EDITORIAL: A Shot In The foot
7/16/2012 2:30:58 PM -
On July 14, this year, many Ghanaians welcomed the coming into force of a new Legislative Instrument (Road Traffic Regulation, 2012, LI 2180).
The LI, which was placed before Parliament by the Minister of Transport, bans the use of hand-held communication gadgets to make or receive calls while driving and the operation of television monitors on dashboards of moving vehicles.
It also bans the use of motorcycles, popularly called Okada, for commercial purposes.
Those who have so far opposed the new law are those operating the Okada business and other motorists in essential services who believe that they should be exempted from the ban on using hand-held communication devices while driving.
The Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service, responding to the coming into effect of the new law, indicated that it would embark on public education for both personnel of the MTTU and motorists in general to have a clear understanding of the law before its enforcement started.
The Daily Graphic believes the legal drafts men had good reason for putting the document together before sending it to Parliament for its enactment. Road accidents, most of which are avoidable, have brought great pain to many homes and the nation.
The cost of accidents in respect of losses, time, injury, damage and rehabilitation is so high that everyone wishes there would be fewer accidents.
That is why many Ghanaians applauded the government for enacting this LI, as they saw it as the antidote to reduce the menace of road accidents.
But even before the law can be enforced, two Members of Parliament (MPs), Mr Albert Zigah for Ketu South and Nii Laryea Afotey-Agbo for Kpone Katamanso, who is also the Greater Accra Regional Minister, have jumped the gun, calling for its suspension or gradual implementation, especially the portion which deals with the ban on Okada.
The Daily Graphic is amazed at the call by these two MPs, especially when they were both in Parliament when the LI was laid.
We least expect any member of the Executive to join the populist fray with the view of earning or attracting sympathy votes in the upcoming elections.
This is because if the two MPs felt strongly about the law, they could have made their views known in Parliament. Or are they suggesting that they were not aware of it?
The Daily Graphic sees the development as a big indictment on the two MPs and any MP who may hold a similar view because the position tends to promote lawlessness.
Laws are enacted for the greater good of the country and they should remain so all the time. We cannot and should not allow certain laws to be relaxed just because the country is going into an election.
The lackadaisical attitude towards law enforcement has greatly contributed to the indiscipline in our society.
We have no doubt that Okada served a section of the travelling public, but that does not mean that the operators should be encouraged to flout the ban. If, for any reason, we need Okada to serve the communities from where the two MPs come from, then the MPs should lobby the government to put in place the mechanisms for its operation in a more regulated manner.
The Daily Graphic has always argued that the enforcement of our traffic regulations is key to preventing and reducing road accidents in the country.
That is why the MTTU must be supported to implement this law.