Appiatse Explosion: Why it is senseless to praise government for housing units

A cross-section of the 124 housing units.

History tells us that a great fire once broke out in Rome on July 18, 64 AD.

The disaster, subsequently called the Great Fire of Rome, started in some shops near the city’s chariot stadium.

The fire lasted nine days, destroying 71% of the city. Only four of Rome’s 17 districts were unaffected.

While some historians blamed the disaster on incompetence on the part of Nero, the reigning emperor at the time, because he did nothing about the city’s chronic residential congestion that apparently led to the fire outbreak, others said Nero actually prevented the fire from being quenched so that he could lay claim to the glory of rebuilding the city.

Like Nero, who was “fiddling while Rome burned”, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has rather been more concerned about himself, his family, his friends and his political party than Ghanaians expect of him towards the country since he became president in 2017.

Of late, the commander-in-chief has been very busy on a homage-demand spree, openly commanding traditional chiefs to stand up on their feet and pay homage to him as he travels around the country, while the red flames of economic hardship and political corruption are consuming Ghanaians deep everywhere.

To say a man who once promised to protect the public purse now cares very little about the country is an understatement.

The Appiatse Explosion resulted from a collision between a motorbike and a truck transporting 10 tonnes of dynamites from Maxam Ghana Limited’s explosives plant to Chirano Gold Mines Limited in Ghana’s Western region on January 20, 2022.

The blast left an entire community wiped out, with 13 persons confirmed dead, more than 100 people injured, 500 buildings destroyed and 900 persons displaced.

The community after the explosion.

A three-member committee, led by a former Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Ben Aryee, attributed the disaster to regulatory breaches on Maxam’s part.

A careful look at the committee’s report, and even the recommendations made by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources itself, can tell that the government and the regulatory bodies were sleeping on their jobs when the explosion struck.

Going by the findings, Maxam was not the only blameworthy party in that case. The Minerals Commission, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Presidency were all at fault, too.

But like Nero, who exonerated himself from Rome’s fire, the government smartly excused itself and its agencies from the explosion but fined Maxam $6 million.

Many mining-related calamities are happening in this country because those who are paid heavy salaries and allowances to prevent them rather have their attention elsewhere.

The Appiatse Explosion was not a natural disaster. It happened because a company failed to comply with the Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177) and the government as well as the regulatory bodies, rather than being proactive in the interest of public safety and health, were snoring on their jobs and concerned more about themselves.

People gathered at the scene of the explosion in 2022.

Considering the foregoing facts, it is senseless for anyone to shower the same government with praises for constructing 124 housing units at an inhabited site hit by a needless catastrophe about 28 months ago.

To praise a government (whose administrative coma contributed to a disaster that was not natural in manner) for such a reconstruction is much like praising Nero for rebuilding Rome after his own incompetence led to the fire. It is much like praising a careless or an unskilled driver, who pulled down your home with his truck, because he has built a new one for you.

Maxam is a Spanish firm.

In any case, can this housing scheme bring back the souls of those who died or undo the mutilation suffered by those who lost parts of their bodies in the preventable explosion?

And why should anyone praise a government for a housing project not executed with resources or money provided personally by any of its officials or appointees? Why?

On only three conditions should anyone praise the government for the housing units: if the tragedy was a natural disaster, if it was a man-made disaster for which the government is not wholly or partly responsible and if the money expended on the housing project was personally made available by Akufo-Addo, his vice or any other member of his government.

Similarly, this same Akufo-Addo-Bawumia government would deserve no praise even if it compensates the communities and individuals affected by last year’s needless Akosombo Dam spillage disaster with any housing units, or whatever package, in the future.  

Source: Edward Adeti/Media Without Borders/


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