Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


The reason why petroleum products such as gas and petrol should not be sold in residential areas, was given expression last Friday evening, when the Engas Filling Station at Asokwa, a suburb of Kumasi suffered a devastating explosion.


A loud boom, which shook several houses, near the gas station and others several metres away in the metropolis, shattered wooden doors, ceilings and glass doors and windows of some of the houses.

It also burnt 20 vehicles, six of which were packed at the gas station including the gas tanker, which was dispensing gas at the time and a tipper truck, which was partially burnt.

Among the hardest hit were houses opposite the gas station and those adjacent to it as well as others several hundred metres away.

Hotel de Texas a few metres away had all of its glass windows and doors completely broken and so was another building directly opposite the gas station, which suffered the same fate.

Another building housing the African Development Bank (ADB) at the Millennium Plaza and a Shell filling station about a hundred or more metres away had most of their glass windows and doors destroyed.

A vehicle repair shop, a restaurant and a chop bar as well as a sawmill sharing walls with the gas station were severely damaged.

Flames which shot up high several feet into the air and was seen as far away as Asafo and surrounding areas also burnt a number of people who were rushed to hospitals across the metropolis.

The force of the blast was so huge that it carried part of the steel cover of the tanker over a hundred metres away into the compound of The New Asafo Junior High School.


According to ASP D.K. Gyabaa Crime Officer of the Asokwa District Police, who briefed this paper on the cause of the accident, around 5.30pm, while a gas tanker was dispensing gas at the station, the nozzle of the tube came off from the tanker, hit the floor and sparked a fire.

Workers immediately started running helter skelter for dear life. Consequently, the fire became uncontrollable and before fire personnel from various parts of the metropolis got to the scene, there was a raging inferno.

This eventually resulted in a number of explosions which caused injuries and destroyed property. According to ASP Gyabaa, about 140 people were injured and they were sent to hospitals across the city. Thankfully there were no deaths.


At the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) that, the hospital received 123 people with various degrees of burns.

According to Dr. Stephen Opuni, Head of the Accident and Emergency Department, 15 of the people had severe burns and are at the Burns Unit.

Ten others were admitted at the Casualty Department while two went on admission at the Intensive Care Unit.
However over 90 people were treated and discharged. About 20 doctors including some who were off duty all came by to assist in treating the injured.

Pharmacists, paramedics, nurses, and management staff of the hospital including Dr. Karikari, Medical Director, Mr Offeh Gyimah, Director of Administration, Director of Pharmacy, Mr Frank Amoh and Director of Nursing services, Mrs Patience Ampomah were all around to help calm the injured.

Dr Opuni praised the National Fire Service and the Police for handling the situation effectively and for sending the injured immediately to the hospital.


Some dignitaries were also there to visit the injured at the hospital. They included Mr Kan Dapaah, Minister of Defence, DCOP Frank Adu-Poku Ashanti Regional Police Commander and Mr Osei Asibey Antwi, Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister.

In another development, Mr P.K. Manu a political activist who together with others fought against the siting of the gas station at its present location, said even though it was an unfortunate incident, he and all those who fought against the siting of the station there, have been vindicated.


According to him in 2000, the owner of the land decided to relocate the public toilet, which was on the land to another place and site the gas station there, but he and some others protested because, it was not safe as the location, was a residential area and also had a school nearby.

“I went with a delegation to see the late Osei Kweku who was the Member of Parliament here and he agreed to see the then KMA boss Hon. Maxwell Kofi Jumah.”

“Initially Mr Jumah agreed that the station could not be sited there, but afterwards Mr Jumah, the Assembly member Mr Adjei Darko a.k.a, Action and the late Osei Kweku, came to the site and said where the toilet was sited was not good,” he added.

Mr Manu continued that the same day, the toilet was broken down by a bulldozer on the orders of the ex-mayor and the owner of the place known as Mama Pat, claimed that all the relevant organisations had approved for the gas station to be built.

He also mentioned that with the support of the Buffalo Unit, who came on the scene Mama Pat had the foundation of the place laid.

