1,280. 

The radio in the Trotro was loud. Very loud. The passengers complained but the driver, probably deafened by constant exposure to such unpleasant loudness or at least pretending to be, ignored their complaints.

Perhaps he had cause to, the man who was talking on the radio program sounded very angry over the recent increase in petrol, after listening for a few minutes I get to know that he is the Head a Drivers Union branch that had increased fares against the prerogative of the GPRTU because they felt they were being cheated.

The presenter of the radio show was trying to explain to him that the government had little control in the regulation of fuel prices, but the man would not have it. “Massa, they told us that they would reduce prices so we campaigned, and voted for them. We would not understand why they cannot reduce the prices and will not allow us to increase fares as well!”

As if on cue the passengers in the Trotro burst into arguments. As always, there are those for the government, who explain the government’s peculiar challenges and encourage, rather impatiently, patience on the part of citizens especially the drivers.

Then there are those against the government. They see no good in what the government hopes to achieve and condemn them for deceiving the people.

It’s getting louder. Much louder. The driver seems to be smiling because the gentleman in the white shirt sitting next to him at the front agrees with the man on the radio. He sympathizes with the drivers. He argues that the unions are not strong enough to fight for themselves because they have been corroded with the politicization of everything.

I am just tired and want the frenzy to end. The evening clouds brought no breeze to subside the heat, and as always, traffic is at a standstill.

Everyone is talking, the radio is still loud but no one is listening. The woman sitting next to me is making me uncomfortable. She has three children; a baby and a set of twins- about four years old, three school bags, a large lunch box and herself squeezing into the space meant for one person. Of course, it won’t work out so I am sitting on one butt cheek, I can’t shift to my right because that’s the mate’s seat and I don’t want him to rub off his sweaty masculine smell all over my work clothes.

I try to take my phone out of my bag, one of the twins is throwing a tantrum. She hits me on the head with the toy she’s holding. Her mother scolds her but does not apologize to me. Typical.

I wear my earphones and turn on the radio on my phone. There is another discussion on another radio station. Although morbidly related to the discussion on the bus. They were talking about road accidents. The presenter said nineteen people had died over the weekend in three separate accidents. Four of the dead were female nursing trainees who had attended a program in town. They talked and talked about the state of the roads, the vehicles that plied them and the competency of the drivers. Then they spoke of government policies and government agencies in charge of the roads.

Then they called the PRO of the Road Safety Commission to ask how they were ensuring that accidents were reduced to the minimum. The PRO, you could tell she was concerned about the spate of the accidents, but then she is a government agency worker and I have learned not to trust those people. She said they educated people through public service ads and collaboration with media houses and Drivers Unions.

She said almost three thousand people died last year by road accidents alone. She said their target this year was to reduce that number by almost half; One thousand two hundred and eighty.

One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty.

I looked at the woman on my right. she was dozing off. The toddler on her lap was already asleep, and the twins were playing with each other’s hair. Could they be in the target number? Could I?

One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty.

I didn’t know what to think. How could lives just be sacrificed on the table of indiscipline, corruption, recklessness and sheer disregard for life?

One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty.

Husbands, Wives, Sisters, Brothers, Children.

I panicked.

One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty.

The number made my head reel with nausea. I was about to get sick. There was a sudden fear that canceled out the noise and politics in the Trotro.

One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty.

These people or more would die this year. I looked around at the people in the Trotro with me. There were probably invisible tags of doom on the foreheads of some of them.

One Thousand Two Hundred and Eighty.

It’s suddenly too hot. I need some air.

“Mate, bus stop. I will alight here.”


Writer’s note: This post was inspired by a discussion on an Accra based radio station Citi Fm, the setting and characters are all fictional.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. richard nkansah says:

    A very nice way to share your view on road accidents in GH…We mostly don’t think we could be part of the 1,280…you bring the issue home…!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kofrasa says:

    While the target of 1,280 would definitely be an improvement over 3,000 the previous year, the information could have been communicated better without elevating the total anxiety citizens.

    Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. iyamvinnie says:

    One thousand two hundred and eighty…Including pedestrians

    Liked by 1 person

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