Castro-Bandu drowning saga: any lessons learnt as a country?

castro and friendIt has been exactly 8 days since Theophilus Tagoe, known in showbiz cycles as “CASTRO UNDERFYRE” and Miss Janet Bandu of “I am in Love with Bomaye” fame went “Missing” on the Volta estuary.

As I write at dawn today, there have not been any words from anyone to the families of these two individuals as to whether they are alive or are indeed drowned. The families, music lovers and friends have been told to keep hope alive since hope springs eternal.

So we are all hoping that one day, one day, these two personalities would show up hand in hand and tell us stories about how “maame water” captured them under the water or how they were ruptured by God and later told we are on earth wailing so they should come back and soothe our tears.


There seemed to be more conflicting reports on how these two people fell into the Volta lake. Some say Castro was wearing a life jacket but the girl had no life jacket on.

Others say the girl had life jacket and sat behind Castro on a jet ski. On social media, the confusion gets murky as each page turns out tonnes of theories as to how a lady fell off a jet ski and Castro, a Takoradi boy who is believed to “know how to swim” got into the river to save Jane Bandu but never showed up. Religious personalities mostly shambolic prophets and fetish prophetesses propounding conspiratorial theories about how Castro fell into the water and how healthy and happy he seemed to be in the next world.

I heard a lady on Adom fm saying Castro is living amongst the “under water world” with his spiritual wife. Whenever the presenter put a question, the response from this priestess has been “come and see me for the right rituals to be performed”.

Gone were the days when prophetess and priests interceded on behalf of the erring populace. Now our spiritualists have shut the doors of social responsibilities to the public. It’s about money, money, money and money. As at Friday, 11th July, 2014, the nation has become so gullible to the “return of Castro” that a clown hacked into the face book accounts of “Castro underfyre” and began to play mischief on us and the entire social media went agog that alas, Castro is indeed alive!


So far, no one has intellectually answered any questions since the two people went “missing”. As a nation, we seem to be in the dark as to how this incident happened and we are not helping the families get good and technical expert advice from people who are supposed to know better. This has given room for rumor mongering and speculations without foundation. The following questions are being asked yet no one seems to find answers not even the so-called Marine Police of the republic of Ghana.

i. When were the two people last seen?

ii. Who saw them on the ski?

iii. Which section of the lake did the accident occur?

iv. How many people were on the Jet Ski?

v. How did it occur?

vi. How long does it take a body to survive under water

vii. Were they actually wearing a life Jacket?

viii. Were they lovebirds?

ix. When did the incident got to the police?

x. How long did it take the Marine police to begin the search?

xi. Why was the search team searching the surface of the water on Sunday?

xii. How many divers have been brought in to search under water?

xiii. What is the nature of the under water bed? a. hard? c. soft? c. clayed? d. muddy?

xiv. Are there materials on the bed of the water that has held the bodies from floating 7 days after they got drown?

xv. Do we have big aquatic animals within the estuary capable of swallowing human beings like what happened to “JONAH” in the bible?

xvi. Why are the marine people still searching the sea instead of the Lake?

xvii. Was his life jacket tampered with?

xviii. When did the tour operators realize the trackers were off?

xix. Did Castro drown together with the girl and the Jet Ski?

xx. Who is responsible for ensuring safety on our marine tourist sites?

These and many more questions have not been answered.


This is not the very first time such an unfortunate incident has occurred in this country. We have had many boat disasters on the Volta Lake from Yapei, Buipe, Yeji, Mankango, Kete-Kratchie, and Afram Plains.

Marine accidents continued to happen. Apart from this, we have had stadium disaster, Melcom building collapsed and killed people, a Nigerian Airplane fell on people near Burma camp, floods have washed away babies and adults in Ghana, fire out breaks have destroyed millions of properties, armed robbers have killed thousands of people and road accidents have taken millions of lives in this country yet we sit down wailed small and give it to God.

After all it is God that giveth and taketh. We seem helpless and clueless as to how to solve our problems no wonder as a society, 58 years after independence, we are still struggling to develop Ghana.

We are where we are because we have refused to transform our society by learning from some of these occurrences. Societal Transformation can take place through 3 processes; through deliberate attempt at transforming our society, encountering new culture and ideas and through the occurrence of a sudden event like what happened to Castro and Jane Bandu.

It beats my imagination why a whole marine team paid with tax payer’s money would be cruising their boat on the surface of the sea/lake hoping to see two dead bodies floating on water 6hrs after they were reported missing on the river. Jesus Christ of Nazareth! Where did we go wrong as a nation? Where in the world would someone float immediately after he/she is feared drowned? Don’t we have deep sea/water divers in this country?


Marine tourism has come to stay in Ghana. We must reform our security/safety system on our tourist points. It is not enough for the operators of the Jet Ski to put trackers on the ski boats. They must ensure adequate security/safety for our tourists who patronize these resorts.

Second, if we are serious about marine Tourism especially on the Volta estuary, then we need to measure the depth of the water from Sogakope to Ada. Tourist must know how deep the water is at every 500 meters and this must be displayed on the boarding point and must be drummed home during orientation of new tourists so they know what they are playing with before they begin to board any ferry or go skiing on the water.

Third, there must be emergency platforms built on the water to serve emergency purposes and to ease rescue operations. This must be strengthened with the provision of modern communication and other equipments.

Also, there should be strict adherence to the wearing of life jackets on the waters. These life Jackets should be modern ones and free from bad odors and sweats of previous users.

Furthermore, orientation courses must be run by the tour operators to educate tourists about all aspect of the estuary. This should include what to do during emergencies, the nature of the water, the kinds of aquatic animals found in the water, the nature of water bed over there, the deepness of the lake, the size, the nature of the water floor. Is the floor hard? Slippery, muddy, potholed, do we have deposited matter on the bed of the lake? What kind of deposited matter is found on the river bed?

As a country, we must also bear in mind that if the western worlds are going for summer Holidays in June, we don’t have summer holidays around this time in Ghana. In June, the volume of water in our rivers is high. In June, July and august, there is turbulence and rough seas along the coast of Ghana. In June, we don’t go holidaying we go to farm! Simple. The onset of rains dictate we tend for our crops so it would be absurd to go skiing when the water is rough here in Ghana around this time.

We must also strengthen the counseling units and take it serious. Whilst rescue operations were going on, the families of the two persons were going through a lot of psychological trauma, yet we never had counselors consoling them and giving them expert advice on the expected outcome of the search. We seem to have more marriage counselors in this country than other forms of counselors.

We must train divers in this country. People who can dive deep under water and stay there for at least 10 minutes. It is unacceptable for anyone to tell me we cannot get divers in the country. I have been told the marine department of VRA, Tema shipyard and Dry Dock Company has divers who could competently handle this issue. Why are we not using them?

This disaster, if confirmed has taken the life of a very popular musician and entrepreneur. He was the breadwinner of his Family and at least provided job opportunities for event managers, Disk Jockeys, Record sellers as well as entertained over 24million Ghanaians. His music kept our worries away, we learnt lessons out of it and he was a good entertainer. We have been told he even has a foundation. All these are gone because as a nation, we failed to develop a RAPID RESPONSE TEAM on our one and only major lake!

My sympathies to the families of Castro & Jane. Let’s build our nation and make it work better for the people.

Source: Kingsley Kofi Karikari-Bondzie

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