Renowned Ghanaian investment banker and Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) says ex- president John Dramani Mahama’s desperate attempt to win power has led him to make his recent campaign promise to legalise commercial passenger motorcycle riders, popularly called okada.
The GIPC boss in a recent interview stressed that the promise made by former President Mahama is a vote-gaining tactic, and that there is no commitment by the NDC to see to its accomplishment in the unlikely event that they win power, come December. 2020
Mr Yofi Grant said, “The okada riders have so soon forgotten that it was the same [NDC administration] that banned okada. It is amazing he [John Mahama] is saying this for votes. We are against the blatant disregard of the rules and regulations in the sector. Many doctors have said that we should ban okada because it is creating more disaster. I get sad when I see a young man who gets involved in an accident. People are already using okada but John Mahama banned them so why didn’t he arrest all of them when he was leaving office? Is it now that he has realized the need for them to be legalized?”
Critics have rubbished Mr Mahama’s campaign promise as reckless, considering the growing mortality and injury rates caused by the actions of okada riders.
However, supporters of the idea have said that it is regulation that brings safety in the operations of commercial passenger motorbike. They have also said that this is a welcomed promise as the okada business provides employment to the teeming unemployed youth, as well as prevent the constant harassment by the police.
Addressing the chiefs and people of Kpando in the Volta Region of Ghana recently, Mr John Mahama said that the okada business which is currently illegal per Ghana’s law has provided more jobs than the NABCO programme introduced by the government to address mass graduate unemployment. He maintained that should the NDC be voted into power in the December elections, they would legalize okada business in the country.
Mr Mahama said: “Our law says okada is illegal, but it is a reality it has come to stay and you can’t stop it. So, I say when we come into office, we legalize it but we will regulate it. Why behave like the turkey and bury your head in the sand? This pragyas, Aboboyaa, okadas have created more jobs in this economy than any government job-related policy. It has created more jobs than NaBCo, YEA and all those artificial job creation programs…”
Attempts to legal it in the past
Ghana’s Parliament in 2012 under President Mahama’s NDC approved a legislative proposal by the government to pass the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180) to regulate road transport in the country.
Pursuant to this, Sections 128 (1), (2) and (3) of the L.I. 2180, prohibited the use of motorcycle or tricycle, or what has been popularly known as “okada” for commercial purposes.
But, in March 2019, NDC minority in Parliament made strong calls for the amendment of the country’s road traffic laws to allow the okada business, but that has not been possible.