Community Report: Why trotro drivers rejected Kwashiebu residents


Kwashiebu is boxed within Santa Maria and Kwashieman to the North-West and bounded to South-East by Official Town and Race Course in the Ga Central Municipal Assembly, Greater Accra. Bu means hole in Ga. Bu means hole in Ga. Therefore, kwashiebu literally means the hole of Kwashie, and truly to its name, Kwashiebu has been holed in the wall inside the national capital and neglected for years.

A large part of the area is synonymous to floods and poor road network. The recurring deadly flood would be treated on another day, so let’s constrain ourselves to its chiefly unmotorable roads.

I don’t begrudge you for saying it is not the only place in the capital with horrible road network. I pray you don’t forget that no matter how disturbing others may be, they have not stopped commercial vehicles from willingly conveying people to those areas.

A little over a decade ago, residents could easily catch commercial vehicles (trotro) from some parts of the capital to their various homes without much difficulty. It was possible due to a functioning trotro station inside the area. There was this comfort of being able to alight at your doorstep or the worst being few meters away from home. But now, this is a privilege reserved for the few who can afford to flag a taxi or as we say pick a dropping in order to enjoy the privilege the trotros used to offer at a far, far cheaper cost.

Even those who can afford the services of a taxi would tell you the rude humiliation they suffer in the hands of persons who are first time drivers to the area. I quite remember swallowing this bitter pill when a taxi driver victimized me, well, stopped me, rather, from victimizing his car when he realized his fresh-looking taxi cannot endure the messy road network that leads to my house. In fact, I was politely asked to get out of the car midway, to continue my journey in whatever way I liked, whilst he took a detour to safety. The rest is history. Those who know the area will blankly tell you they can’t risk the lifespan of their car. Usually, the few rickety cars that consent, hype the cost to make up for any loss, in case its parts start falling off while being “good” to you.

“The troro [station] used to be at this side, but was moved to where we called Aunte Nurse – Maternity Home – in order to take care of other residents but with time the road became very, very deplorable; very very deplorable. In fact it was divided into two sections, which made it difficult to drive straight,” Frank Prah, a resident who has lived there well over 15 years narrated to Myjoyonline.com.

Frank recalled, “gradually the trotro drivers stopped coming, and then what even killed the trotro business was when the culvert for Lafa (a drain in the area) was constructed. By the time it was completed, our normal trotro service also ended with it. This has introduced additional cost to residents. If you are supposed to do a straight vehicle, you now have to do two or more vehicles.”

Ashford Mensah is in his early thirties and tells me he has lived in Kwashiebu since his childhood. I took a trip with him on the main Kwashiebu Street while he chauffeured his kids to school at Crown Prince Academy. He is also a teacher there.

“Been in this area since my infancy and I have been driving since 1999 – the condition of the road is very bad, if I should be truthful, this road has not seen any attention from Highways or Urban Roads,” he said

Ordinarily it should take one just five minutes to connect from inside Kwashiebu to the Gorge Walker Bush Highway (N1), but the distance was covered in about 30 minutes.

Ashford said it has cost him a fortune to maintain his car due to the rough and uneven nature of the road. He recently had to change his suspension cushion at GHc1,800.

He told me residents have done a number of communal works but it has become a huge challenge for them to maintain the untarred road. Ironically, though the trotro drivers have cut ties with residents there due to the problematic road network, these same roads serve as a savior to many needy commuters. Hundreds of drivers, including trotro drivers, prefer to exploit the same rejected roads in Kwashiebu for convenience when the traffic build up on the Kwashieman-Santa Maria road turns unbearable.

Several attempts by residents to get the trotro business have proven futile, and many have resigned to their fates.

Two troubles, they say, one God. The outcast treatment to Kwashiebu residents by the trotro drivers has consequently swelled their financial burden in an economic-doldrums state. The same dejected residents are forced to risk their lives as they take in the dusty air left in the trail of these vehicles who use their roads for convenience sake.

“The level of dust here in a day is something that no nation should subject its citizen to…that is something we insist they should look at. The kids here, I am wondering what health condition they will be having five, ten years from now,” Frank Prah posited.

Sincerely, the Metro Mass Transport not long ago responded to the cry of residents and consigned one bus to our lion’s den road. Its two-way traffic usually conveys traders to and from the neighborhood to the Central Business District of Accra three times daily.

In my interactions with a number of residents, I sensed the fuming rage of residents as some are prepared to go to  nasty lengths to get the roads fixed. Some constituents of Anyaa/Sowutuom Constituency are entertaining the idea of declining their constitutional right to vote in 2016 in protest of the bad road network.

If any hope would come to Kwashiebu residents from those in authority, so far as the road is concerned, that would probably be in February next year, the Assemblyman for Kwashiebu Electoral Area, Asafo Adjei told Myjoyonline.com.

He said engineers from the Urban Roads Department as well as the Municipal Chief Executive for the area have done a feasibility study on the road network there but money is what is holding everything up.

“In terms of the road network, we are on course, we are on it. But now the Urban Road doesn’t have money for this project this year, early next year if God permit the will give it to the contractor to come and start the work from Hong Kong through Blue Kiosk,” he said

Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com| Isaac Essel | isaac.essel@myjoyonline.com | twitter @isaacessel

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