Like the combined tragedy of flood and fire that occurred at a busy economic environment at Circle, Accra, in which about 200 people died, the unfortunate Apeati incident is a national disaster that we must collectively lament.
It is unnerving how a whole community would be reduced to rubble in concrete, wood, plastic and metal scraps, with the total infrastructure caving in everywhere, snuffing out precious human lives and turning a once vibrant community into utter desolation.
It becomes particularly worrying how a whole community would be cut off from civilisation by one unfortunate stroke of misfortune at a time individuals, organisations, businesses and the whole nation are struggling to confront a pandemic that has wreaked a huge blow on the entire world.
By the time most media organisations were going to bed on the day of the disaster, information on incident was still scanty. The focus appeared to be hinge more on the ravages of the blast than the condition of victims and how to return hope and a future to the community.
Later graphic reports about Police, Fire Service and NADMO officials picking the dead and wounded from the rubble appeared enough, not only to make us all angry as a people, but conscious of the need to understand why we ought to begin doing things differently in minimising national risks in any form.
Unfortunately, the ignorant among us, led by the political class, instead of putting their ears to the ground to get information to analyse the issues and act on them, were rather miring the sensitive incident, and adding to the pain.
We forget that, like the Circle tragedy, clues to unravelling the disaster lay with the mines company cited in the reports. We should be more interested in its safety precaution culture, general work culture and maintenance systems, instead of what the ignoramuses insist was ‘government negligence’.
We also ignore the fact that when the truck left its premises to move into another terrain, it didn’t have targets in NPP or NDC to strike with that deadly force, and that those dead, wounded, convalescing and orphaned did not carry party colours that fateful day.
Into Friday and over the weekend, as the Vice-President visited the scene, the unholy obsession among the political breed was still more about politics than careful investigations that would culminate in fashioning out an abiding framework to reduce accidents in the new mining industry.
It is sad that when national conversations arise, a section of the media walk into the noisy politician in adding more controversy, instead of men and women endowed with conscience and professionalism who can offer us a way out of the quagmire.
Lesson for tomorrow
The Daily Statesman commends the swift intervention by the government and relief efforts put in place to wipe the tears of the community. We also commend the Ghana Police Service, National Disaster Management Organisation and Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) for their swift intervention. Our doctors and nurses who had to invest ounces of extra effort to take care of the victims also deserve tons of commendation.
We would, however, urge relevant bodies to disregard the noise from the political actors, and focus on conducting pain-staking investigations into the disaster. The probe should inform the ongoing efforts at transforming the mining sector, and help in protecting lives and livelihoods in the vulnerable mining communities.
As the Vice-President intimated, what is more important now is the lessons and how we turn our ashes of national pain and agony into hope for tomorrow.