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Rejoinder: Ban ‘Okada’ riding from 9pm to 6am —Titus Glover

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Mr Titus Glover’s call for a ban on ‘Okada’ riding from 9am to 6am, is the headline of a story published in the Wednesday, March 27 issue of The Ghanaian Times andmakes interesting reading. Yes, it’s interesting thatDeputy Minister of Transport, who is a lawmaker should be calling for some form of a ban for something that shouldn’t be in existence in the first place.

Thequestion I asked when I read the story is, who should ban it? Is he not the deputy Minister of Transport and as such if he finds something that is wrong in his sector, he should go ahead and take action. Do the MTTU law allow motor bikes undertake commercial activities and if the answer is no, then why are the authorities looking on unconcerned while they take the law in their own hands?

There is this canker that is slowly but surely catching on in this country and soon it will grow wings. These days if you want to set a business or anything, just start it wherever you like. You will soon be joined by others. When people start talking against it, go on demonstration and ask the government to legalize it or give you an alternative place to do your business, that’s all.

These canker started with the market women. They set up their wares on the pavements in Accra, Circle and elsewhere. When the public started complaining, they asked the government to build them a market. Now every pavement in Ghana which is meant for public use, have been taken over by the traders and woe unto you the pedestrian, if you unintentionally push any of their wares to the ground, you will surely end up with some scratches on your face. Meanwhile, the authorities had to build new markets at different locations specifically for them.

Annoyingly, these “Okada” boys have joined the new set of traders on the pavements making it highly dangerous for pedestrians.

These are the guys whom we are calling for their business to be normalised because they don’t have a job. God have mercy on Ghana.

Let me be quick to say that there is no law in Ghana that allow motorbikes to operate commercially and as such I don’t see why it should be discussed at all. Whoever sat and agreed and placed it in the MTTU law that motorbikesare not allowed to undertake commercial activities must have good reasons for doing that.

“These ‘Okada’ business have brought chaos to some families and has also led to more accidents resulting in amputations or death. Legalising it would lead to drain on the few resources in our hospitals,” says Dr Frank Ankobeah of the Ghana Medical Association on Citi,Fm on a Monday, morning news item on March 1.

Also, the First Deputy Speaker and MP for Bekwai said on the Floor of Parliament that “Legalising the ‘Okada’ business would spell doom for road safety in the country”; “A quick scan around the countries listed by his colleague showed that motorcycles have left accident victims with devastating effects” and also Okada riders mostly misbehave on the roads and that legitimising their operations would put the life of their patrons at risk”; “we may regret when we commercialise the “Okada” business because countries which have legitimise the trade wish they never did and have cautioned Ghana against following it in the country”.

I say thank you to the statements made above by the two gentlemen and I dare say that a ‘Daniel is come to judgment’ here.

I witnessed an “Okada” rider knocked down and killed instantly close to John Teye along the Pokoase-Nsawam road four years ago, where I saw, for the first time in my life, how the human brain physicallylooks like. Those who ply this route and was present at the accident scene will bare witness to the horrific accident am referring to.

My main problem with this issue is simple. There is no law in Ghana that allows motorcycles or for that matter “Okada” to operate commercially and as such I see no reason why the business is prevailing and even gaining grounds whilst the authorities looks on unconcerned.

Why are the Police, the MTTU, The Minister of Transport and all stakeholders looking on while the law is being flouted with impunity.We are all complicit in this unlawful activity and should come together to put a stop to it immediately.

Let’s save the limbs and prevent the deaths on our roads. The ban on ‘Okada” must work.

D. A. M. Adjei,

P. O. Box 2638,

Accra.

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