Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Nation under Fire: Moving Beyond 'Happenstance', 'Past coincidence' to 'Enemy Action'???

"Once is 'happenstance'. Twice is 'coincidence'. Three times is 'enemy action' "
-Mr Auric Goldfinger, from the film Goldfinger

If you happen to be in the Beacon of African Democracy (Ghana) then you know that aside from the usual politricks, poor utility service delivery and sweltering heat, our nation is being plagued by mysterious fire outbreaks:

21 October 2009: Fire at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Last year, the 10 storey Ministry of Foreign Affairs was transformed into a towering inferno by a blaze that completely razed the entire building and all its contents. Aside from extensive damage costing millions of dollars, documents dating back to independence we turned into ash.

19 January 2010: Tema Oil Refinery Fire
A fire outbreak at the nation's premier oil refinery saw the main loading dock up in flames. The fire was eventually contained but  still resulted in the tragic deaths of two people.

14 February 2010: Fire at the Rawlingses' Residence
On Valentine's day, the nation was aghast to hear that the official residence of Ex-President Rawlings was completely gutted by a fire that started in the early hours of the morning. The fire destroyed their possessions as years of memories were lost forever.

Late last week, the tragedy of this event was eclipsed by a curious incident involving a young man named Nana Darkwa Baafi and the spokesman of the Ex-President, Kofi Adams. Overnight, Mr. Baafi went from zero to hero while Mr. Adams  went from zero to  *erm* zero. The incident also managed to throw the spotlight on questions surrounding freedom of speech in Ghana.
A fire started at the Ministry of Information but was luckily put out by vigilant staff. Speaking of the Ministry of Information, are they still running their Facebook interactive sessions or did these (excuse the pun) go up in smoke?

A fire believed to be the result of a power surge problem was contained by the Ghana Fire service preventing what could have been a major outbreak at our nation's national broadcaster. 

So are all these fires simply a result of archaic electrical wiring combined with frequent power outages and surges? Are we past 'coincidence' and now in 'enemy action' territory?

Interestingly, the outgoing Minister for Information Mrs. Zita Okaikoi has her own take on the matter which she expressed on the popular Accra radio station Citi FM last week:

“I strongly suspect foul play. It is no longer an accident or a coincidence. It can no longer be a coincidence that almost everyday there is one fire or the other, I am ruling out coincidence at this stage because it is no longer a coincidence that we are having these fire outbreaks”
Clearly, Mrs. Okaikoi has ruled out 'coincidence'. Could this be the work of a fire-starter? A (really) twisted fire-starter?

Could there be an instigator out there?!


Nana Yaa Boatemaa said...

Hmmm Abena. I think the frequency of the fires makes me think that there might be some foul play as well. But who could be behind these fires and what do they stand to gain?

Abena Serwaa said...

Exactly Nana Yaa; How could anyone stand to gain from destroying property that belongs to all us Ghanaians? If there is someone behind the fires then I can safely say they are a completely looney pyromaniac.

Mike said...

That Goldfinger/ earpiece scene was a good one.
I think Gh is under Enemy Action.
The enemy? Fire!
Simple as that.
The state's top brass better cut their salaries and pump some money into the fire dept.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Mike, you have no idea how many times I have seen that scene or that film! Thunderball still remains my favorite from that era. Anyway, I digress...its true Fire is the enemy but are there any humanoid facilators helping the process along. Mmm.

Nii said...

Well...when all these "fires" are stringed together like that, then it makes you wonder...doesn't it?

Abena Serwaa said...

@Nii indeed, it does make you wonder! Yet it is impossible not to string together all the fires since fires are so dramatic and of public buildings not as common as say bushfires...

jonathan said...

Lol @ prodigy

.. hopefully there's no American James Bonds running around the streets of Accra up to who knows what kinds of political mischief

Abena Serwaa said...

LOL! Indeed Jonathan, I hope you are right!!!

Anonymous said...

Foul play. i dont believe that. the government just needs to sit up and make and enforce policies on fire prevention. Get you electricals tested every year for fire safety, fire extinguishers and staff in every company trained to use them.
i dont understand why the fire service has even been rebranded to include an ambulance service. cant that be a seperate entity on its on. i just do not understand my country and the works of its policy makers..

Abena Serwaa said...

@Anonymous: LOL, Ghana is an enigma to us all!!!

Nana said...

I am taking a different angle on this fire issue. It might be just me but I have never seen any fire hydrant in the City of Accra which is the most important tool in putting out fires. I my missing something or isnt that the best solution to combat infernos?

Abena Serwaa said...

@Nana indeed; our fire tackling infrastructure is completely lacking. I have never seem a fire hydrant in Ghana but can already invisage it being opened 4 people to fetch water!