50 dead, official sources preferred to present something lower, as if the figure matters at all.

A single life lost is as worrisome as a dozen. One dead is a father, mother or even a future leader lost through official negligence or so.

Over 50 lives lost on a lake calls for reflection over what went wrong, especially whether the tragedy was avoidable or not. Considered against the backdrop of a similar incident a few years ago and the attendant promises by the authorities to prevent a future recurrence, government cannot escape blame.

As to whether government or the germane authorities made good their promises to obviate a future is not far-fetched, evident from the latest fatalities and perhaps more to come.

For a country like Ghana not used to force majeure of this scale, this latest bout of Volta Lake tragedy is most disturbing. We are beset with, not a number, but statistics of worrying dimensions. Indeed, even on the international plane, it is a story which found space on the highlights of major bulletins of news networks in as far away as China.

The germane authorities have glossed over very serious issues for far too long in a country where things easily fade from the memories of the citizens. We only recall them when there is a recurrence as we are doing now.

In other dispensations where the culture of resignation out of embarrassment is an order, this latest bout of avoidable tragedy should have been enough to prompt the tendering of letters to that effect.

It is most constraining to behold government officials who issued statements in previous tragedies repeat the same mistakes in the face of another recurrence.

It would not be difficult to determine those who failed to do their work well, a sort of negligence which led to the latest string of fatalities.

Hardly had the ink on the report of the October 2009 and July 5, 2011 tragedies dried than this latest one cropped up.

When shall we make it mandatory for those travelling on boats across this lake fit life jackets? It would also be worthwhile demanding that such boats are made to have Plimsoll Lines as it appears on ship hulls, beyond which additional load should not be allowed.

Above all, a major exercise to rid the lake of the tree stumps in the water body and which are responsible somewhat for the accidents would go a long way in saving lives.

As for the bereaved families, we can only pray to the Almighty God to grant them the fortitude to weather the storm occasioned by the loss. The best we can do for their memories as a people is to make safety on the lake a government priority, a deviation for once from the untenable promises of previous times.
 
 
 
Source: Editorial (D-Guide)
 
 

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