I was stunned and utterly taken aback to find out that visitors to the supreme court of Ghana are obliged to pay in order to use the toilet facilities in the main building.
It’s a bright Thursday morning 30th October, 2014 and a friend sends me a whatsapp text to accompany him to the supreme court of Ghana at 9:00am. I didn’t hesitate a minute and at 9:00am I met him at his office and we both walked there. We got there around 9:05am and immediately proceeded to the court room. As we sat and waited for the judges to arrive, a second friend we went with wanted to use the bathroom, and we all went out together since we were told the judges will take a while before sitting.
To my surprise, we got to the toilets and found a woman sitting right at the entrance and her mission was simple, YOU PAY BEFORE YOU USE THE WASHROOM. I couldn’t belief what I was hearing and seeing: are you serious the second friend queried? The woman just looked up and said quietly YES! He went on why should you charge people for using the toilet facility, is this not a public institution? Her answer was what shocked me to the marrow, GOVERNMENT CAN’T MANAGE THE TOILET FACILTY SO WE TAKE MONEY AND PAY PEOPLE TO CLEAN IT.
Well I couldn’t help but tell you about this quickly as it’s a big big surprise to me especially taking into account the woman’s answer. Is it the case that our distinguished government cannot pay workers to keep the toilet facilities in the highest court of the land clean? If not for anything at all, one would at least expect some level of government responsiveness towards one of the main arms of government and the most important court in Ghana to be precise. That is also not the only problem at the court house, the whole building looks like it needs some renovation or at least some painting, at 9:00am the corridor was a bit dark which indicated that the lighting system there was probably not the best, also the paint on the walls in the building seems to be gradually been covered by dust and cob webs and we shouldn’t wait until the whole building looks nasty before renovation is started which will increase the cost.
There is an axiom mostly used by those with legal education that, “he who alleges must prove”. In this instant case, I am not alleging that by taking money before allowing people to use the toilet facility, but then I do not know whether the government of the people of Ghana is aware of the said practice at the Supreme Court. If the government has already employed people or have people on its pay roll who are supposed to clean the place and yet this thing is happening then it raises serious questions which may bother on corruption, but like I mentioned earlier, I am not fully aware if our government consents to this act.
There are a few people who may actually see this practice as innovative, since most toilet facilities in public institutions are in sorry states. Hence adopting this measure could be a good means of ensuring that toilet facilities in public institutions are always kept in the best of shapes.
It is utterly shameful that in 2014 over 50 years of independence the government of the people of Ghana can claim through its civil servants that they cannot manage a ‘common’ toilet facility in no mean a place like the supreme court of Ghana. It’s shameful to say the least and speaks volumes of the type of people we are as well as who we aspire to be. The truth of the matter is that, we pay taxes to our government in road tolls, income taxes, VAT’s, property rates, levies charged by AMA and other Assemblies etc and our government has no justification to claim that they cannot afford to manage the place. Also, people pay for some services rendered by the court and I see no reason in taking more money from these same people who pay filing fees and other additional costs involved in litigating cases at the court for the use of the toilet facilities. My information is that not all the toilet facilities in the premises operate that way though and I just think I should chip that in before ending.
Until I write to you again, good bye for now.
*The Author Albert Opare is a political science graduate from the University of Ghana and a social commentator as well as a social & political activist. He is also a freelance writer. You can contact the author by mail on [email protected] or txt on 0575125101. Comments and Criticisms are welcome.
Source: Albert Opare/ [email protected]
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