“I thank God that there are no deaths and hope that this will be a lesson for the future,” He said.

Most people who flocked the site of the incident to witness it were full of praise for the NFS and the police who did well in fighting the fire and protecting property as well as controlling the crowd.


The Kumasi Venue Organising Committee (KVOC) of next year’s ­African Nations Cup (CAN 2008) is to work out a contingency plan to get alternative training pitches for the Kumasi venue of the tournament.

This is because with just about three months to the start of the tournament, construction works on the four training pitches in Kumasi were still yet to reach any appreciable level in readiness for the games.

Not a single pitch out of the four is ready for the tournament. Thus, in case the contractors, CST Limited, are unable to deliver the training pitches by November ending as promised, the contingency plan would be relied on.

Alternative training pitches to be considered under the contingency plan includes the Ridge Park, where Kumasi Asante Kotoko train­, the GGBL park, Jachie Pramso School Park, Konongo Park, T. I, Amass school park among others.

Prof K. K. Adarkwa, Chairman of the KVOC at an inspection tour remarked that the progress of work on the training pitches was totally unacceptable.

“It is embarrassing and completely unacceptable”, he said.

He explained that so much investment had gone into the training pitches and the contractor has to ensure that construction works were completed for the pitches to be used during the tournament.

“But in case, they are unable o finish then we may have to look at alternative pitches”.

Surprisingly when the Chairman requested from the contractor to furnish him with his­ work programme, he was told that a copy of the work programme was not available on site.

This made Prof Adarkwa furious as he felt the contractor ought to have a work programme on site.

During the inspection tour, it was observed that apart from the Opoku Ware training pitch which had seen a remarkable improvement in the last three weeks the rest were still greatly lagging behind.

The school fields at Opoku Ware Secondary School (OWASS), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prempeh College and Wesley College are the ones which are being refurbished to be used as training pitches for the tournament.

At Opoku Ware the contractor was about finishing with the planting of green grass whiles at Prempeh College he was still working on the drainage. The Paa Joe and WESCO pitches were being levelled with black soil.

Monday, September 10, 2007


“When you reach the traffic light, there is something you should know, red means: stop, yellow means: get ready, green means: go go go and go!”
This is a popular song on the lips of many kids in Ghana whom because of the song, are conscious of what every motorist or pedestrian should do when he comes across a traffic light.
Surprisingly however, the opposite of this popular rule is what many motorists in the Kumasi metropolis practice.
A traffic light, is a signaling device positioned at a road intersection, pedestrian crossing or other location in order to indicate which specific movement motorists should drive, ride or pedestrians should walk.
The Highway Code with regards to traffic light signals states that whenever there is RED it means 'Stop'. Wait behind the stop line on the road.
RED AND AMBER also means 'Stop'. Do not pass through or start until GREEN shows.
GREEN means you may go on if the way is clear but take special care if you intend to turn left or right and give way to pedestrians who are crossing.
AMBER means 'Stop' at the stopline. You may go on only if the AMBER appears after you have crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to pull up might cause an accident.
A GREEN ARROW may be provided in addition to the full green signal if movement in a certain direction is allowed before or after the full green phase. If the way is clear you may go but only in the direction shown by the arrow.
Alternately flashing red lights mean YOU MUST STOP at level crossings, lifting bridges, airfields, fire stations and others.
The Highway Code is essential reading for everyone. Its rules apply to all road users, drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians as well as even horse riders although in Kumasi and in the entire country, horse riding on the road is not popular.
Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. One may be fined, given penalty points on their license or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases one may be sent to prison.
Although failure to comply with the other rules of the Code will not, it itself, cause a person to be prosecuted, but the code may be used in evidence in any court proceedings to establish liability.
Knowing and applying the rules contained in the Highway Code could significantly help reduce road accident casualties. Again cutting the number of deaths and injuries that occur on the roads every day is a responsibility we all share and the Highway Code can help discharge that responsibility.
I have observed with keen interest that in the Kumasi metropolis many motorists have disregard for traffic lights. They tend to move faster in an attempt to cross a red light the moment they are approaching and see the AMBER on even though the Highway Code preaches against that.
I was mesmerized the other time, when I saw a driver on television saying the AMBER light means, go faster even if you have not crossed the line before red catches up with you. This driver was apparently being tested on television on an outreach sensitisation programme by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC).
I told myself no wonder drivers in Kumasi tend to speed at traffic lights the moment the AMBER shows even before they get there.
One other behavior I have observed about motorists in Kumasi, especially commercial taxi drivers is that, they tend to toot their horns haphazardly even to an extent that, when they are behind a vehicle at the traffic lights, and it turns green, hardly do they allow a second to pass than you hear them tooting to persuade the one in front of them to move.
In many of the cases, the drivers ahead would make an attempt to move yet those behind them would toot their horns loud to beckon them to move.
The disregard for traffic lights, especially jumping of the red light has become very common that I wondered the other time if the law enforcing agencies were aware of the menace.
It was then gratifying to hear that the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) in Kumasi has resorted to the use of digital cameras to start arresting offending drivers at traffic light spots in the Kumasi metropolis.
It was gathered that the police place the camera men at vantage points with their focus on the traffic lights and that they capture any offending driver on tape as well as inform police dispatch riders who normally lay ambush via a walk-talkie for the arrest of the offending driver.
According to Ashanti Regional Commander of the MTTU, DSP James Sarfo Peprah his outfit was now waging the war on red light jumpers.
He explained that within the shortest possible time that the digital camera was introduced, many offending drivers have been arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
He mentioned for instance that on a two day pilot exercise at the Amakom traffic lights about 20 drivers were arrested for open disregard for the traffic lights there by jumping the red light.
It is the hope that the exercise would be sustained so as to bring recalcitrant drivers to book. It is believed that if this was done, sanity would prevail at the traffic lights.


