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Ghana President’s Accident Sparks Road Safety Debate

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Automotive Africa Audio

Ghana President’s Accident Sparks Road Safety Debate

Peter Clottey
Voice of America
November 15, 2007

Listen to Peter Clottey's Interview With Oboshie Sai-Coffie - MP3 - 1.2MB - 2:38

In Ghana, an accident involving President John Kufuor’s car has sparked an intense debate about safety on the country’s’ roads. Kufuor reportedly escaped unhurt when a car crashed into his vehicle at a major intersection near the Kotoka International Airport in the capital Accra. He was on his way to work when the accident occurred.

Meanwhile, some Ghanaians are calling for a thorough investigation into the accident to ascertain whether it was a calculated attempt on the president’s life. Oboshie Sai-Coffie is Ghana’s information minister. She tells reporter Peter Clottey that President Kufuor is doing well after the accident.

“Incredibly, the president walked away from the accident looking and feeling quite happy. He was visibly shaken at the scene of the accident, but quickly gathered himself and carried on with his normal routine for the day,” Sai-Coffie noted.

She said Ghanaians have shown what she described as unbelievable support for the president.

“There has been such and incredible outpouring of warmth and concern for the health and safety of His Excellency the president. I am singularly touched by it, and I believe so is the first family. Ghanaians both in Ghana and all over the world have reached out through emails and even personal contacts with our friends and relatives to check on how His Excellency is doing and whether he is safe and unharmed. So I believe that is something we should be grateful and appreciative for,” she said.

Sai-Coffie urged Ghanaians to allow for a thorough investigation into the crash and not rush to judgment.

“I think we should all be patient and allow the usual investigation to take place and then base our conclusion on what we find out. It was a strange and bizarre incident, but it sounded almost incredible. But the investigation is ongoing and I think it would show us what really happened,” Sai-Coffie noted.

Some have speculated lax security around the president might have contributed to the accident. But Sai-Coffie denied such speculations.

“I’ve also heard a couple of people saying that, but my investigations are that the security protocol was maintained to the latter. That the intersection where it happened was protected by an advance car and a dispatch rider as is the norm. And that this gentleman just came out of the blue and just drove by all of them, and in fact what I think is interesting and of note is that the security forces acted with some restraint because once they recognized that the person was not coming out and shooting, they held their fire. There were no weapons drawn and the president was safe,” she pointed out.

Sai-Coffie said President Kufuor’s accident would bring more attention to the need for people to drive carefully.

“I think definitely, the fact that it is the president who was involved will cause more attention to be drawn to the issue. But I believe that the life of every single Ghanaian is equally as important, and road safety is an issue that we must take seriously,” Sai-Coffie said.

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