Mudsliding

In proper English, it is either mud sliding (two separate words and the more commonly used) or mudsliding when it is like children playing in the mud. In Nova Scotia, it is actually an adult sport. However, to hear mudslide is no play matter. That conjures pain and anguish for many compatriots of other motherlands. I can imagine what our sisters and brothers are suffering from the lion mountain slides. The Fourah Bay Hill, upon which the university is perched, is still so clear; I can see it from this far.

As a people, we of this motherland would be far more often exposed to mudslinging, courtesy congress politicking. Congresspeople have made it their daily diet on radio and social media, to mudsling at every little opportunity. Even when there is none, an opportunity is still manufactured to mudsling.

I feel so happy anytime they try it on the septuagenarian, it backfires on them. When they tried old man Kalypo, it sprouted into Kalypo for all. And when they tried to shame him with a coat and tie tag, he turned the tables to shame them with the most indigenous print donning first citizen of all time.

It seems so overwhelming that I don’t think anyone ever thinks about mudslides and the need to prevent them from causing hardship sometime in the near or distant future. From what I heard NADMO murmur, it could be the immediate future.

Unfortunately, mudsliding is so constantly on my mind anytime I pass by the approach to the Kasoa toll point from Accra. Even before that area, I would have been struck by developments on and around MacCarthy Hill. In the 1960s and probably until the 1990s, there was only one building perched on top of the hill. That was until when congresspeople became rich enough to build houses.

I heard it was some religious building. I still don’t know what it is but the whole top and sides of the hill are so crowded with structures I am unable to spot the then lone edifice these days. It had been rumoured the place was earthquake prone so people had avoided venturing into seeking an abode there.

From Mile 11 to the toll gate though, I shudder, marvel and wonder about the developments on top and all around the hill where the GBC mast used to be the only manmade structure.  I am yet to see ‘fiilifiili’ what is happening on and around Oblogo (acquired by erstwhile congressperson Adwoa Kwaadu).

‘Oblogo yℇ kooko’ we used to sing in honour of our geography tutor (later became a dishonourable member of the congresspeople fold). For some reason, the sound caught on when he taught us the Oblogo Hills. I am sure the area is not excepted from mudsliding prone development. When I was trying to add the approach to Pokuase (from Ofankor up to the ACP junction) in conversation with colleagues, a junior colleague noticed it immediately.

Aburi Hill, its peak top, surrounding slopes and bottom valley (someone is using its foothill as real estate sales pitch), is another of what I see as mudslide zones. Approaching northwards through Larteh to cover the whole Akwapim Ridge, you move to the Kwahu Ridge. You keep going till you reach the Gambaga Scarp. Those are strange areas, never seen by me, so I wouldn’t know whether mountain and hillsides are being man tampered with in real estate development.

Sometime in 2015, I came face to face with what, even as tragic as it was and is, looked what unimaginable tragedy. It is tucked somewhere in a small place within huge Canada. The place is small town Frank and the episode, well documented tourist product is Frank Slide. Parts of a mountain, huge boulders (not mud) tore away and rolled downhill to obliterate. It is rumoured the indigenous people had warned the settlers the mountain had been speaking or making noise for years. It’s like ignoring the earthquake zone rumour.

If we were to listen and pay heed to what nature has done let man not disturb, we would have to forego the comforts we derive from transforming nature with technology. Just imagine without any technological feats and everything being just nature. Boring with a lot of inconveniences.

To return to mudsliding, whether development on tops and slopes of hills and mountains is satisfactorily covered by the building code I would like to know from Town and Country Planning. It would shock me to know that there is anything mudsliding-proof about the kind of houses and structures I see constructed in those places. Hilltop view and hillside view can be pleasant sites that please the eye and soothe the soul. But those are temporal comforts that seem to contradict the natural order of symmetry and equilibrium. Beware then!

By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh                      

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