Once again, the Ghana National Fire Service has failed to miss an opportunity to demonstrate its inefficiency and incompetence. They have gained legendary notoriety for their inability to put out fires. And now they can’t conduct simple investigation to tell us the cause of a domestic fire?

A lot has been said about what might have caused the fire at the House of the Rawlingses on Valentine’s Day. The former president and his family believe that aged and weak electrical cables might have sparked the initial tiny flames that brought about the conflagration.

The ‘Ghanaian Observer’, dared to observe that during the fire, there were some explosions in the household, suggesting that the blaze might have spread so fast because there is hidden armoury in the house.

Then a certain Nana Darkwa, now famed as an NPP radio commentator, suggested he wouldn’t put it past the former President to set his own house on fire. It was a silly but daring pronouncement and for his prize, Darkwa was slapped with a charge of “spreading panic and alarm”.

Prosecutors are yet to make much headway in that case because the radio station on which he made those remarks can’t seem to locate the recording of the programme. The speed with which state prosecutors placed Nana Darkwa in the dock – not to mention the fact that the trial appeared to have been instigated by Rawlings’ special aide – brought political intrigue to an otherwise straightforward case of a family disastrously losing everything in a fire outbreak.

Before Nana Darkwa, a good number of Ghanaians were looking for expert opinions on what exactly caused the fire at the Rawlingses. After his pronouncements and the commencement of his trial, even those who don’t give a rat’s behind about what happens to the Rawlingses decided to take an interest in the matter, stroking their chins and wondering: was the fire caused by an electrical fault or did the former president truly set his own house ablaze in a fit of senseless rage?

Ghanaians looked to the Fire Service to provide some answers.

But after three months of investigations, all Ghanaians get from the fire service is a shameful “we can’t tell”. So it took the so-called experts three months to tell us what, with my naked eyes, I could have said in three seconds?

It’s therefore not a surprise that the fire service’s investigation has thrown up more questions than answers – and the questions are pretty disturbing: Are they (the Fire Service and the Rawlingses) hiding anything? What if they found something (maybe explosives) that they do not want us ordinary folk to know? If the fire service can investigate and tell us the cause of an outbreak in a place as big as the Makola Market, why are they unable to tell us what caused the blaze in the home of the Rawlingses? If they are genuinely unable to tell us the cause of the fire, could it be that the Rawlingses cleared up the rubble a little too early? And could it be that Nana Darkwa was right after all?

Very few will challenge the fact that our fire service is one of the most inefficient on the planet. If it is incompetence that makes it impossible for them to tell us the cause of the fire, government should take immediate steps to bring in a more serious bunch of investigators to look into the Rawlings fire again. It’s not too late, is it?

If all else fails, we should form a ‘CSI: Kokomlemle’ with Nana Darkwa in charge. With a theory to prove, he and his team would do a much better job than the fire service has so shamefully done.


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