The Minister of Education, Science and Sports, Professor Dominic Fobih has expressed displeasure at the contractors handling the training pitches at the Kumasi venue of the 2008 African Cup of Nations. With just about four months to the start of the tournament construction works on the training pitches in Kumasi are yet to reach any appreciable level in readiness for the games. Not a single pitch out of the four is ready for the tournament. The school fields at Opoku Ware Secondary School (OWASS), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prempeh College and Wesley College are being refurbished to be used as training pitches for the tournament. While three of them have seen some amount of works done on them, that of Prempeh College was lagging behind greatly. The contractors, CST Limited, are still leveling the ground and have not even started with the drainage works on the pitch at Prempeh not to mention the leveling and greening of the pitch. The other three have had their drainage systems completed with top soil filled on them awaiting black soil and greening. The shower rooms at all the four training pitches were also yet to reach any appreciable level. Prof Fobih, who was on an inspection tour of facilities for the tournament in the Kumasi venue on Tuesday, expressed equal displeasure at the consultants for the project, ABP Consult. He said the consultants should have been up and doing to put pressure on the contractor to deliver. “It does not have to take the Minister to come here to know that the project was delaying” “The rate at which you are working is not appreciable”, the Minister told Mr John Antwi, Quantity Surveyor for CST Limited. The Minister said he would come to Kumasi to inspect progress of work on the training pitches in two weeks time.
The contractor has up to November ending to hand over the training pitches. Prof Fobih said the contractor did not have to wait until November ending to complete the project and urged him to take a cue from the Chinese who constructed the Essipong Stadium, saying they were aware of the deadline, yet they managed to finish ahead of schedule. He expressed displeasure at the limited number of the workforce of the contractor and urged him to increase his work force so as to be able to complete the work on time. It was observed that the contractor had a skeleton workforce on site at the time of the Minister’s visit. While there was no worker on site at WESCO there were only seven workers on site at Paa Joe and eight at Opoku Ware. Prof Fobih visited the Baba Yara stadium which was about 90 percent complete and the City Hotel project. He said he was happy with the work at the stadium and described it as quality work. The contractors, Consar Limited were putting finishing touches to the Baba Yara Stadium project. They are currently working on the ceiling for the roof at the VIP stand, the tartan tracks, spectator seats, the scoreboard and furnishing of the VVIP.